Amos Lichtman grew up in Newton Massachusetts. He studied neuroscience at Brown University, after which he worked for an NGO in Peru on issues including disability services. He is a current 4th year medical student at UMass Medical School. Between his 3rd and 4th years he completed a Masters in Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health during which he began working on the research project that he will be continuing with support from the Kean Fellowship. He also completed the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard certificate program on Humanitarian Studies, Ethics, and Human Rights. He enjoys playing soccer, cello, traveling, and cooking spicy food.
Project: "Validation of Clinical Dehydration Scales in Children Presenting with Fever in the Outpatient setting in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania"
September 1, 2015 - December 1, 2015
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
I was incredibly excited to receive the Kean Fellowship. I had plans to return to Tanzania to continue my research on clinical markers of dehydration in children, but the cost during 4th year of medical school was going to be a major barrier. The study is being conducted with a wonderful group from the Swiss TPH and the Ifakara Health Institute and it is a great experience in collaborative and complex research. It is a sub-study of a larger randomized control trial which means that I both am working on a study of manageable complexity while also being exposed to a large and involved study that allows me to recruit a large number of participants.
What do you anticipate learning?
This project will be a great opportunity for me to learn how to run a clinical study from protocol writing to managing data collection to analysis. I also will learn about the challenges of working on a study in a country other than the U.S. It will be of enormous help as I advance in my career and look to design research studies.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
I find tropical medicine fascinating because as a category it is incredibly diverse and covers such a large proportion of the global burden of disease. Epidemiology becomes crucially improtant. There is also the need for innovative solutions to diseases that may already have a well-described treatment. For example, as regards to the study I'm doing, there is well-researched algorithm for managing childhood fever and dehydration in the U.S. setting. In Tanzania, however, the range of illnesses are greater, more severe illness will still present at the primary care level, there is less training and fewer resources at the primary care level, and the need to intelligently triage patients is more crucial. There is also less active research, so there is a greater opportunity to make a real impact and change practice by producing evidence that can be applied in this context.