Salisbury native earns top medical school scholarship

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 27, 2015

A medical student from Salisbury has been awarded the most prestigious scholarship available at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine.

Catherine Thriveni is one of three students in the medical school’s class of 2019 chosen for the Brody Scholar award, valued at approximately $112,000.

She will receive four years of medical school tuition, living expenses and the opportunity to design her own summer enrichment program that can include travel abroad. The award will also support community service projects she may undertake while in medical school.

Thriveni attended N.C. State University on a Park Scholarship, the university’s four-year merit scholarship program founded on scholarship, leadership, service and character. She recently completed her degree in biological sciences with a concentration in human biology. As a student at N.C. State, she was a member of the Omega Phi Alpha service sorority, studied abroad in Peru and England, and minored in Spanish and creative writing.

She aspires to a career in primary care with a special focus on disease prevention. “Patient care is beginning to shift from treatment-based to prevention-based, which I think is a really exciting phenomenon,” she said. “I’m passionate about providing care that encourages the overall wellness of the patient, physically and mentally.

“I’m also passionate about being a culturally competent physician,” she said. “Health is so intimately related to lifestyle habits, which are closely connected with culture. As a physician, I hope to be sensitive to and aware of my patients’ cultures and work with them on encouraging healthy habits.”

To that end, Thriveni said one of her goals during medical school is to stay open-minded and receptive to learning not only from the medical cases she encounters, but also from her diverse group of classmates.

“Receiving the Brody Scholarship exceeded all of my dreams,” Thriveni said. “Knowing that the Brody family and the board of directors — distinguished physicians, scholars and philanthropists — believe in my success has already provided me with more courage than I can express as I start this journey. I feel so grateful to know that I’ll have a home within a home at Brody and a network of support. Knowing that someone has invested in your future motivates you that much more to inspire and achieve.”

In its 33rd year, the Brody Scholars program honors J.S. “Sammy” Brody. He and his brother, Leo, were among the earliest supporters of medical education in eastern North Carolina. The legacy continues through the dedicated efforts of Hyman Brody of Greenville and David Brody of Kinston. Subsequent gifts from the Brody family have enabled the medical school to educate new physicians, conduct important research and improve health care in eastern North Carolina.

Since the program began in 1983, 131 students have received scholarships. About 70 percent of Brody Scholars remain in North Carolina to practice, and the majority of those stay in eastern North Carolina.

Also a graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Thriveni is the daughter of Nice and Pius Thriveni of Salisbury.