Alexandra Krumtum’s rich cultural heritage (her family has immigrants from Mexico, Hungary, Germany, and Russia) and her love of travel have influenced her passion for medical anthropology, which she views as necessary for improving (global) health care. “Culture has profound implications for health and illness and in order to fully address an individual’s health needs, their cultural practices and journeys must be understood. I want to work in the field of global health because I believe that our global health care system must integrate more perspectives and adapt to cultural differences if we are going to solve some of the most pressing disparities,” she reported. She is a double major in political science, which gives her the tools to discuss and address structural issues.
Her interest in her current research project started after serving as an Americorps Intern during her junior year. She worked with the organization Women2Women, specifically with the affiliate refugee sewing group, Creative Community. Through her work there, she forged friendships with the women, learning about their journey as well as hearing their questions about mail regarding health benefits, insurance plans, clinic and hospital visits; she came to see the bureaucratic procedures that complicated the letters and confused the women, which sparked her interest in researching Greeley’s refugee community and its relationship to the local medical system. Krumtum revealed her interest to someday work on projects “that preserve traditional healing methods because I think they are a meaningful representation of a culture’s view on the world and the body.”
Her next step is to apply to medical anthropology graduate programs, where she would like to research cultural impacts on health experiences and disparities. She would eventually like to focus in the cultural practices and experiences of women within the realm of reproductive health.
Krumtum picked UNC for her undergraduate work because she liked the “more intimate setting with opportunity for strong faculty relationships and student friendly departments all within a small community.” She has been able to find volunteer and internship opportunities that allowed her to forge relationships in the refugee community in Greeley, as well as to work with knowledgeable and inspiring faculty members.