Cameron McConkey, MPH ʻ19, was a PhD student in University of Pennsylvaniaʼs immunology and infectious disease program, when a non-Hodgkins lymphoma diagnosis put his life on hold.
The truly transformative moment, though, came when his treatment ended. “Everyone said, ʻYouʼre cured. Go back to your normal life,ʼ” he says. It was then that McConkey decided to set aside his plans for a research career and commit to work he was truly passionate about. That started at the John Bell Health Center in Philadelphia, where he helped expand a comprehensive HIV prevention program with a focus on the use of pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP/PEP).
POWER TO MAKE CHANGE
From there, he found Drexel, joining the Center for Family Intervention Science as a research and operations manager. Focused on family-centered care models, the Center works to improve the well-being of children and adults with medical, developmental or behavioral health conditions.
McConkey, who is also pursuing a masterʼs in public health at Drexel, appreciates how the Center engages “therapists, nutritionists and behavioral health professionals, people from across the College and University. Itʼs really that sort of interdisciplinary team,” he says, “that gives us a lot of power to make change.”
AN AUTHENTIC VOICE IN THE COMMUNITY
In addition to his work on mental health issues, McConkey is a dedicated advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in Philadelphia. He is active on several boards and in various initiatives, including serving as a content creator for the LGBTQ+ health blog, QSpaces. He is also a board member on CNHPʼs Board of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which is advocating for gender neutral bathrooms on campus, developing a toolkit for the CNHP community on inclusive practices in the classroom and much more.