Amelia Cline is a medical student at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine expecting to graduate in spring of 2017. During undergrad, she earned a BSPH at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, majoring in Environmental Health Science with a focus on infectious disease and epidemiology. Prior to starting medical school, Amelia worked at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, conducting heath services research and providing support to healthcare organizations doing patient safety and quality improvement work.
With the ASTMH Kean Fellowship she was able to work at the Center for Infectious Disease Research of Zambia (CIDRZ) in Lusaka, Zambia. During her 10 weeks at CIDRZ she assisted with the implementation of a World Health Organization-funded field evaluation of two dual HIV and Syphilis rapid testing kits. Pregnant women in Zambia are disproportionately affected by HIV and syphilis, putting their children at risk of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Early detection and timely interventions are critical to reducing MTCT of both infections. If the tests are found to perform well in the field they could be used in antenatal clinics nationwide, and providers in Zambia would be able to test their at-risk patients for both conditions using one simple finger prick and a single testing kit that costs $2.00 or less.
Project: "A Point of Care Performance Evaluation of Dual HIV and Syphilis Rapid Diagnostic Tests in Prenatal Clinics in Lusaka, Zambia."
May 29, 2014 - August 4, 2014
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
I was thrilled to have been chosen for the Kean Fellowship. It allowed me to pursue an opportunity in Zambia for unique clinical experience and meaningful research outside of my traditional medical school curriculum. The financial assistance has relieved some of the current pressure of these enhancements to my education and will also lessen the financial considerations when I eventually choose work after graduation.
What do you anticipate learning?
Having an interest in public health and infectious disease research is one thing, but having experience with the actual implementation and development of that research is another. This opportunity has given me a new perspective on the barriers and implications of research in low resource settings.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
One of the main drivers for my decision to go to medical school was an interest in health disparities caused by everything from issues of access and resource distribution to differences in genetics and behavior. Tropical medicine is a fascinating and rewarding field of study because it incorporates problems in all of those areas, and represents a huge opportunity for improving the health equity of people all around world.