Hello! My name is Rachel Hughes, and I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I attended the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish) for college and graduated with a Bachelor of Science and a minor in Gender Studies. While there I was active with Gender Relations Center, working to make the campus a more welcoming home for LGBTQ+ students. I spent a large part of my time involved in the marching band and would not trade my front row seats at football games for anything. I started off as a science education major and have definitely brought my initial love of teaching and education to residency. My first introduction to the medical field came when I spent two summers serving at a pregnancy resource center for underserved women in Cincinnati. The first summer was a whirlwind of navigating prenatal care, childcare and parenting classes, and providing women with basic needs like diapers and maternity clothes. I quickly fell in love with all of the women we served as well as the nurses and other staff with whom I worked. After spending the second summer coordinating a public health needs assessment and establishing free STI testing for women (that is still offered and free today!), I was fully committed to a career in medicine, especially to continue serving those who most needed access to medical care.
After college I headed back home to Cincinnati for medical school and attended the University of Cincinnati. During my time there, I was involved with many student organizations focused on providing health education to a wide range of community members. I also served on our medical schools’ Service-Learning Advisory Committee to improve the service-learning curriculum at UCCOM and promote student group involvement in underserved parts of our community. I am so proud of my Cincinnati roots and loved serving as a tour guide, interviewer, and host for students interviewing at the school.
When deciding on a residency program, UNC Chapel Hill stood out immediately. Every single interest I expressed or population I desired to work with was met with “we can do that here”. The full spectrum training in procedures, inpatient medicine, and women’s health was also a huge draw for me. I saw physician role models in all of the faculty and residents I met, and loved the sense of not just community, but family that I witnessed at the dinner the night before. I always joke I had a hard time differentiating who was a resident and who was a partner, friend, or other family member and couldn’t wait to be a part of such a wonderful group of people.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my husband Mike and our 11-year-old cat, Socks. We have a large bucket list of restaurants in Durham and Raleigh we are currently working to check off. When we are able to get out of town, we spend a lot of time with my parents in South Carolina and his family scattered up the East Coast. I have one little brother, Austin, who is currently deployed flying helicopters for the Army, and I love catching up with him whenever our schedules align. I am always trying to squeeze in as much yoga and hiking as possible and have recently learned to golf. We are already in love with the area and are so happy we had the chance to move here!
Areas of Interest: adolescent medicine, LGBTQ+ medicine, addiction medicine, reproductive health, obstetrics/maternal-child health