Courtney Pedersen

Courtney Pedersen is a medical student at Stanford University. Prior to medical school, she attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience. After graduation, she spent over three years in Senegal as a Peace Corps volunteer. Her work focused on increasing access to family planning for women in rural communities. Upon completing her Peace Corps service, she matriculated at the Yale School of Public Health with a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education. During her graduate work, she was awarded a Down’s Fellowship to study the burden of infectious disease among the incarcerated female population in Malaysia and substance abuse disorders among transgender sex workers in Kuala Lumpur.

Project: "Assessing the prevalence and impact of atopic dermatitis among young children and their families in rural Bangladesh"     
June 18, 2017 - August 20, 2017


What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
The generous Kean Fellowship gives me the ability to work with and learn from some of the leading global child health experts in the world. Having these mentors early in my career will provide me with the guidance necessary to have the greatest impact possible. More proximally, the Fellowship will allow me to remain in the field for the entirety of the data collection process, which is no small feat considering our research team aims to survey over 68,000 households. I am extremely grateful for the support of the Kean Fellowship and greatly looking forward to being exposed to the larger tropical medicine community at the ASTMH meeting in the fall.

What do you anticipate learning?
I anticipate learning how to effectively perform a population-level research study in a country with little healthcare or research infrastructure. These research skills are invaluable as they can be applied broadly in medical and non-medical contexts and serve as an important step in identifying gaps in healthcare delivery to vulnerable populations.

What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
Tropical medicine is so intimately tied to social justice. Even some of the most basic treatments and well-established prevention methods still fail to reach much of the world’s poorest populations. My career goal is to challenge the status quo that locks people into a cycle of ill health and poverty by producing sound research illustrating the ways in which we can build systems that effectively deliver high-quality healthcare to everyone, regardless of where they live in the world.