June-Ho Kim is a fourth-year medical student at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Originally from Cupertino, California, he attended Harvard University where he studied biochemistry and completed a thesis on the regulation of T helper cell differentiation in the development of autoimmunity. He is primarily interested in the decreasing the burden of chronic non-communicable diseases in resource-poor settings. During his undergraduate years, June-Ho had the opportunity to address asthma in underserved communities, working with asthmatic children in low-income neighborhoods of Boston and researching on the global burden of asthma with the International Study of Asthma & Allergies in Childhood.
In medical school, he traveled to Mexico to study the growing incidence of cancers in low- and middle-income countries. He spent the past year in Mbarara, Uganda where he worked with a team of Ugandan clinicians and researchers to study the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease in those infected with HIV. Outside of medicine, June-Ho loves traveling, hiking, blogging, and trying new cuisines. He feels fortunate that the field of tropical medicine allows him to also indulge his hobbies, and he hopes to continue to pursue his interests after graduation as an internal medicine physician.
Project: "Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Diseases among HIV-infected Persons in Southwestern Uganda"
September 1, 2014 - October 31, 2014
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
I am incredibly honored to receive the Kean Fellowship. It will not only support my work this year in Uganda; it is an inspiration for me to pursue clinical care and research in global health beyond medical school. Furthermore, I am looking forward to engaging a community of peers and mentors through the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. One of the best aspects of tropical medicine is the opportunity to connect with people of diverse specialties, nationalities, and walks of life who are all committed to the common goal of bridging health inequities. I hope this fellowship will serve as a springboard for exciting new developments in global health research, education, and clinical care.
What do you anticipate learning?
The Kean Fellowship will help me develop as a physician-scientist who can ask clinically important questions, answer them through meticulous study design, and effectively implement findings towards improving the health of the community. My project will be looking at the development of cardiovascular disease in Ugandans with HIV who have been on antiretroviral therapy, and I am enthralled for the chance to pursue this question further through the fellowship. I am especially looking forward to the opportunity to be on the ground in Mbarara working hand-in-hand with my Ugandan colleagues and patients. Moreover, through this experience, I expect to gain a deeper understanding of how to pursue both high-quality research and clinical care in a resource-limited setting.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
How do we create sustainable and comprehensive health systems in communities suffering from a wide variety of infectious and chronic diseases? That is a conundrum that I am passionate about solving. What interests me about tropical medicine is that it is a field in which we not only can apply existing clinical knowledge but also innovate creative solutions that may be more efficient and cost-effective than what is currently available. The fight against HIV in the developing world has shown us that high-quality care in resource-limited settings is possible. What’s more, I believe it has shown us that global health is not a zero-sum game. Rather, we can use the successes of the movement against HIV as an impetus with which to tackle everything from neglected tropical diseases to chronic non-communicable diseases.