Daniel Huck

Daniel Huck

Daniel Huck is an MD/MPH candidate at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM) at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). He was born in Denver, Colorado, and graduated summa cum laude from the Colorado School of Mines with a bachelor of science in engineering physics. After graduating, he served for two years in AmeriCorps as a public health worker in under-served communities, and spent a year at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, in an Intramural Research Training Award internship.

As part of his medical school studies, Huck conducted research in readmissions associated with outpatient parenteral anti-infective therapy. The findings are published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Therapy. Huck is also pursuing a MPH with special interest in health promotion, disease prevention, and global health. As part of his MD/MPH research curriculum, he is performing a clinical investigation of rheumatic heart disease in Uganda, including the basic immunology of the disease and the barriers to secondary prophylaxis with penicillin injections. This year, Huck will spend a few months in Kampala, Uganda, enrolling hospital and clinic patients for two studies involving performing blood draws for ELISAs, conducting echocardiographic studies, and facilitating qualitative focus groups. He has career interests in global health and tropical medicine, and in particular tropical infectious diseases.

Project: "The Role of HIV and Auto-Antibodies Among Patients with Rheumatic Heart Disease in Uganda: A Case-Control Study"
August 1, 2013 - July 31, 2014
Kampala, Uganda


What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
I am honored to receive this award, and appreciative because the funding will allow me to travel to Uganda and engage in an exciting project that will be pivotal in shaping my career. I have participated in other research projects, and obtaining funding is challenging. I am grateful that the trust has been placed in me to succeed. I hope that I can live up to the high standards set by the Kean Fellowship Committee and Benjamin H. Kean.

What do you anticipate learning?
The Kean fellowship will provide me travel support so that I can engage in two research projects in Uganda involving rheumatic heart disease (RHD). Rheumatic heart disease involves many of my medical interests and research passions. Despite the existence of effective treatment for both group A strep infection and ARF/ RHD, many healthcare systems around the world such as in Uganda lack the capability to provide universal access. It is a devastating and poorly understood autoimmune disease. I will explore how my attitudes and beliefs as a future physician may match or conflict with those of the RHD patients I will get to know. This study will be my first international research experience. By understanding the Ugandan perspective of a disease that has been virtually eradicated in the United States, I will be able to better understand where one is born affects their future health. By doing so, I will become a more compassionate and patient-centered public health physician. tropical diseases. In tropical medicine, we have the challenge of making people (including funders) care about these important diseases.

Rheumatic heart disease is also an interesting scientific topic, particularly given my interests in infectious disease, cardiology, rheumatology and other internal medicine and pediatric disciplines. I will gain key research skills including submitting IRB proposals, working with international partners, enrolling patients in a clinical study, navigating language barriers, running immunological assays, performing cardiovascular exams and studies, and using limited time in-country efficiently.

What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
I first became interested in tropical medicine because it is a field full of idealistic and tireless heroes. When I volunteered to design the website of an international nonprofit medical relief organization in Pucallpa, Peru, I was in awe of the physicians and nurses who had devoted years of their life living internationally. I am inspired by physicians like Paul Farmer, currently a UN Special Adviser for Haiti cholera efforts, who bemoans “stupid deaths” from diseases where inexpensive treatments or preventive measures exist. While volunteering for two years in AmeriCorps, I was also inspired by my mentors working in under-served medicine and public health in the US.

I am particularly interested in tropical infectious diseases, many of which are preventable or treatable but need unique solutions to provide access to healthcare services. The intersection between the science of an infectious disease and the social implications it has on those affected is a particular interest of mine as a MD/MPH student.