Elizabeth Nguyen

Washington and Lee University, Class of 2025

Major: Neuroscience

Minor: Poverty and Human Capabilities Studies

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Nguyen is a senior majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Poverty & Human Capability Studies on the pre-med track at Washington & Lee University. She is a passionate harm reductionist and hopes to pursue medicine, public health research, and advocacy at the intersection of food and housing insecurity. Through SUMR, Nguyen hopes to gain experience, insight, and connections that will guide her future in promoting health equity through community empowerment and engagement.

As a member of SUMR’s 2024 cohort, Nguyen is working on two projects connected to Penn’s Department of Family and Community Health. With Dr. Deanna Wilson, Nguyen is conducting a project on hospital-based harm reduction interventions among people who use drugs. Analyzing data from lived experiences to explore intersectional barriers, facilitators, and best practices for equitable implementation, her work will inform a future hospital-based intervention focused on offering full-spectrum addiction services (including MOUD and harm reduction) to individuals during acute hospitalization. And with Stephen Bonett, Nguyen is preparing a systematic review on transitional housing programs for people living with HIV (PWH). Her work will inform the evaluation of a new Philadelphia Department of Public Health-funded program featuring Housing First principles and policies of harm reduction, low-barrier methods, and client autonomy.

At W&L, Nguyen pursues her passion for health equity through engagement with its Shepherd Poverty Program. As the president of Campus Kitchen and co-coordinator of its Volunteer Venture pre-orientation program, she mentors first-year students and combines hands-on engagement in rural Rockbridge County with discussions around food and housing insecurity to facilitate learning about social determinants of health. As an Office of Inclusion and Engagement (OIE) Ambassador and the president of Sexual Health Awareness Group (SHAG), Nguyen closely collaborates with W&L Student Health to promote healthy and inclusive human connection. Whenever she returns home to Philadelphia, Nguyen volunteers with Savage Sisters, a local harm reduction organization, to treat xylazine-caused wounds.

Nguyen is committed to lifelong learning and the power that comes with vulnerability and authenticity. When she’s not spending quality time with friends or picking up a new language, she loves to curl up with a book, learn and perform music, lift weights, and soak up some sun on her skateboard.

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