Duke Grad, A Daughter Of Immigrants, Admitted To 11 Medical Schools

By Abbie Bennett
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) With 11 medical school offers under her belt, Lily Zerihun is well on her to achieving her goal of helping people around the globe have access to quality healthcare


Lily Zerihun knows that health care is a privilege not many can afford — and she wants to dedicate her life to changing that.

Being admitted to 11 medical schools gets her off to a great start.

Zerihun, 23, of Greensboro, graduated from Duke University in 2016. Her parents emigrated to the United States from Ethiopia, and Zerihun was born soon after. She was raised with a keen understanding of how different her life was from the life she might have led if she had been born in her parents’ home country.

“Growing up I was always very aware of health-care issues in my own family, including people who had to come to the U.S. for treatment from Ethiopia,” she said. “Or people who, if they lived in the U.S., could have been treated, but had to go without.”

In the back of her mind, Zerihun wanted to have a role in alleviating the imbalance in global health.

And it’s not just the difference between health care in the United States and in countries such as Ethiopia. It’s also the disparities right here in the United States.

“I want to work in some service capacity,” she said. “Being able to directly impact communities in the U.S. and around the world that don’t have access to health care — I want to be someone who makes a difference in that.”

Zerihun is already on her way to accomplishing that with her 11 medical school offers.

The application process is long and arduous, and each decision was heart-stopping. When Zerihun got her very first decision — from Wake Forest University — she even made a friend open the email for her.

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