Katrina Ciraldo is a fourth year medical student at Boston University. She grew up in Miami Beach, Florida, and earned degrees in History and Anthropology at Columbia University. In college, she became interested in social determinants of health as well as global access to AIDS treatment. She became deeply involved in the Student Global AIDS Campaign and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, two student organizations she credits with providing a robust education on global health equity. After college, she worked under the mentorship of W. Ian Lipkin, MD at Columbia’s Center for Infection and Immunity on strengthening the global response to emerging infectious diseases. Prior to medical school, Katrina worked in Kampala and Nairobi alongside Ugandan and Kenyan civil society leaders to advocate for universal access to AIDS treatment.
At BUSM, she has been active within the Global Health Equity Program and co-taught a student-led course for first and second year medical students. She is a member of Physicians for a National Health Program and served on the national steering committee of the American Medical Student Association’s AIDS Advocacy Network. She has also been fortunate to join a small team of physicians at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program assessing quality of end of life care for homeless Bostonians.
Katrina plans to be a primary care physician, likely focusing on HIV primary care and caring for marginalized populations including injection drug users and the chronically homeless. Additionally, she hopes to address the current global human resources for health crisis through policy and healthworker training.
Project: "Impact Evaluation of Village Health Worker-Led and Census Data-Driven Community Health Education"
September 20, 2014 - August 20, 2015
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
I will be working for a year in Kisoro, a district of 250,000 people in southwestern Uganda, to better understand the challenges faced by our counterparts in settings that often lack basics taken for granted in the United States such as steady access to essential medicines, clean water, and electricity. I am thrilled and humbled to have been selected for the Kean Fellowship. I am grateful for the tremendous support of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, not only the financially, but also the support of affirmation.
What do you anticipate learning?
Village health workers (VHWs) are being increasingly utilized in poor countries as a solution to overall shortages of doctors, nurses, and other health workers. As investments in VHW programs continue to grow globally, more evidence about the effects of different types of interventions is needed. I will join a robust Village Health Worker (VHW) program, established in 2007 by Kisoro District Hospital and Doctors for Global Health. In addition to curriculum development and in-field supervision with the VHWs, I will conduct an evaluation of home-based health education on several topics including women’s cancer screening, family planning, and diarrhea. I look forward to honing my ability to generate evidence reflecting whether VHW-led education can lead to improved patient outcomes.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
Even as global communities become more interconnected via the internet, travel, and trade, we continue to grapple with glaring health disparities. The enormous success of programs targeting global AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria has shown us how the right combination of medicine, public health, and political intervention can alleviate suffering and strengthen healthcare systems. I am committed to addressing the issue of human resources for health, especially with respect to expanded use of community health workers and improving retention of providers in rural areas.