Jill Hagey is a rising second year medical student at the University of California, San Francisco. Prior to starting medical school, she attended Yale University where she earned her undergraduate degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases. Her first exposure to the medical profession was volunteering with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation as a high school student. Since then she has conducted research projects on HIV and reproductive health, working in Botswana, Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. She is primarily interested in health systems, and how systems level factors affect the ability of clients to access adequate care in reproductive health and infectious diseases. She also worked for the Population Reference Bureau in Washington DC, supporting policy makers in the Ministries of Health in Kenya and Nigeria with their national nutrition policies. In addition to her research and work pursuits, she has a strong interest in teaching, and hopes to pursue a career in academic medicine.
Project: "Do Facility-Level Factors in Family Planning Services Provision Influence Use of Contraceptives? A Facility Assessment at Family AIDS Care and Education Services (FACES)-supported HIV care facilities in Western Kenya"
June 23, 2014 - August 17, 2014
Nyanza Province, Kenya
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
My dedication and passion for pursuing a career in global health have grown substantially over the past ten years as I have volunteered and worked in the field in various capacities. Being selected for this prestigious fellowship has helped me to continue my commitment to working with underserved populations around the world in the areas of HIV and reproductive health. I look forward to learning from the other fellows who have been selected, and to become part of this rich community of scholars working towards similar goals.
What do you anticipate learning?
The Kean Fellowship has allowed me the opportunity to work with the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) doing research on the impact of earlier HIV initiation on fertility desires. Through this study, I will be speaking with many health care providers, learning some of their challenges in working with HIV positive clients in a resource-limited setting. While I’ve worked in East Africa before, working in more rural communities will bring different answers to some of the questions that I have asked throughout my research experience in HIV/AIDS. Beyond the research itself, I look forward to working closely with a team of Kenyan investigators and colleagues to foster collaboration and learn from their expertise. I hope to add value to their team, and particularly learn how the clinical knowledge that I am gaining through medical school can help as we find solutions to the research questions we are asking.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
I believe health care is a human right. This fuels my interest in tropical medicine, as the unfortunate reality is that we have access to prevention and treatment efforts for many tropical diseases, but these efforts do not reach the people who need them. Additionally, many of the risk factors for tropical diseases, such as poor sanitation and cramped living conditions, increase the spread of these diseases among those with the fewest resources. Women in particular are hit hard by infectious diseases, especially in HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and they do not have the negotiating power to reduce their risk factors or to get better care for themselves. The problem I seek to solve is at the intersection of HIV/reproductive health, health systems strengthening, and access to care: how do we create a health system that provides equitable access to all, particularly to women and minorities, around HIV and reproductive health care?