Catherine G. Coughlin: Helping identify human trafficking victims

Catherine G. Coughlin

The AMA “Members Move Medicine” series profiles a wide variety of doctors, offering a glimpse into the passions of women and men navigating new courses in American medicine.

On the move with: Catherine G. Coughlin, who is a fourth-year medical student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.

AMA member since: 2017.

What inspired me to pursue a career in medicine: Medicine is an opportunity to help others, while building meaningful relationships, serving the community, and advocating for a better world. Plus, I get to work with wonderful kids and their families. I cannot imagine a more satisfying career!

How I move medicine: By learning and teaching every day.

Career highlights: I am a strong advocate for my patients in many ways, but much of my work is focused on educating medical personnel on how to identify sex trafficking victims. I had the extraordinary privilege of giving a talk about human trafficking at AMA Interim this year, and I was thrilled to teach AMA members about this important topic.

Advice I’d give to those interested in pursuing a career in medicine: Medicine is a marathon, not a sprint! Every day is an opportunity for growth, learning, and opportunities for you and for your patients.

How I give back to the community: I think working with community partners is so important, as they have a pulse on what our patients really need. I also am the co-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Pediatric Trainees advocacy campaign this year, which is such a joy and honor.

Aspect of my work that means the most: I have spent the past four years teaching medical students at my school how to identify victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking is a complex problem, and change is always incremental. However, the true reward is when someone tells me that they identified a human trafficking victim at the hospital as a result of my lecture.

My hope for the future of medicine: My dream is for medical practice to encompass all of the needs that patients have, outside of the clinic and the hospital. I want all my patients to have food security, safe housing, and high-quality education, so that they can truly be well.

Visit MembershipMovesMedicine.com to learn more about other AMA members who are relentlessly moving medicine through advocacy, education, patient care and practice innovation, and join or renew today.