Meet our Current Graduate Students Current Students Nathalie Egalite, MA, PhD Candidate Nathalie Egalite, MA, PhD Candidate Nathalie Egalite is a PhD candidate in the medical humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She holds an Honours Bachelor in Bioethics from the University of Toronto and a Master in Bioethics from the University of Montreal. Her dissertation examines moral challenges arising from the writing and publication of patient stories by physicians. Research Interests: Applied Ethics, Philosophy of Medicine, Postcolonial Thought, Literature. Ryan Hart, MA, PhD Student Ryan Hart, MA, PhD Student Trained in philosophy at KU Leuven, Ryan practices the medical humanities through a phenomenological lens. His research focuses are in phenomenology, depth psychology, and narrative studies with a primary application of narrowing the gap between medical and existential understandings of being ill. He has developed a workshop in collaboration with colleagues in Ann Arbor, MI to help people better understand and adjust to the impacts their illness has on their lives. You can learn more about the workshop at https://narrativedimensions.org/livingwellwithillnessworkshop. Syed H. Husaini, MD, PhD Candidate Syed H. Husaini, MD, PhD Candidate Syed H. Husaini graduated from medical school in 2007. Since then, he has worked in different capacities. Syed spent two years working at the Neurostimulation Research Lab at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He worked on various neurostimulation research studies for the treatment of pharmacotherapy resistant depression. After UT Southwestern, Syed joined the United States Army Medical Command as a defense contractor. Syed worked on designing and developing training models for Army medics. The models are used to train medics for procedures performed on the battlefield. Syed joined Dr. Elena Volpi’s group at UTMB in 2012. His main job was performing muscle biopsies on research subjects, planning and executing multiple research protocols, and IRB submissions. Syed joined the IMH in the fall of 2014. His primary interest is the philosophy of mind. His other interests are political theory, the human condition, and history. Syed completed his qualifying examination with distinction in 2018 and is working on his dissertation. The title of his dissertation is Neurobiology of Human Agency, Neurophilosophy, and Neurolaw: Could Neuroscience Become a coercive force in the future? Mentor: William J. Winslade, PhD, JD, Ph Deborah McNabb, MD, PhD Student Deborah McNabb, MD, PhD Student I am a retired Obstetrician/Gynecologist, currently pursuing a PhD in the Medical Humanities. My main areas of interest include Reproductive Health Care Bioethics and Public Policies to affect Social Determinants of Health. My goal is to teach pre-healthcare professionals or healthcare professionals at the university or medical center levels. Margarita M. Ortiz, JD, MA Candidate Margarita M. Ortiz, JD, MA Candidate Margarita M. Ortiz is a candidate for the Master in Arts in the Medical Humanities. She is a 2001 graduate of Boston University, graduating with degrees in musical performance and business administration. In 2006 she obtained her Juris Doctor from South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas where she graduated in the top 15% of her class. Ms. Ortiz is licensed to practice law in both Texas and New York and brings her legal experience into her study of the interdisciplinary medical humanities. Her research focuses on virtue in medical practice, particularly the healing relationship between doctor and patient. She hopes to join an academic faculty as an instructor on the legal and humanistic implications of the physician-patient relationship. Rebecca Marvi Permar, BA, MA, MLitt, PhD Candidate Rebecca Marvi Permar, BA, MA, MLitt, PhD Candidate Rebecca graduated with a BA in English Literature, Cultural Studies, and Linguistics from the University of Paderborn, Germany, and completed graduate studies in German and Comparative Literature with a MA from the University of Bonn, Germany, and a MLitt from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Her MA dissertation focused on physician-turned-patient narratives. Rebecca’s research interests include trauma studies, neuroethics, literature and arts in medicine, LGBTQ+ health, and social justice questions. Her dissertation will be an interdisciplinary exploration of emerging technologies in medicine and society, as well as the ethics of enhancement research. Corisa Rakestraw, MS, PhD Candidate Corisa Rakestraw, MS, PhD Candidate Corisa joined the Medical Humanities PhD program in the fall of 2017. She received an A.A. degree at Cottey College, a BA in Philosophy and a BA in World Languages – German at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and an MS in Health Care Ethics from Creighton University. Corisa also completed a semester of study at the Philipps-Universität Marburg in Marburg, Germany. Her interests are clinical ethics, particularly pediatric ethics, and the promotion, or defining the limitations, of adolescent autonomy. Corisa is also concerned with exploring the use of animals in medicine, including their value in the process of healing. Her dissertation research focuses on the role of therapy dogs in the healing process for hospitalized patients and the ethical considerations of this kind of patient-centered care. Corisa aspires to impart an elevated awareness of therapy dogs and service dogs to the field of medical humanities. David "Mike" Vaughan, JD, LLM, MPH, BAIS, PhD Student David "Mike" Vaughan, JD, LLM, MPH, BAIS, PhD Student Mike joined the Institute for the Medical Humanities as a joint JD/PhD student in 2015. He graduated from Texas State University with a BAIS in International Relations. Mike received an MPH focused on Public Health Ethics from Columbia University. Mike holds both JD and LLM (Health Law) degrees from the University of Houston Law Center and is licensed to practice law in Texas. Mike’s work focuses on the gaps between the truths we would claim and those that actually appear to be available to us. He tries to think about ways that ethical health care and ethical health policy might feasibly be made real in a world that seems to be “after morality.” Mike’s other interests include: ethical substance use policy, the limits of justification, medical futility and clinician conscience, moral injury, ethical concerns around human life extension and aging understood as a disease, enhancement ethics, the ethics of rhetoric, the questions of whether empathy can be taught, judicial moralizing, and any/the relationship between ethics and law.