Editor’s Note: Domer Diaries is the newest storytelling series from the Alumni Association where members of the Notre Dame family tell their stories in their own words. This week’s Domer Diaries entry comes from Evelyn Huang ‘16, a physician who, while still a medical student, helped change Indiana state law allowing for HIV testing of patients whose healthcare providers receive needlestick injuries. Previously, if patient consent for testing could not be obtained, the burden to the provider included several blood draws to monitor for HIV and the option to take medications with serious side effects.
Name: Evelyn Huang
Class Year: 2016
Residence Hall: McGlinn Hall
Major and Minor: Science-Business with minor in Chinese
What lessons from your Notre Dame life were you able to incorporate into your needlestick campaign and lobbying efforts for HIV testing?
The biggest lesson that I learned from Notre Dame is to have confidence when fighting for something that you are passionate about. I met so many amazing leaders at ND that helped me to believe in myself and my voice. As a medical student, I learned that Indiana did not allow for unconsented HIV testing in the case of a healthcare provider needlestick injury (when a provider is stuck by a sharp object that has had contact with a patient's blood). A patient’s consent is required prior to testing for HIV. However, in the case of a needlestick injury, I would argue that it is a public health issue and puts incredible stress on a healthcare provider when they have the potential to be exposed. I decided to do something about this and emailed some congressmen in Indiana, but did not receive a response. So, I ended up showing up to a congressman’s meet-and-greet and was able to convince him and we worked together to get the Indiana laws changed. I was able to do this because of the amazing mentors at ND that taught me that I can make change if I fight for it. I was just a student, but I was able to change state law. Find what you are passionate about and fight for it!
What advice would you give current Notre Dame students?
Notre Dame offers so many amazing opportunities, take advantage of it! Ask to go to coffee with professors or classmates who inspire you. Most importantly, enjoy your time! ND is unlike any other place in the world!