Skip to main content

Abbi Howell

Email Me!

What was your Undergrad Institution and Major?

Carthage College with a Graphic Design major and Biology minor.

What piqued your interest to study health communication?

I am passionate about both the arts and sciences and this was a perfect way to combine my interests. I have a graphic design/communication background and now I work in direct patient care as a radiation therapist. Working with cancer patients every day, I notice many communication issues within our healthcare system. After learning about this program, I became interested discovering tools to improve the patient experience.

Why is earning your MS at Northwestern important to you?

I have loved working as a radiation therapist at Northwestern Medicine and now feel even more part of the Northwestern family as a master’s student. The professors are passionate about the field and challenge new ways of thinking, which is what I love most so far.

What are your career goals?

My desired career goals involve enhancing the overall patient experience and safety within oncology departments. Some career paths I have considered include leadership positions in training, quality, patient safety and other roles involved in the improvement of the patient experience. For now, I plan to apply this knowledge to my role as a radiation therapist.

What is your favorite part of the program so far?

I have loved getting to know the cohort, professors, and staff as we all come from different backgrounds and provide unique perspectives in discussion groups. The content of the courses is relevant, challenging, and so interesting! Lastly, I love using our creativity in class discussions and papers to create solutions that address these complicated issues in our healthcare system.

What tips have you used in virtual learning?

We created a GroupMe chat for our class, which has been helpful to stay engaged with classmates. I have also started listening to lectures while cooking/commuting to and from work to reinforce the course content.

What are you looking forward to in the program?

Many of the future courses build on the concepts we are learning now so I am excited to dive deeper into these health communication topics in future classes like “Dialogues about Change in Healthcare” and “Engaging Patients in Healthcare”. I am also excited to apply this knowledge in a practical setting and improve the lives of patients.

Any tips on balancing school, work, and life?

Do not forget to take time for yourself and your life outside of school/work. Set aside specific times for schoolwork and specific times for enjoyable personal activities and it will make it all much more manageable!

Is there any additional advice or information that you would like to share?

Stay curious and open-minded. Communicate with professors, staff, classmates, and TAs often as they are all incredible resources. Join all the optional activities/zoom meetings that you can. The program is also a great networking opportunity!