Azfar is a fourth-year student at Harvard Medical School who said he is excited about health equity and preventing infectious diseases. He was previously a communications fellow at Global Health Strategies in New York City, where he helped to organize media campaigns and advocacy events focused on neglected tropical diseases and polio eradication. Azfar said he is thankful to have the Kean Fellowship’s support as he spend 10 months in Mbarara, Uganda, supporting COVID-19 vaccination efforts and researching diarrheal disease. He grew up in South Carolina, enjoys leisurely jogs around Boston and loves a good afternoon coffee.
Research Support Around Diarrheal Disease and COVID-19 in Mbarara, Uganda
Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)/Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH)
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
Through the Kean Fellowship, I have the opportunity to learn from community members in Mbarara and from mentors like Dr. Louise Ivers and Dr. Stephen Asiimwe. Lessons from all of these individuals will help to inform my own values and career choices as I work to advance health equity. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made it clearer than ever why we should all care about the well-being of populations in countries different from our own. I’m thankful that the Kean Fellowship’s support will allow me to further incorporate this principle into my medical training.
What do you anticipate learning?
I aim to learn much more about COVID-19 and diarrheal disease, two conditions that have placed a huge burden on communities around the world. I also hope to improve my understanding of determinants of health and delivery of care in a non-US context; learn how to most effectively support local teams in a setting that is new to me; and gain experience with all steps of the research process.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?Practitioners of tropical medicine have an opportunity to draw attention to diseases and communities too often overlooked by global care systems. I’m particularly interested in exploring relationships between neglected diseases and social determinants of health such as housing and food insecurity.