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New Global Health Track Residents Bring Personal and Professional Experience

New residents listen to a presenter at a recent half-day conference

Twenty-nine residents joining the Indiana University School of Medicine Interdepartmental Global Health Residency Track this spring bring a multitude of personal and professional experiences to the program coordinated by the Indiana University Center for Global Health (IUCGH).

Jenny Baenziger, MD, associate director of education for the IUCGH and coordinator of the global health track, lauded the experience and passion that the newest residents will add to the program. “One of the unique aspects of our global health track at IU is that we bring together residents from various specialties so they can learn from each other, as well as from the curriculum presented,” she said. “Residents in this new cohort bring unique perspectives, not only from their specialty, but also from their varied communities in the U.S. and around the world. They are each incredibly accomplished individuals and I look forward to our robust discussions and exchange of ideas,” she added.

IU’s Interdepartmental Global Health Residency Track began in 2011 to help residents better understand the social, economic, cultural and environmental factors, collectively called the social determinants of health, that contribute to health and disease throughout the world. The voluntary program equips residents to address health disparities and encourages long-term commitment to global health issues domestically and internationally.

“The Global Health Residency Track was a major reason I chose Indiana University for my residency,” said Abena Bruce, MD, an OB-GYN resident. “My career goal is to become an obstetrician-gynecologist who works in underserved communities to empower women to make healthy decisions, both in the U.S. and abroad. I am grateful to be at an institution where I can become a well-trained OB-GYN, and also foster my interest in global health,” she added. Bruce previously completed a Fulbright Fellowship researching breast cancer education programs in Ghana and a community outreach effort to prevent HIV in South Africa. 

Selected residents participate in quarterly half-day conferences and receive mentorship by faculty members with extensive global health experience. They complete a scholarly project and either an international field elective or local-global health rotation. Many participants complete their field experience at the AMPATH partnership in Eldoret, Kenya. IU School of Medicine has established an expertise in global health and began the partnership in Kenya more than 30 years ago.

General surgery resident, Manisha B. Bhatia, MD, is completing a global surgery fellowship in Kenya and a Master of Public Health degree at the Fairbanks School of Public Health concurrently with the global health residency track. Bhatia first became interested in global health during a short-term medical brigade trip to Honduras a decade ago. She recognized that sustainable health care requires continuity of care. “The global health track will provide me with the opportunity to learn from my peers in different specialties and continue building my knowledge base in global health practices. The quarterly conferences will challenge my ability to converse and think about implementation of my projects. Specifically, the focus on ethics will challenge how I choose to pursue global surgery in the future,” she said. Bhatia hopes to practice as a pediatric surgeon both in the US and abroad.

Brent Bacus, MD, MPH, an emergency medicine resident, is interested in the potential of global health education to improve healthcare domestically as well. “I am specifically interested in learning about how global health concepts and strategies can be applied here in the United States, particularly in areas with fewer resources. While I was in medical school in Detroit, I was involved with various groups that focused on people in the city with fewer resources, and I think there are likely concepts from healthcare abroad that could be applied in these settings,” he said.

IU’s global health initiatives have a specific focus on reciprocal innovation, the bi-directional and iterative exchange of a technology, methodology, or process between at least two countries to address a common health challenge and provide mutual benefit to both sides. Lessons learned are continually shared throughout the process to suit the needs and infrastructure of each country.

The new residents in the track will join the classes ahead of them to make 82 residents and fellows participating in the global health track. More than 70 have completed the track, including sixteen last May. Participants in the track will share their scholarly projects during a virtual Global Health Scholars Day on April 15. Poster will be available on the IU Center for Global Health website for review and comment and live presentations will occur from 8-9 a.m.

Global Health Track residents inducted spring 2021:

  • Sherif Amin (family medicine)
  • Brent Bacus (emergency medicine)
  • Nicole Becher (general surgery)
  • Manisha Bhatia (general surgery)
  • Abena Bruce (OB-GYN)
  • Stacey Charles (family medicine)
  • Ahmed Chmaisse (pediatrics)
  • Nihanth Damera (internal medicine)
  • Meagan Dineen (family medicine)
  • May Elbanna (radiation oncology)
  • Cyrus Feizpour (general surgery)
  • Nadia Gidia (OB-GYN)
  • Sheela Gogula (pediatrics)
  • Meera Iyengar (medicine-pediatrics)
  • Aneesha Kamath (medicine-pediatrics)
  • Bennet Ladowski (family medicine)
  • Ross McCauley (internal medicine)
  • Sidrah Najam (psychiatry)
  • Juhi Ramchandani (medicine-pediatrics)
  • Trisha Reddy (pediatrics)
  • Audra Rougaff (pediatrics)
  • Manjinder Sekhon (family medicine)
  • Erica Swanson (internal medicine)
  • Sumeet Toor (neurology)
  • Shivani Vasudeva (OB-GYN)
  • Kyle Warren (medicine-pediatrics)
  • Courtney Welch (medicine-pediatrics)
  • Leah Westrick (family medicine)
  • Fatima Yadudu (OB-GYN)

Application for the track are accepted each year in January. For more information contact Dr. Baenziger.

 

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Author

Debbie Ungar

Communications Manager

As communications manager for the IU Center for Global Health and AMPATH, Debbie shares stories about the university's partnerships to improve health care in Kenya and around the world. Contact her at 317-278-0827 or debungar@iu.edu.