Chelsea Canon is a second year medical student at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A 2012 graduate of New York University, she majored in biology and classical civilization. It was during her undergraduate career that Canon first became interested in tropical medicine, completing an honors thesis on African trypanosomes.
Canon aims to get as much experience as possible working abroad. Apart from her Kean Fellowship project in India, she has assisted on a short-term medical mission trip to Haiti under the mentorship of Dr. David Rainey. Canon was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and also grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Project: "Oral Prevalence and Knowledge of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Among Adults With Oral Lesions in Mangalore, India"
June 3, 2013 - July 29, 2013
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
I was very humbled to receive such a prestigious award from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The Kean Fellowship meant that I was able to spend a summer working abroad for the first time. The Kean Fellowship has further inspired me to continue working towards my goal of working in global health.
What do you anticipate learning?
While living abroad, I have learned about the obstacles and barriers that exist when conducting research in another country. Every country has a different system within which you have to operate in. You must always be flexible, especially at the beginning of your project. Most importantly, this project has taught me that you must be very organized and prepared before you leave for research abroad. Beyond learning from the obstacles present, I have learned what a blessing it is to interact with and learn from people in other countries. In my project, I surveyed physicians about their knowledge and attitudes regarding human papillomavirus and the potential for a vaccination program in Mangalore, India. I was able to learn a great deal about the healthcare system in India from the physicians providing the care. This opportunity has allowed me to grow personally and professionally.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
One thing I believe is that there is something unique about every culture that exists, and that this is something that must be preserved. One of the reasons I am drawn to this field is because many of the tropical diseases are preventable. I am currently gravitating towards the fields of pediatrics and global health because it breaks my heart to see a young child die from a preventable disease.This opportunity showed me that there truly is a need for physicians willing to provide service in less developed countries. After this experience, I believe that global health is not only needed in small, rural areas in need of basic healthcare, but that there are also opportunities to help train local physicians to provide sustainable healthcare. I hope that I will be able to help expose the importance of preventive medicine in the pediatric field abroad.