Rebecca is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Virginia. Having grown up in a rural impoverished area, she has understood from a young age that the opportunities she has had are both a blessing and a responsibility to steward in the pursuit of caring for others. She grew up in a multicultural environment and enjoys learning about new cultures, languages and food. In college, she became interested in global health through a diabetes education project and undergraduate coursework that walked through different cultural frameworks of health and disease. The Kean Fellowship will help her grow as a physician and scientist as she looks toward a long-term career goal of working in a resource-limited setting. Specifically, it will allow her to partner with the International Center for Diarrheal Disease and Research in Bangladesh as they investigate the role of Azithromycin in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality. After medical school, Rebecca is pursuing a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Outside of medicine, she loves to paint, hike, cook and share good conversation with friends over a cup of tea..
Clinical/Research Elective in Obstetrics & Gynecology
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
The Kean Fellowship provides pivotal support as I continue to collaborate and learn with physicians who have contributed meaningfully to tropical medicine over the last 20 years. It provides an amazing opportunity for me to grow in my role as not only a lover of other cultures but as a physician and scientist who can be a part of caring for the unique needs of people in these regions. It means that people believe this work is worth doing and they believe that I can be a part of it.
What do you anticipate learning?
I anticipate learning everything from culture, medicine, research tools and communication to perseverance and humility. I look forward to learning how local cultural beliefs and practices impact health. I anticipate learning from physicians in the field how to care for some diseases in perhaps a different way than I have seen in medical school or learn how to treat some diseases that I have only seen in textbooks. I know that I will learn a wealth of wisdom as to how to run a clinical trial in a resource limited setting and with a multicultural team. Finally, this experience will teach me how to communicate effectively in a new environment and offer many opportunities for personal character development and growth.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
I am interested in tropical medicine largely because of the people I know whom I have seen suffer bravely in the face of few options and little understanding. I know there are many small advancements that can be made whether in the realm of education, research or clinical care that can truly make a huge difference for individuals and populations. I am interested specifically in maternal-newborn health and hope to work longterm in improving this in under-resourced settings. I am particularly interested in placental development and the obstetric outcomes associated with placental insufficiency. If I could contribute one thing in my medical career, it would be even a small advancement in our understanding of these common and morbid conditions.