Ulffers aims to serve people of eastern North Carolina

Abby Ulffers ’23 is a Brinkley-Lane Scholar and earned a Bachelor of Science in public health. She aims to “grow into a physician who has a platform to serve the people of eastern North Carolina.”

She was selected as a Brody Scholar in 2023 and is one of the 85 students in the Brody School of Medicine’s class of 2027.

“The only word that truly captures how I feel is grateful,” Ulffers said of being a Brody Scholar. “I have had the dream of attending medical school and becoming a physician since I was 13 years old, but I never dreamed I would be as blessed as I am today. The financial support provided by the Brody family and Brody Foundation will provide me the flexibility to serve where medical care is truly needed rather than making sacrifices to repay debt.”

Ulffers is the daughter of Chris Ulffers, director of the School of Music at ECU, and Beth Ulffers ’92 ’94, who teaches music in Pitt County Schools. She is a Greenville native and graduate of D.H. Conley High School.

Ulffers was a member of the Pitt County Schools Health Sciences Academy, where she job shadowed her childhood pediatrician. Ulffers said she was captivated by the compassionate relationship the doctor had cultivated with the patients she treated.

“She introduced me to the idea of preventative care clinics and opened my eyes to a unique approach to medicine and the possibility of empowering patients to be advocates of their health,” Ulffers said.

She worked as a certified pharmacy technician during her four undergraduate years.

“Through this job I saw firsthand the importance of end-to-end health care and gained a greater understanding of the teamwork that goes into providing the best possible care to all patients,” she said. “I gained more understanding of the extensive health disparities and health care access issues in eastern North Carolina that branch all the way to medication cost, pharmacy locations and educational prescription barriers.”

Abby Ulffers is a 2027 Brody Scholar.

As an undergraduate student, Ulffers was also involved in leadership roles, community service, academic research and community engaged research. She served with the Rotoract Club, volunteered in the ECU Community School, Backpack Buddies and Beast Philanthropy, and served as philanthropy vice president and chapter president of her sorority.

In the summer of 2021 Ulffers completed a study abroad program in Geneva, Switzerland, where she conducted research within UNICEF focused on cryptocurrency and its potential for donations and project funding. She said the project challenged her to develop problem-solving skills and gain knowledge completely outside of her comfort zone, and helped her gain a more global perspective.

During her senior year, Ulffers conducted a research project alongside Dr. Bhibha Das, associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology. They focused on the relationship between OB/GYN provider exercise levels and their exercise prescription habits.

This experience led her to be passionate about encouraging physician exercise habits and exercise education for both providers and patients.

“As a provider I hope to work towards increasing patient education programs in eastern North Carolina and contributing to increased access to health care through my personal practices,” she said.

Ulffers said her biggest goal during medical school is to diversify her academic, clinical and extracurricular experiences.

“I hope to surround myself with students and faculty that push my limits while also encouraging me to pursue unique opportunities to shape my time as a medical student,” she said. “I hope to build an academic family that will eventually become a professional network. Most of all, I hope to graduate having left a positive impact on both Brody and the Greenville community.”

She plans to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology, but said she is looking forward to exploring all other specialty options as she shadows physicians and gains more clinical experience.