Zachary Obinna Enumah

Zachary was born in Columbus, GA and remained there throughout high school. From there, he attended Yale University, where he began to develop a deeper interest and investment in understanding healthcare disparities and inequalities. After receiving his degree in African studies, he remained in-house to pursue a Master's degree in African studies, where he focused on how Tanzanian refugee policy changed from the period of socialism (ujamaa) to neoliberalism. He also stayed in New Haven, CT for two years, during which he taught high school chemistry and biology. He is currently a medical student at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD.

Project: "Navigating Neoplasms: An Investigation of Cancer Care and Referral Healthcare in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp, Kigoma, Tanzania"     
January 15, 2017 - May 1, 2017    


What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
The art of healing and care that is the task of the doctor requires an understanding of patients not as simply biological objects, but as full-bodied, social beings whose conditions emerge at the intersection of biological and social circumstances. Tropical medicine has been and continues to be a primary interest of mine given the unique nature and approach of disease control. More specifically, medicine in most tropical settings creates unique problem-spaces for practitioners and researchers. More specifically, my interests are primarily in cancer and cancer care in tropical settings, such as refugee camps. The Kean Fellowship is truly a privilege as it affords me the opportunity to pursue and develop a deeper sensibility of this aspect of medicine, how our understandings of disease and dimension intersect, and how these very intersectionalities might be applied in a tropical medicine setting.

What do you anticipate learning?
Non-communicable and chronic diseases are becoming major health burdens for countries and communities in tropical settings. While the focus in refugee camps, for example, has been on emergency humanitarian aid, protracted refugee situations necessitate nuanced solutions to healthcare. Durable solutions are necessary, and it is my hope that my research can add to the growing body of literature on caring for chronic diseases like cancer, or complex medical care in tropical and resource-poor settings.

What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
To me, medicine provides a lens to view health at a biological level, but medicine is also fundamentally a social discipline, social in that the doctor-patient relationship, the precise relationship that enables pathological inquiry, also permits doctors to understand socio-economic, political and personal situations that contribute to ill-health. In the short term, I hope to continue research in refugee healthcare as I progress in my clinical training, and I truly believe these sorts of interactions (e.g., doctor-patient relationship, geo-politics, socioeconomics) occupy unique problem spaces in tropical settings. My hope is that this work will add to the growing body of literature on complex medical care in conflict and post-conflict settings.