The Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) has selected three new Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellows for the 2017-2018 academic year. The fellows—one medical student from the University of Rochester and two from Duke University—will conduct clinical global health research throughout the upcoming academic year.
The fellows will be mentored by Duke and DGHI faculty members, as well as staff and faculty at partner universities, NGOs and community-based organizations associated with the research project.
ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP
Duke University is one of six institutions that offers the fellowships, which are sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. With a long-term goal of developing the next generation of clinical investigators working in global health, the program aims to give medical students an outstanding global health clinical research experience.
The fellowship program delivered on these goals for Cody Cichowitz, one of DGHI’s 2016-2017 Doris Duke fellows. “The program not only provided a unique opportunity to engage in global health research and build practical experience, but it also created a space to learn from and work alongside Tanzanian researchers,” he reflected. “Working in Tanzania for a year helped me develop foundational research skills, but I’m most grateful for the relationships I built and the ways in which I was able to learn about the health care system and challenges facing patients and providers.”
MEET THE FELLOWS
Emma Fixsen, a Duke University medical student, will spend her fellowship year at the Center for Study, Research and Public Health Services in the Amazon (CENSAP) in Puerto Maldonado, Peru, under the mentorship of William Pan, assistant professor of global and environmental health. Her research will focus on how local environmental changes affect dietary habits and subsequent mercury exposure, and she’ll assess the impact of mercury exposure on maternal-fetal health outcomes.
“I'm very excited to learn more about how environmental exposures impact human health, but I'm also passionate about women's health so I’m excited to work with women at different points both during their pregnancies and postpartum,” Fixen reflected. “I look forward to learning more about how women experience pregnancy and birth in Peru. I also hope to gain further insight into how clinical research can be used to promote both environmental and reproductive health.”
Fixsen received her bachelor’s degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011, where she studied art with a focus on painting. Prior to medical school, she spent two years conducting research on hematopoietic stem cell regeneration after radiation injury, in the lab of John Chute (now at UCLA). She hopes to complete a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and to incorporate a combination of research, clinical practice, and policy work into her career.
Temi Gafaar, also a Duke University medical student, will spend her fellowship year at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Moshi, Tanzania,under the mentorship of Catherine Staton, assistant professor of emergency medicine and global health, and Blandina Mmbaga, director of the Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute. Her research will focus on perspectives on palliative and end-of-life care.
“I’m interested in global palliative care and mental health and I’m so happy that I have this opportunity to work with amazing researchers in Moshi, Tanzania,” Gafaar said. “Academic global health is where I see my career headed and it's great to be part of such a supportive research network."
Gafaar received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2012. After graduating, she worked in Anthony Leung’s lab at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where she researched stress granules. She’s currently a second-year medical student and her interests include palliative care, mental health and academic global health.
Casey Silver will be working with Wendy Prudhomme-O’Meara, associate professor of medicine and global health, at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya. Her research will focus on the prevention of malaria in children with sickle cell anemia.
“I applied for the Doris Duke fellowship for the opportunity to immerse myself in an international research project,” Silver said, “and I’m so excited to spend the upcoming year learning about how clinical research can be used to investigate global health questions.”
Silver received her Bachelor of Arts in biology from Amherst College in 2012. After graduating, she worked for an NGO in Udaipur, India, conducting maternal health research and programming. She then completed a post-baccalaureate research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.
Silver is currently a third-year medical student at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. Following her fellowship year, she plans to pursue a career in general surgery, where she hopes to ultimately study surgical practice and access to surgical care in resource-limited settings.
DGHI has hosted Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellows for the past five years. Learn more about the program and former fellows.