Daniel Silva is a fourth year medical student at Boston University. He was born in São Paulo, Brazil and moved to Boston at the age of 4. He attended Wesleyan University where he earned a B.A. in Biology and Science in Society. While he enjoyed his pre-medical courses, it was an English class in which he read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down that ignited his passion for global health. After graduating, he worked at the Center for Community Health Improvement at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and published a paper of Community Based Participatory Research methods. He applied the skills he learned at MGH at the Mae Sot Clinic for Burmese refugees in Thailand to produce an internal report of health seeking behaviors and human rights experiences of cross-border refugees. His experiences at home and abroad solidified his determination to go to medical school.
At BUSM, he is a student leader of the Global Health Equity Program and co-taught the student-led Global Health Equity elective for first and second year medical students. He received the BUSM International Health Summer Scholarship to participate in research investigating household transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Vitória, Brazil, which resulted in an abstract presentation at the 2013 Consortium of Universities for Global Health meeting. Outside of medical school, he likes to play ultimate frisbee, go on bike rides, add to his ever growing vinyl record collection, and is always up for a travel adventure.
Project: "Retention in HIV Care and Opportunistic Infections in a Longitudinal Urban Cohort"
August 11, 2014 - June 30, 2015
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
It is an honor to receive this fellowship. It allows me to return to my home country of Brazil, which is a model for public health and HIV healthcare across the world. It means that I will be able to gain skills that will help me to become a doctor-advocate for underserved populations at home and abroad.
What do you anticipate learning?
I anticipate learning about HIV prevention from the point-of-view of the patient, the institution, and the policy maker. I hope to gain a better understanding of the interplay between infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases, and the social determinants that lead to inequitable burden of disease in an urban population. I will learn how to conduct epidemiological data analysis in order to gain that understanding, and transmit it to a greater audience of like-minded individuals. Lastly, I will become familiar with the current issues that face HIV patients and their providers in a middle income country.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
I’m a little bit of geek about Tropical Medicine. When I started medical school and began to delve deeper into global health, I read an article from the British Medical Journal published in 1919 that outlined the need for “special education” in Tropical Medicine because of the stretch of the British Empire into tropical climates. That wasn’t what inspired me. What did inspire me, however, was the suggestion that medicine would not be practically useful if it could not be applied in diverse settings. Today, this notion now extends to low- and middle-income countries and regions with poor infrastructure and lack of resources and people that live in poverty. Most importantly, Tropical Medicine prioritizes the need to translate biomedical science so it can reach the people who need it the most.
The problems that I am interested in solving revolve around rapid urbanization and the burden of disease in urban slums. Slums are a universal phenomenon that predominate the landscape of many tropical cities, and at the same time they represent tight-knit communities full of vitality and creativity. I hope to better understand the social determinants of health that disproportionately affect these and other marginalized urban communities in the hopes of creating more equitable health outcomes.