At first glance, Mila Scheinberg’s passions seem unrelated: she has always been interested in medicine, loves to exercise and won many awards for her paintings in high school. However, in the masterpiece that is her life, she has found a way to connect these passions.

“I’m really interested in orthopaedic surgery because I really like sports and sports medicine, and I really like surgery because it’s hands-on and I like to do things with my hands,” said Scheinberg, who is graduating with a Master of Science in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine from the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

As befits a future surgeon, Scheinberg always has seen health as a priority, starting with her own. She participated in cross country, track and lacrosse in high school. She continued her healthy habits in college as the president of a health and wellness club, where they would “host walks to the farmer’s market or healthy cooking classes or have soccer games.” She still chooses to spend her free time going to fitness classes, doing yoga or hiking. She also likes to cook healthy recipes and bake “healthy versions of desserts because [she has] such a sweet tooth.”

Scheinberg took her passion for health one step further by exploring a future in medicine. At the University of Michigan, she studied biopsychology, cognition and neuroscience, and her favorite class was physiology. She volunteered at a mobile clinic in Africa, where she found that “so many of the people were coming in for minor things like back pain from working in the fields all day or eye issues caused by the sun.”

Surprised that some of the health problems could be alleviated with simple solutions, she said, “Wow, we’re simply prescribing Visine and ibuprofen, and things like sunglasses or hats would greatly help them.” Closer to home, Scheinberg has continued to volunteer by driving cancer patients to and from their treatments.

As a master’s student at the Keck School, she currently volunteers in the laboratory of Denis Evseenko, MD, PhD, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Keck School, researching how to regenerate cartilage for osteoarthritis, a common disease in adults where the cartilage between joints breaks down. She strives to learn all she can about orthopaedics and medicine before she applies to medical school.

“I really like to stay active,” Scheinberg said, “so I want to help keep other people’s joints healthy so they can stay active, too!”

— Priya Kumar