2019 Councilor Representing Students, Trainees, Residents or Post-Docs Candidate
Shemal Shah, DO
University of Minnesota, U.S.
As the field of global health grows, it will be paramount for ASTMH to be well represented by burgeoning members. As a resident in Internal Medicine in Global Medicine at the University of Minnesota, I have developed the competency and leadership skills to serve as your Councilor. Our society has a 115-year outstanding reputation in promoting tropical medicine and decreasing global health inequities, and with our ever expanding reach and membership, I will continue working towards that mission, if elected as your Councilor.
As part of the first cohort of trainee members on the Council, it will be important to define our role with respect to the society. I see the position acting as a bridge to help determine the needs of trainees and how the society can support them. I believe that trainees need better means to network with each other, and setting up a program to do so would be important. Facilitating collaboration not just among domestic, but international colleagues is key to the advancement of joint clinical and research endeavors. To that end, I will work to establish a web platform that provides members with means to connect with each other over shared ideas. In addition to improved communication, continued education is critical to trainee growth. Through our review courses, annual conference, and CTropMed® certification exam, ASTMH is the world leader in advancing knowledge in tropical medicine. So, involving members in the conversation on how to expand our digital education activities to better serve the needs of trainees at all levels along with increasing uptake of the CTropMed® exam are vital concerns of mine. Furthermore, trainees require better mentoring to guide research and establish career trajectories. It will be my priority that regular meetings of specialty groups occur where trainees and senior members can gather to discuss mentorship. And lastly, along with mentorship, trainees also require monetary support to continue carrying out innovative research and clinical activities. I will ensure that the financial support and commitment provided by ASTMH does not waiver and continues to encourage nascent trainees to pursue careers in global health.
Of course, as a Councilor, my job would be to serve all members of ASTMH. The intersection of clinical and basic science research with the advancement of global health is increasingly notable in the current geopolitical climate and I believe ASTMH plays a key role in the promotion of global health. Advocacy and mentorship not just abroad, but locally is important to foster continued engagement in issues that affect funding for research and formation of public policy. Over the last year, I have seen our society play a vocal role in advocating to Congress and in the media, work with other scientific societies to establish practice guidelines on tropical diseases, and urge our nation’s leadership to overturn policies based on medical misinformation. Our society’s tireless work is exciting, and if elected as your Councilor, I would be deeply honored to work towards advancing the strategic plan and mission of ASTMH.
Summary of Volunteer/Member Roles in ASTMH
- University of Minnesota, Department of Medicine, Chief Resident in Global Medicine (July 2018-June 2019)
- University of Minnesota Residency Leadership Academy, nominated member (August 2016 – July 2017)
- Debes, J.D.; Shah, Shemal M. Epidemiological data for hepatitis D in Africa, 2018, Jan; 6(1):e32.
- Shah, Shemal M.; Alpern, J.D.; Settgast, A; Stauffer, W. Medical misinformation targets vulnerable populations and threatens the nation’s health. Minnesota Medicine, 2017, Sept-Oct; 100(5):22-24.
- Shah, Shemal M et al; (2017), Hepatitis B Awareness Among Healthcare Workers in Tanzania. ASTMH Annual Meeting, Baltimore, USA.
- Shah, Shemal M.; (2015), The Kidney of the Brain, the Heart is to Blame. ACP Minnesota Scientific Session, Minneapolis, USA.
- Shah, Shemal M.; (2014), A Rare Case of Thrombocytopenia Due to Severe Iron Deficiency. ACP Michigan Associates Day, Detroit, USA.
I was born in India and spent my formative years growing up there until I moved to the United States as an immigrant to finish high school. It is with this multicultural and multilingual background with which I have approached my clinical work. I obtained my undergraduate and medical degree from Michigan State University where I had the pleasure of being introduced to global medicine by Dr. Terrie Taylor through a course on tropical medicine. After finishing medical school in 2015, I started my residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota with a focus on Global Medicine. Through this pathway, I was able to work with refugees and immigrants at the Health Partners Center for International Health under the mentorship of Dr. Patricia Walker and Dr. Ann Settgast. Learning medicine through this lens has been a humbling and motivating experience and has helped me better understand inequities in global health.
During residency, I sought means to enhance my leadership skills and so I was nominated by my program director to participate in the prestigious Resident Leadership Academy, a year-long course aimed for emerging resident-leaders to apply skills of leadership, just culture, and learn organizational change through adaptive and technical work. To further enhance my leadership skills, I began my chief residency in Global Medicine in June of 2018. This is a unique position where, for the first half of the year, I support residents in the Global Medicine pathway and help them determine their career trajectories in global health. For the second half of the year, I will spend six months in Arusha, Tanzania working with and learning from the local medical residents in their clinical work. After returning, I plan to practice internal medicine in a “global is local” setting and continue working with immigrants and refugees. I plan to sit for the CTropMed® examination this year and hope to utilize the knowledge and certification to care for immigrants and refugees. I see myself primarily as a clinician but I have had the opportunity to be involved in clinical research in Tanzania on Hepatitis B awareness which I had the pleasure of presenting at the ASTMH conference in 2017 and will continue performing during my time in Arusha.