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Tara L. Adyanthaya is the daughter of an Indian doctor and an Irish nurse who met while working in a Rhode Island hospital. He was doing his medical training in the U.S. and scheduled to return to India to an arranged marriage. Six months after they met, they married — and shocked both their families. They raised their children in Houston. Their daughter grew up to be a health care lawyer and a bioethics scholar. She flies to Philadelphia regularly to continue part-time work on a master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also now associate general counsel of Emory University and Emory Healthcare. She advises several health care committees for Emory Medical Center and its other hospitals in the areas of bioethics and credentialing. Here are edited excerpts from a recent conversation: Most enjoyable part of the job: I feel like I’m a kid in a candy store because I really love health care and I’m just steeped in it. I interact with nurses, doctors, counselors. … It’s incredibly inspiring to be in an environment where people really care about their place in the community and how they impact other people. They are really thinking about how we can make Emory the best place to receive health care. On choosing to study bioethics: Every single time science or medical treatment advances it creates a whole ethical dilemma for end-of-life or beginning-of-life issues. Some things can be legal but unethical or ethical but illegal. To me the goal is to blend both. Dream job: I interrupted going to school full time because this is my dream job. On law firm life: It makes me sad when I hear how many people are unhappy in law firms, because I love being a lawyer. … I think people who are unhappy being lawyers maybe aren’t focusing on the right things. To me, it’s a great intersection of interests. You read a lot, and you write a lot. There’s ethics. There’s impact on the community. Instead of waiting on other people to make it meaningful to you, you need to make it meaningful for yourself. If you don’t, you’re missing a great opportunity. The education we get in law school is a fascinating opportunity. It’s a unique opportunity to learn how we can act in ways that can make a difference. Opportunities do present themselves to you as a lawyer, and the question is whether you are open to receiving them. Personal philosophy: I like people. Maybe it’s my psychology background, but I think it’s important to not allow negativity to infect you and to try to look for positive things. It’s karma. Try to be good to other people, and eventually it comes back to you. After hours: I’m a runner. Philadelphia is a great city to run in. I did the “Rocky” run. I’ve run one marathon. I run a half marathon every year. I’m training to run the New York Marathon in November. … I started running because I wanted to develop those personal characteristics that would help me if I ever had to go through chemotherapy or experience a chronic illness. I wanted to learn that I could push myself to go on. I see a trainer twice a week to force me to lift weights. I’m short, small, half-Asian, very likely according to statistics to end up with osteoporosis. I use the running and the weights to guard against that. I will skip a day, though. I’d rather have family and friends that still love me than to be the most fit person in the world. On diversity: I’m part Asian, part Irish. I grew up in Houston where everyone just assumed I was Mexican. From my perspective, everyone I meet is diverse. I didn’t have the luxury of falling back on any group. I was always hoping people would keep an open mind about me. I guess the way that happens is to not close your mind about other people. It’s hard to stereotype people when you see them and their humanity.

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