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Sunday, April 21, 2024 — Houston, TX

Inaugural health science journal launches

William Liu / Thresher

By James Cancelarich     3/26/24 10:40pm

The inaugural issue of the Rice Remedy journal, the first student-run health sciences journal covering topics ranging from LGBTQ+ healthcare to the history of cancer, was released online Jan 7. 

Editor-in-chief Anuska Santra said there are currently about 15 people working on the journal, including a team of writers who write about health science-related topics that interest them. 

Santra, a junior at Sid Richardson College studying health sciences and neuroscience, said that she founded the journal with fellow Sid junior Bryant Polanco to highlight the scope and interdisciplinary nature of health sciences at Rice. She said she had previously worked on the Neurotransmitter, a neuroscience journal, but found herself more interested in health science topics.

“[Polanco and I] were interested in more beyond neuroscience, and we were interested in much more broader things that were aligning way more with the health science major,” Santra said. “So we [started] a journal that appealed to our personal interests a little bit more.”

Santra said she felt a need for the journal because health sciences is often poorly understood by the larger student body. 

“A lot of people don’t quite know what health sciences mean,” Santra said. “So at Rice, health sciences is public health, what public health looks like, what public health professionals do … it’s very interdisciplinary, as I’ve discovered. Almost anything that I learn about can somehow be tied back into people’s health, and that’s very interesting to me.”

Santra said that her interest in art also drew them to creating a journal that includes student designs.

“The art in the journal is very thoughtful,” Santra said. “I love art. I love thinking about art. I think that my nerdy STEMy pre-med stuff can be art.”

Polanco, who also studies health sciences and neuroscience, said his interest in art is also what inspired him to found the journal with Santra. 

“I had a lot of background in design and in graphic design,” Polanco said. “I want to make [health sciences] more accessible, make it more fun and more appealing to look at.”

Faculty advisor for HEALAR Cassandra Diep, an assistant teaching professor of health sciences, said that the health sciences major and HEALAR prepare students for careers in health policy. She wrote the inaugural faculty address for Rice Remedy, a HEALAR publication.

“The Health Sciences major introduces students to public health, specifically health promotion and behavioral sciences,” Diep wrote in an email to the Thresher. “However, we also incorporate epidemiology, health policy, biostatistics and other disciplines within public health.”

Akshay Sethi, a junior at Sid Richardson College studying biosciences and political science, wrote an article for Rice Remedy about geographic determinants of health in Harris County. His project examines disproportionate health outcomes based on proximity to the petrochemical industry. 

“To start on the research process I [looked at] ... the founding of the city of Houston in the 1800s and how it was planned out,” Sethi said. “How did the zoning work? There aren't any zoning laws here, but how did the planning work for Houston, and what specific areas were redlined?”

In his article, Sethi proposes the implementation of new zoning laws and greater regulations on the petrochemical industry. Sethi says in the future, he hopes to publish a photojournalism article in the Rice Remedy, chronicling the communities that are often disproportionately affected by the petrochemical industry. 

“I [want to] go around Houston and … do some photography around spots I’ve researched before, to highlight different communities and areas,” Sethi said. “There is a lot of history that intersects with how geography is played out for the lives of [those] communities and neighborhoods.”

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