Robertha Barnes

Robertha is a medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Her interest in tropical medicine grew from an undergraduate internship in Cape Town, South Africa, where she worked with an HIV/TB nonprofit organization. She then came back and advocated for neglected diseases by volunteering with the END7 Campaign. Robertha is a longtime advocate of Universal Health Care and has served on the Students for Global Health E-board for two years. 

Seroprevalence of flaviviruses and risk factors for infection among long-term expatriatesin Thailand
Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences

What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
Being a Ben Kean Fellow allows me to pursue my long-term career goal of addressing tropical diseases in neglected populations. Since I first went to South Africa almost 8 years ago, I knew I wanted to keep traveling and meeting people that face hardships and diseases that we hear too little about in Western society. I am so honored to be a fellow of this organization so I can continue to learn and bring to light to these issues.

What do you anticipate learning?
I anticipate learning important skills for conducting clinical research and epidemiology as it relates to mosquito-borne infectious diseases. I'd also like to learn about Thailand and the logistics of conducting research overseas. 


What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
I am interested in tropical medicine because I believe healthcare is a human right. Too often people who are most at need of healthcare are not treated because they can't afford it and I'd like to change that. I am also interested in tropical medicine because it gives a unique experience to learn about other cultures and other health care issues that we don't talk about in American medical schools. I'd like to solve the problem with tropical disease drug development neglect by pharmaceutical companies. However, I do plan on being on the front lines myself by conducting translational research. I also want to continue speaking up and advocating for resources to treat tropical diseases.