Kimberly Burke

Kim is a second-year student at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her interest in global health began as an intern at a Hope House Counselling Centre and Adonis Musati Project, a refugee resource center in Cape Town, South Africa. This experience led her to wonder about the infrastructure of healthcare and how it leads to equitable or inequitable health outcomes. After graduating from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience, she worked as a patient care technician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and volunteered at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. She also worked at Brigham and Women’s Health as a research assistant for the Home Hospital Program, where she helped implement an efficacious and cost-effective alternative to hospitalization. After various discussions with peers and mentors, she realized her interest in policy and social issues could inform an exciting career in tropical medicine. As a member of the Global Health Pathway at UMass Medical, she continues to foster her passion for quality care for people across sociodemographic lines and borders.

Microbiological Profiling of Neonatal Sepsis in Liberia
JFK Medical Center

What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
The Kean Fellowship represents an amazing opportunity to not only conduct research in tropical medicine, but also to share my results with my peers and the tropical medicine community. I am so honored to be part of such a consistently impressive cohort of students, and I look forward to learning about everyone’s projects and discussing shared interests.

What do you anticipate learning?
I am especially excited for the opportunity to conduct research in Liberia. The healthcare infrastructure is very new, and the country is facing the challenge of building a system that works for them. It will be a humbling experience to learn about the work that Liberian doctors and experts have done to make healthcare more accessible to all Liberians. In addition, I hope to strengthen my own research skills so I can one day contribute to efforts such as this.

What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
I am interested in tropical medicine because this field involves battling diseases that persist largely in low-resource settings. As a result, the barrier to achieving positive outcomes for patients is often tied to the socioeconomic ecosystem in which the healthcare system lives. This presents opportunities to not only cure illness, but also to prevent future illness and ensure healthcare access for every individual. As a tropical medicine doctor, I hope to not only solve issues of morbidity and mortality, but more systemic healthcare issues related to equitable care.