Written by Madison Calvert, BS in human physiology at Boston University; SPRIGHT Scholar in the 2020 Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program – Public and Global Health Abbreviated Track
Often when you hear of global health, you think about medicine and research going on across the world, in remote parts of South America, Asia, and Africa. Rarely do you think about the pressing challenges that your own community faces.
But that is exactly what global health is. It is ensuring the well-being and safety of individuals in all pockets of the world, whether it’s in Zanzibar or Boston. It is promoting the care of youth in the streets of St. Louis and the refugee camps in Lebanon. It is creating worldwide networks aimed at improving outcomes and destroying inequities for individuals of all different backgrounds.
Over the past month, I’ve participated in the Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program – Public and Global Health Abbreviated Track. Through the program, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to hear from amazing physicians and public health practitioners who are true warriors fighting to improve the health and well-being of youth and adults all across the globe. This experience has allowed me to reflect upon my past research and has fueled my passions to work towards a career in advancing pediatric health around the world. However, what it truly showed me was the capability of creating a global network from home.
The summer research program has given me the opportunity to connect with peers and professionals from all corners of the world and expand my knowledge and understanding of public health. Listening to the journeys and advice of physicians and practitioners in pediatrics, global health, and public health has allowed me to shape and hone in on my goals as an aspiring researcher and physician.
I was also given the opportunity to connect with my mentors, Fred Ssewamala, PhD, William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor, Brown School and Rachel Brathwaite, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Brown School, and become involved in the research at the International Center for Child Health and Development (ICHAD). While from the comforts of my home in Boston, I’ve been able to delve into the challenges adolescents living with HIV face with mental health, stigma, prevention, and adherence to treatment in Sub-Saharan Africa. This experience has not only confirmed my desire to work with underserved populations, but has also excited me to continue along my journey in promoting and advocating for the health and care of children globally.
From participating in daily lectures to conducting literature reviews and writing manuscripts, the Summer Research Program has allowed me to truly bring the world of global health home, and inspired me to continue to fight to solve the problems of our local and global communities.