John Diehl is a fourth year medical student at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. After receiving his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Georgia in 2008, he spent two years serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Federated States of Micronesia working in middle school education and community health. Following his Peace Corps service, John completed his premedical requirements at Johns Hopkins University in their post-baccalaureate premedical program. He then worked as a HealthCorps Navigator with the Anderson Valley Schools and Health Clinic in rural northern California, where his primary role was to implement the school’s new federal health grant by tracking how students were growing, eating and moving. Before his fourth year of medical school, he spent a year in Uganda as a Doris Duke Global Health Clinical Research Fellow conducting research in childhood nutrition, HIV and infectious disease. He hopes to continue building healthy communities in the future through direct patient care, public health interventions and global health research.
Project: "Optimizing Iron Status While Minimizing Morbidity in HIV-Infected Ugandan Children"
September 22, 2017 - October 23, 2017
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
To me the Kean Fellowship is an opportunity to pursue tropical medicine in a way that would otherwise not be possible. It provides important support for students to pursue their own experiences. This model of the student leading the experience is crucial in developing.
What do you anticipate learning?
For my experience, I anticipate learning the inner workings of a randomized clinical trial in East Africa. I plan to help train study staff, write study protocols, and oversee patient enrollment and data collection. After the Fellowship ends I anticipate gaining experience in data analysis and manuscript writing.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
My interest in tropical medicine began with the health issues affecting the community in which I lived as a Peace Corps volunteer in Micronesia. Initially, these were issues around water sanitation, vitamin deficiencies and non-malarial febrile illnesses. By the end of my service, however, I had seen cases of filariasis, leprosy and many encounters with dangerous marine life. My interests have since expanded with recent work in East Africa to include HIV, cryptococcal meningitis, malaria, heavy metal exposures and vitamin D status. The problems I am currently interested in solving are how to predict the clinical course of patients with cryptococcal meningitis, whether vitamin D supplementation could decrease the risk of cerebral malaria in children, and the best course of iron therapy for children with anemia and HIV.