Andrew Flynn is taking a research year away from the University of Colorado School of Medicine to study the intersection of health systems failures and HIV-related opportunistic infections in Uganda. He is working under the mentorship of David Meya from the Infectious Disease Institute, Kampala, and David Boulware from the University of Minnesota.
Andrew has sought a career in social justice since a young age and became interested in medicine while working as a firefighter in rural Colorado. He would like to integrate principles of social justice and human rights into clinical practice, research and public health work in order to address healthcare inequalities, especially in the field of tropical medicine. Eventually, he seeks to help counter the root causes of global health disparities by using lessons learned from patients to re-orient political and economic priorities.
Andrew has a B.A. in studio art from Macalester College and has held many jobs, including a cook in an Algerian restaurant, a counselor at a syringe exchange program, an EMT in Costa Rica, a public high school sex ed teacher in a conservative school district and a waiter at a mom-and-pop diner.
Project: Barriers to Care in Patients Presenting with Cryptococcal Meningitis in Uganda"
June 8, 2015 - May 6, 2016 Uganda
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
This fellowship has allowed me to think outside the box and explore new fields in international public health and tropical medicine that would have been unavailable otherwise. I appreciate this fellowship for opening doors for me and for supporting me as I learn more about the world.
What do you anticipate learning?
The opportunity to explore research topics in tropical medicine, public health and health systems in a setting far from my home university has taught me to respect differences and to recognize similarities in the motivations, methods, priorities and goals important to myself and to my international colleagues. I am humbled by the vast disparities in resources and opportunity between US medical researchers and researchers from a low-income country. I am struck by the inequalities that cripple health systems, providers and patients as they seek to address important medical problems, both the strange and the mundane. I hope to learn more about my role addressing these problems of inequality.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
The field of tropical medicine encompasses diseases for which the solution often requires implementation of previously known research, health system strengthening and attention to the socioeconomic determinants of health. These solutions necessitate moving towards global health equity. As I learn more about tropical diseases I am further pushed into the realms of public health, economic policy and political advocacy as I consider the root causes of the inequality that allows tropical disease to persist. I don't know what my role will be in addressing these challenges that plague our world, but I plan on starting to learn about it with the support of the Kean fellowship.