Rebeca Vergara Greeno

Rebeca is a third-year medical student at Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut. Her research focus is in neglected tropical diseases in Guatemala and health disparities among immigrant populations in the United States. She is also one of the student executive directors for Yale Med’s student-run clinic, HAVEN, which primarily serves uninsured and uninsurable patient populations. 

Genetic Markers of Benzimidazole Resistance among Soil Transmitted Helminths in Retalhuleu, Guatemala
DAR (Distrito de Alto Rendimiento)

What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
As a proud second-generation immigrant from Guatemala, I envision a career practicing medicine and conducting health disparities research in my family’s home country, with the goal of improving rural healthcare provision. This fellowship will help me build the groundwork for a future career working with rural and indigenous communities in Guatemala.

What do you anticipate learning?
Through this fellowship, I hope to better understand the intricacies of interpersonal relationship-building in rural communities and the principles behind being a responsible and culturally-sensitive physician-scientist. I also hope to broaden my skill set in analytical and laboratory research.

What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
What draws me most to the field of tropical medicine is the importance placed on serving communities furthest removed from healthcare access. Strong community partnerships and trusting relationships are requisites for pursuing research in this field, along with the appreciation that individuals within the community are the experts on what solutions work best for them. The close link between neglected tropical diseases and economic, political and socioeconomic determinants of health also demands multi-disciplinary approach to truly address the underlying causes of morbidity and mortality. I most clearly saw these values during a prior research project in Guatemala, working with incredibly knowledgeable mentors and local collaborators from the fields of medicine, epidemiology, laboratory science, education and anthropology. I was even more inspired by their dedication and readiness to make personal sacrifices for the betterment of their communities. Tropical medicine, for me, is a powerful means of bringing people together to advocate for health equity in the most underserved communities..