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John Pothen

Current Status: GRAD

Other Degrees: BS in Chemistry, The College of William & Mary;  

Hometown: Yorktown, VA


Outside of academics, I enjoy exercise, playing piano, and singing. I follow Indian Cricket and New England Patriot football. An avid podcaster, I also enjoy listening regularly to This American Life as well as sermons from The Village Church in Denton, TX and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, FL. My favorite music is the old jazz standards.


My broad research interest is the application of the perspective and methods of social science to improve the likelihood and quality of success of health-intervention efforts. Within this area, I am specifically interested in the use of participatory methods to nurture the capacity of marginalized communities for collective action to improve their own health and healthcare in a sustainable and self-empowering way.

I have had experience with exactly this sort of project through my work in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with the Student Organization for Medical Outreach and Sustainability ( while I was an undergraduate at the College of William & Mary. I gained familiarity with the methods of participant observation, ethnographic interviewing, and social network analysis while in the project. I subsequently had exposure to a long-standing non-governmental organization – the Comprehensive Rural Health Project in Jamkhed, India ( – built on these principles and ideas during a 10 month stint as a Fulbright-Nehru Student Researcher. I conducted an epidemiological prevalence study of hypertension in nearby villages during that time.

I am currently in the Sociology program at the Laney Graduate School and am a member of Emory University’s MD/PhD program. I intend to matriculate to the Emory University School of Medicine in two years, to complete my PhD thesis after two years of medical studies, and then to return to the School of Medicine to complete my clinical rotations and graduate from the MD/PhD program. I hope to develop or affiliate with a site in or near Atlanta where I can conduct research while at Emory University.