Nicholas Sausen, a native of North Branch, Minnesota, studied neuroscience and physiology at the University of Minnesota. Sausen completed several volunteer trips across the United States during his time in college. Before beginning medical school, he had the opportunity to teach and learn alongside Sierra Leonean students in a community health outreach project in Freetown and nearby rural villages. Apart from medicine, Sausen enjoys spending time outdoors, biking, running, and birding.
Project: "Pathogenesis of cognitive/neurologic deficits in central nervous system malaria"
October 1, 2013 - December 19, 2013
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
To understand what the Kean Fellowship means to me I had to walk back down the path that led me here, and understanding how my passion grew from my work with young adults in the mountains of Oregon, Scouts in the inner city Minneapolis, and children in rural villages of Sierra Leone. The vibrancy and resilience of kids across cultures has been a very positive part of my life. These events have been formative experiences guiding me towards pediatric medicine. The Kean Fellowship will allow me to work for children as a researcher and clinician. Through this opportunity I look forward to being a part of the lives of children in Kampala, Uganda.
What do you anticipate learning?
The Kean Fellowship is an opportunity to pursue my passion of improving health outcomes for children around the world. In undertaking this experience I will be investigating pediatric cerebral malaria in Uganda, particularly in relation to the domains, frequency, and severity of cognitive and neurologic function affected by cerebral malaria in children. The Kean Fellowship is unique for its ability to develop clinical researchers in a global mentoring environment. I believe that in this environment I can thrive as a young researcher and grow as a global clinician. Ultimately, I anticipate being surprised, humbled, and changed by the new experiences that await me in Uganda.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
The intersection of pediatric neurodevelopment and infectious disease is an area within tropical medicine I hope to pursue. Children across the tropics who are affected by infectious diseases such as malaria, intestinal parasites, and HIV who develop mental illness and cognitive deficits bear a tremendous disease burden. Preventing cognitive impairment and abating cognitive losses in severe and chronic infection are areas with great potential to improve health outcomes throughout the tropics. Tropical medicine involves dealing with some of the most difficult diseases as well as basic health needs. I feel called to push myself further everyday to help those afflicted by diseases of the tropics, especially children. Tropical medicine is often viewed solely through the lens of infectious disease, but I hope by taking a wider view I can gain insight into how tropical medicine can most benefit tropical health.