May 05, 2011

Law grad has eyes on solving health disparities

Posted: May 05, 2011

At the College of Law’s convocation on Friday, May 13, Lindor will graduate with a Juris Doctor degree as part of the unique M.D./J.D. program, a partnership of the law school and Mayo Medical School.

From the time she was a child, Rachel Lindor knew her future would involve medicine. She grew up in Mayo Clinic-dominated Rochester, Minn., with parents who were physicians, and around stories of travel to exotic conference venues and the other perks associated with doctoring.

But Lindor’s career path became more defined when, as a college student, she worked summers in rural Thailand and Uganda and witnessed great disparities in the quality of health care compared to back home. She began to think about how she could heal people and change the system, and that led her to the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

At the College of Law’s convocation on Friday, May 13, Lindor will graduate with a Juris Doctor degree as part of the unique M.D./J.D. program, a partnership of the law school and Mayo Medical School. She is the sixth Mayo student in the program, in which participants earn a medical degree and a law degree in six years.

Lindor, a National Merit Scholar and 2014 M.D. candidate, will receive at graduation the Daniel Strouse Prize, awarded by the law school’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation in honor of the late Dan Strouse. He was a beloved professor and longtime Center director who died of cancer in August 2007 at the age of 57. The $10,000 award is annually made to the student whose academic strengths, contributions to the Center and personal qualities most closely mirror those of Strouse.

“Dan is still talked about often at the law school, both as an admired professor and an inspirational friend,” Lindor said. “Though I never had the chance to meet him, I feel honored to be connected to him through this award, and as someone who has found a home in the Center he started, I am grateful for his vision every day.”     

Gary Marchant, the Center’s Executive Director, said Lindor has Strouse’s attributes – kindness, generosity, empathy, a willingness to help and passion to build institutions.

“She, like Dan, has an intellectual rigor and curiosity that is both impressive and infectious,” Marchant said. “I know Dan could not have been prouder of this year’s recipient of the prize given in his honor and memory.”

Lindor is a Center Scholar, Associate Editor of Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology, and co-president of the Law and Science Student Association. She is a Pre-professional Program Counselor at ASU, where she advises pre-health and pre-law students in both classroom and individual settings.

This semester, Lindor was enrolled in the law school’s Washington, D.C., Externship Program, working in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

She will take next academic year off from her formal studies to work in the Center on a variety of projects, including oversight of medical devices and personalized medicine.

Law school has given Lindor another way to think that doesn’t involve memorizing hundreds of facts, as is typical of medical school.

“It has taught me to do a better job of seeing both sides of an issue and articulating myself more logically,” she said. “But the biggest benefit to me has been working with professors who have these great policy experiences. It’s been a good way to dig deeper into areas that I’m interested in, rather than just following a textbook.”

Media contact:
Janie Magruder, 480-727-9052
Judy Nichols, 480-727-7895