Lillianna Thomas

Student NameLillianna Thomas
Faculty Mentor NameMelanie Hagen, MD, FACP
CollegeCollege of Medicine
MajorMedical Geography and Sociology
MinorFrench and Francophone Studies
Research InterestsMedical sociology, health disparities, infectious diseases, addiction, spatial epidemiology
Academic AwardsFord Salute to Education 2018 scholarship recipient, National HOSA 2018 scholarship recipient, UF CLAS Deans List, University Scholars Program 2020, President’s Honor Roll
OrganizationsChi Omega, Undergraduate American Medical Women’s Association, Gators Going Green
Hobbies and InterestsTraveling, music, photography, and anything in nature

Research Project

“Being” and “Becoming” a Physician: A Longitudinal Study of Professional Identity Development Among Pre-Clinical Students

As we prepare future health professionals for a lifelong commitment to learning and caring, it is imperative to build an environment that fosters confidence and competence.
Taking into consideration the pervasiveness of socioeconomic status in our social networks, we will examine how students from different backgrounds fare throughout an arduous medical curriculum. We aspire to examine how the interactions of bonding social capital, the resources and associations available to people depending on their demographic group, affect students’ journeys through medical school.
We are conducting a longitudinal study with a larger sample size than previously published to identify the most pivotal moments and milestones that catalyze cohesive development in students’ identity. We are recruiting medical students from two institutions, the University of Florida College of Medicine and Florida Atlantic University College of Medicine.
Following students from their first week of medical school into their clinical years, we are conducting interviews that focus on two key points: students’ self-perceptions of who they currently are and their perception of who they are becoming as health professionals. We will then utilize qualitative analysis software to conceptualize major themes of identity development within participants. We hope to translate these themes as tools for medical school curriculum to foster opportunities for diverse groups of medical students that allow them to succeed and develop into competent physicians.