Bianca is a fourth year medical student at Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Originally from Italy, she grew up in Belgium and moved to New York City at age 14. Her international upbringing helped spark a true passion for global health. During her undergraduate studies at Harvard, she majored in Global Health and African Studies and traveled to Mali and Kenya. After college, she worked for two years as an HIV/AIDS case manager in New York, connecting HIV positive patients to health and social resources. Currently in medical school, she is completing a scholarly concentration in Global Health and has traveled to Ethiopia, Italy, and Brazil to pursue research and clinical projects. She has also worked with immigrant communities in Providence on issues of access to healthcare, and helped develop a health disparities curriculum for first-year medical students at Brown.
Bianca plans to pursue a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and to continue to work internationally as she has become interested in the intersection between infectious diseases and reproductive health. As a Kean Fellow, she will be traveling to Mozambique in the spring to work with the Centers for Disease Control on an evaluation project for the country's Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV program.
Project: "Evaluation project of Mozambique's Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV Program"
February 1, 2015 - April 30, 2015
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
The Kean Fellowship means being able to continue my work and feeling supported in what has been my passion for the past nine years: global health work. Since I was a freshman in college, I have worked hard to educate myself in global health issues and prepare to be an expert in the field. Interest and fascination for tropical medicine was what brought me to medicine in the first place, and now that I am so close to being a physician, the ability to work abroad means the world to me. This fellowship marks the culmination of almost a decade of preparation, but also a beginning for a long career that I hope continues to take me around the world.
What do you anticipate learning?
My project involves conducting research in order to evaluate Mozambique's national Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV program. As such, I will be working with the Ministry of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. I am excited to learn about large scale public health endeavors and how to design and implement effective programs that truly make a difference. I am also eager to learn about the health system and health problems that are most relevant in Mozambique, one of the world's poorest countries. I expect to spend time in clinical settings and see first-hand some of the tropical infectious diseases that I have spent so much time studying in medical school.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
What first drew me to tropical medicine was that it brings one in contact with a variety of different people and cultures. This continues to be a driving force in my global health work both abroad and domestically with immigrants from all over the world. Tropical medicine is also fascinating from a medical perspective because most tropical diseases are easily cured or treated and the burden they cause can be eliminated. This is where tropical medicine becomes a social justice issue: it is about global inequities in access to resources and healthcare, and working in global health comes down to fighting to reduce those inequalities. I see my career at the intersection between infectious diseases, lack of access to care, and reproductive health. As a future OB-GYN, I hope to make a contribution to the reduction of maternal mortality world-wide.