Christine is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. She earned a B.S. in Biology at Oral Roberts University in May 2013. She has an interest in global health and did a research and clinical preceptorship in the Dominican Republic between her first and second year of medical school. There, she studied different etiologies presenting to the ED, many of which were tropical diseases. She is a member of UTMB's Global Health Tract and Hands and Feet, a local medical outreach program. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors and surfing, when Poseidon unleashes his tropical storms in the Gulf. Christine and her husband, Adam, are preparing to take a two-week epidemiology course and develop a point of care test on Taenia solium and T. saginata in Cuzco, Peru this upcoming year. In addition to acclimating to the 11,000-foot elevation, they plan to volunteer in local clinics, immerse themselves in local culture and, of course, hike Machu Picchu.
Project: "Impact of Fascioliasis among Children in the Peruvian Highlands"
August 1, 2016 - May 1, 2017
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
When I saw the email, I was excited and almost in disbelief to have been a selected recipient of the prestigious Kean Fellowship. I understand that this reward is made possible from the generosity of practicing physicians, researchers and donors those who have helped paved the way in tropical medicine and trust me to contribute to the field. The Kean Fellowship resembles more than just means for my project: it is inspirational. I view my time abroad more than just an experience, but as a calling that I will passionately pursue in an attempt to help those who suffer from tropical disease.
What do you anticipate learning?
I expect to sharpen my skills in tropical medicine by studying the different diseases, presentations and current treatment options in Cuzco, Peru. I also want to learn more about the research process, how to pioneer my own projects, how to develop point of care testing, utilize different technology available, and eventually apply for publication. Another facet I am excited to experience is immersion in a rich culture and different language. I will be taking Spanish classes, learning how to dance salsa, and live with locals in the community. This experience will help me become a well-rounded physician in both my clinical skills, research experience, and help me better relate to patients from a culture different from my own.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
In my freshman year of undergraduate at ORU, I received an excellent introduction to parasitology in my Biology 112 course. The variety of parasites and how they related and interacted with the world intrigued me. I was amazed how such small bugs tortured and caused great problems for humanity. Since that time, I have wanted to learn more to help treat and prevent tropical disease in other countries. My Biology 112 professor said, "Give medication to someone and you'll temporarily cure a sickness. Develop a vaccine and you've saved the lives of thousands." That phrase stuck with me. Though vaccine production is beyond my scope of skill, I would like to contribute to the process by doing preliminary research, developing screening tests, sharing education with the public and helping those who directly suffer from tropical diseases.