Toni San Miguel

Toni is an MD candidate at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. As an undergraduate student, she often worked with community-based organizations, and these experiences motivated her to pursue a career in medicine. She has had student work experience with the NIAID and its Vaccine Research Clinic. She continued with this work after graduating with a BA in Behavioral Biology from Johns Hopkins University in 2018. In addition, she volunteered at CURE Foundation Inc. in Cebu, Philippines, before matriculating into medical school. Toni’s work with the underprivileged communities locally and abroad sparked her particular interest in global healthcare systems. Toni has a soft spot for adolescents and children and thus is excited that the Kean Fellowship will support her to work and interact with this young population in Nigeria. She will understudy public health and research projects implemented by the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) across multiple health facilities, specifically, assessments of sexual and reproductive services for adolescents and optimizing quality of care. 

Adolescent Reproductive Health in Nigeria (ADORN): Assessing Availability of Adolescent Targeted Services for Sexually Transmitted Infections and Contraception
Nigeria Institute of Human Virology 

What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
I am honored to receive the Kean Fellowship and appreciate ASTMH’s encouragement and support of medical students who desire to learn and experience medicine in a global community. To me, the intersections of tropical/clinical medicine and public/global health present an opportunity for me to make a positive impact on local and global communities. The Kean Fellowship opens a door for me to make this desired impact even while I am still in my medical school training years. 

What do you anticipate learning?
Sexual reproductive health is a sensitive and challenging issue to address, especially for youth. Adolescents are constantly experiencing rapid physiological, mental and physical changes that make them unique healthcare clients. Much like anywhere else, adolescents in resource-limited settings require comprehensive and accessible sexual and reproductive health services to meet their needs. Questions remain on what services are most needed, how to deliver them and how to change policy to reflect best practices and optimize quality of care. I will be working with mentor Dr. Nadia Sam-Agudu and a team of Nigerian public health and research personnel during my fellowship. I anticipate having robust learning in public health program implementation and a hands-on introduction to quantitative and qualitative research study design and data analysis. I expect this experience to facilitate opportunities for future collaborations with the IHVN team and other global health researchers and clinicians.

What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
I grew up in an immigrant neighborhood in the U.S. and serving underserved communities has consistently been my motivation for volunteering and pursuing medicine as a profession. My exposure to people and health systems in Honduras and The Philippines has cemented my desire to work in, specifically, the global health field. While diseases know no borders,  many preventable and treatable diseases have been left unprevented and untreated in some communities vs. others due to social determinants of health and health inequities. I would like my career to focus on addressing these gaps. I hope to translate lessons learned from my field exposure and training in my time with the Kean Fellowship and IHV Nigeria into a career focused on reducing health inequity, particularly for children, both in the U.S. and abroad.