The HIV Vaccine Trials Network, in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health is investing in the next generation of HIV prevention researchers by providing African American and Latinx medical students with opportunities for independent research along with structured mentoring, project and salary funding, training, and professional development activities.
Jeremy Fagan, PhD
Tulane University School of Medicine
Cohort 10 Scholar (2020-2021)
The Aurum Institute-Tembisa Clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa
Dr. Kathy Mngadi and Ms. Yajna Duki Project
“Assessing HIV risk and factors related to HIV seroconversion among low risk participants in North America and sub-Saharan Africa in the HVTN 100, 107, 108, 111 and 120 studies.”
Jeremy Fagan is a medical student at Tulane University School of Medicine. Prior to starting medical school, he earned a Masters of Science and PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He hasn’t decided on his future career plans yet, but wants it to be grounded in health equity and communitybased medicine.
Before attending medical school, I had finished a PhD in Developmental and Molecular Biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Toward the end of my graduate training, I started asking different questions of what I wanted my work to be. I was Jeremy Fagan, PhD firstname.lastname@example.org Tulane University School of Medicine Cohort 10 Scholar (2020-2021) lucky enough to be selected for an internship at the NY State Department of Health’s AIDS Institute where I was immersed in the world of HIV Care and Prevention. From there, the idea of merging my interests in research, public health and community was born, and pursuing a clinical degree just felt right.
Being Black in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) can be lonely. Yet the fast pace and expectations that are put on oneself during medical school intensifies all of that. The world continues to turn where we see racial injustice on the nightly news. Recently, I’ve been intentional about giving myself the space to feel whatever feelings I have as I continue on this journey. I want to be a Black Physician, I will be a Black Physician, because that is what my community needs.
I became a RAMP scholar in the spring of 2020, so our experience has been completely under the eyes of the COVID-19 pandemic. The HVTN and RAMP administration and staff have been amazing about accommodating everything so that we have a meaningful experience. For my RAMP project, I’m working with my fellow RAMP Scholar Aliah Fonteh on the potential risk factors among people who experience HIV seroconversion during HVTN Phase 1 trials in Sub-Saharan Africa and North America. We are currently analyzing the data and looking forward to presenting our research in the Spring of 2022. I’ve learned so much about the Phase 1 clinical trial processes, both here in the US and internationally. Clinical research has always been a professional interest of mine, so it has been quite rewarding to learn more about the work and infrastructure that goes into planning a trial.
Research And Mentorship Scholar, HVTN
The purpose of this article is to highlight the career objectives, research experience, and future endeavors of Aliah Fonteh, a 2020- 2021 HVTN RAMP Scholar. Aliah is a first-generation Cameroonian American who is a third-year medical student at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. She has a fervent passion for global maternal health, maternal prepartum and postpartum mental health, and reproductive infectious disease. In addition, her current interests include breastfeeding promotion, education, and research amongst minority women. She is zealous about pursuing a career in Obstetrics & Gynecology and is invested in serving the underserved in global communities to improve reproductive healthcare quality, access to services, and community engagement as a physician-leader, educator, advocate, and researcher. As a National Health Service Corps Scholarship recipient, she has committed to working in a federally qualified health center when she completes residency, which brings her much joy as she looks ahead to her future. In her free time, Aliah enjoys serving her community, challenging herself and others to be healthy and active, and sharing her love for African fashion with others.
Include perspectives/reflections about your decision to get into medical school.
Growing up, Aliah was passionate about pursuing a career in medicine because she knew that she wanted to go back to Cameroon, her parent’s home country, and serve as a medical provider and educator. She grew up hearing about the death of loved ones from preventable diseases and the struggles loved ones had in accessing quality care. Thus, she purposed in her heart that her mission would be to serve as a physician to fight for improved healthcare and reduction in disparities not just in the U.S., but also in Cameroon. Furthermore, when her mom was pregnant with her, her mom slipped into a coma for thirteen days with an unknown illness. When her mom awoke from the coma, she was determined to get to the United States in pursuit of quality care management for herself and for her developing child. Momma Fonteh was diagnosed and managed for placental malaria at Wake Forest Medical Center, and to this day, Aliah’s parents still call her their “miracle baby”. Aliah states, “I feel like I was born to pursue a field in medicine to fight for improved quality of care for underserved populations in the U.S. and abroad, specifically in Cameroon, West Africa.”
As Aliah grew older, she became determined to become an OB/GYN because of her mom’s battle with debilitating fibroid symptoms. As a sophomore student majoring in Biomedical Sciences, she also remembers the perils of Ms. Dee, a bus driver on her campus who would frequently take her home after a long day of studying in the library. They used to converse about Aliah’s dream of becoming an OB/GYN, and Ms. Dee would plead for her to become a physician who listens to her patients and who aims to offer a holistic approach to their well-being. Ms. Dee told Aliah that she struggled with abnormal menstrual bleeding and on occasion, blood clots the size of tennis balls. She expressed her frustration with going to her doctor and not feeling heard despite her pleas for a treatment for her fibroids that would be an alternative to surgery. Aliah aims to become an OB/GYN who becomes certified in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (MIGS), and is also invested in becoming an expert in non-invasive uterine fibroid managements. Her ultimate dream is to use her platform to also give back to Meharry students, to train future OB/GYNs, and to establish servicelearning trips to Cameroon, West Africa.
How are you thinking about the intersection of your various identities and the overlay of those identities with your academic and personal journeys?
On reflection of the various identities that overlay her academic and personal journey and that are associated with some of her core qualities, Aliah offered this statement: She rushes by clothed in beautiful African print fabric, hurrying to prepare the rest of a meal she is serving to her fellow Meharry colleagues. She is running behind schedule because she started the day studying, mentored a student interested in a future career in medicine, and made sure she had some time to workout before preparing a Cameroonian dish for her Meharry friends. “She”, is Aliah Lucyanne Fonteh, a productive medical student with a passion for African fashion, love for mentorship and service, and an enthusiasm for hosting and sharing her culture. When I reflect upon the phenomenal Cameroonian American woman that I am becoming, I see the following core qualities exemplified most strongly within me: compassion, generosity, creativity, enthusiasm, humility, and perseverance. These qualities make me who I am and are laced upon me like a garment, and have been documented to bring a “breath of fresh air” to those who have the opportunity of getting to know me. I am the product of hardworking immigrant parents who instilled in me a passion for serving others, never giving up on my dreams, and clinging to integrity even if I am the last one standing. My perspective on how I view myself is also based on the opportunities that I have been a part of in my journey on this earthfrom service, leadership, educational pursuits, and personal wellness. I believe each of these areas have provided me with an opportunity for growth and for a lifelong commitment to becoming a version of myself that brings glory to God and service to mankind.
When I reflect upon the intersection of the roles I currently embody, I can see more qualities of myself that are helping me to excel as a student, scholar, community servant, and selfcare ambassador. As a medical student and future physician, I describe myself as having an avid and curious nature. As a friend, daughter, and oldest sister, I describe myself as being comfortable putting the needs of others before my own, and learning how to care for people with different personality types. As a researcher, I find myself being meticulous about my work and project organization as well as flexible to accommodate changes in my projects. As a mentor, I am a stellar communicator, authentic, transparent, and intentional about using my time to empower those interested in pursuing a field in medicine. As a health coach, I use my platform to remain consistent in healthy eating, exercise, and healthy thought patterns. As a creative, I am constantly thinking about new ways to serve, lead, encourage, and educate. In conclusion, for anyone who meets me, you can see my unique light by observing my attentiveness to the needs of others, my patience, my desire to remain as inclusive as possible, and my assertiveness when it comes to advocating for others.
Provide a summary of your RAMP project and update on the status of your findings or dissemination activities. If still in progress – what do you hope to find? What have you enjoyed learning? What are you looking forward to?
Aliah is an HVTN RAMP Scholar in the 2020-2021 cohort who is working with her co-scholar, Jeremy Fagan of Tulane University School of Medicine, her mentors Dr. Kathryn Mngadi and Ms. Yajna Duki from The Aurum Institute-Tembisa, South Africa, and biostatisticians Dr. Zoe Moodie and Dr. Helen Lu from Fred Hutchinson in Seattle, WA on the project entitled “Assessing HIV risk and factors related to HIV seroconversion among low risk participants in North America and sub-Saharan Africa in the HVTN 100, 107, 108, 111 and 120 studies”. Important discussion has come from this project about the definition of low-risk in South Africa compared to the U.S., the prevalence of HIV in South Africa by age, and the overview of seroconversions in HVTN studies by site. Due to the pandemic, the original research project where Aliah would have worked in Johannesburg, South Africa closely with her mentors for eight weeks in summer 2020 became virtual. So, for the past year, through virtual Zoom meetings, Aliah has worked with her co-scholar to generate a presentation to discuss their findings at the HVTN Annual meeting in May 2022. They are still in progress toward completion of the project, but hope to outline the unique characteristics associated with the few participants that seroconverted on assessments during the studies listed above.
The HVTN RAMP experience has provided support for Aliah’s development as a scholar through insight on how to improve her research skills in data analysis, manuscript writing, and generation of scientific presentations. Aliah has enjoyed learning more about HIV/ AIDs through further education as an attendee at virtual lecture sessions, attendance at the virtual International AIDS (IAS) Conference 2020, and through networking with physicians who have found unique ways to incorporate global health into their careers. She has also enjoyed learning more about career opportunities, such as within the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and about additional training in Reproductive Infectious Disease as a post-OB/GYN residency fellowship training. It has been an incredible experience for her as she has picked up knowledge from her mentors about the unique challenges of recruiting participants for HIV/AIDS clinical trials and the sociocultural implications of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, being an HVTN RAMP Scholar has served as a precursor to her extracurricular experiences in global health, such as through the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) Global Health Fellowship and through the American Medical Student Association Global Health Scholars Program. She looks forward to taking her research skills and applying them in her role as an American Medical Women’s Association (AWMA) Anne C. Carter Global Health Fellowship Scholar with the upcoming cohort of scholars. In conclusion, Aliah believes that becoming an HVTN RAMP Scholar has helped her development as a budding researcher in reproductive infectious disease, has provided opportunities for career development and networking, and has provided knowledge on how to address recruitment challenges due to sociocultural influences.
Cohort 7 (2017-2018)
University of Rochester Medical
School (Graduated)/ Now in Residency
University of Rochester
“Characterization of Human HIV Vaccine-Induced Bone Marrow Plasma Cells”
My name is Czestochowa A. Francois. I am a senior resident in Emergency Medicine at the University of Rochester. My interests include, but are not by any means limited to, health policy, global health, health inequities amongst marginalized populations, diversity and inclusion, community health advocacy, and clinical research. In the future I am interested in working within the trifecta of excellence as shown to me by the HVTN, including the intersection between community engagement/advocacy, clinical/basic science research, and the medical field. I enjoy working in the Emergency Department because often times my patients are having the worst day of their lives and I am in a unique position of being the first provider they see, because I can make it better. The field of emergency medicine easily sees the best and worst of medicine in a given day, but the remarkable people I work with always remind me, in the words of our university’s emblem, to be Meliora (Better).
I decided to go to medical school because of a few reasons—access, communication, and the underserved. Most of my formative years have been spent working on sustainable means of working with and empowering underserved communities and groups. Amongst all the different sectors I dabbled in—politics, business , community engagement—medicine and the health sciences is one of the fields that not only encompasses all of the aforementioned specialties, but also serves as a field to directly help to effect change in people’s morbidity and mortality in a tangible and sustainable way. Being able to effectively communicate with people about their health in a jargonfree way is not only empowering but inspirational, like the patient who feared the COVID-19 vaccine before being taught otherwise, or the diabetic who improved their HGA1c. In many ways, medicine shares similarities to the hospitality industry: we acutely manage what we can to keep everything running, and more importantly, despite outcomes we attempt to provide as much comfort as possible along the way, and the patient’s happiness often reflects my own. For me, allowing my patients to take true agency over their health is both a freedom and a luxury. Too many aren’t allowed to think of their health in that way. Bridging that disparity is the reason why I chose to go to medical school.
There are a number of words I can use to identify myself: an Afro-Caribbean female, a beloved partner , sister and daughter, a community organizer advocate, a scientist, a caretaker, and only last would I identify as a physician. I put it this way, not because it is of least importance, but rather because for me, the role of physician is a culmination of my other parts; without acknowledging them, I believe I would be an incomplete physician. My personal journeys dictate how I interact with every patient I come across, the care I provide is care that I would give those who are closest to me, the empirical thinking I apply toward diagnoses is from my time as a researcher, and my need to understand the biopsychosocial factors of every patient is from my time as a community advocate. All of these things contribute to my identity as a whole. My project was a basic science project studying the characterization of human HIV vaccine- induced plasmablasts and plasma cells. The intent was to allow for a more detailed study and understanding of the B cell response to allow for discovery of strategies that will maximize the humoral response and eventually provide the most efficacious vaccines. Specifically, this project attempted to address the hypothesis that HIV vaccines induce the development of Env-specific CD138+ bone marrow plasma cells, an idea that was further elaborated upon in follow-up papers on the topic. Currently, as I am practicing and focusing on my clinical work, I have become more interested in community engagement and participation in the HIV vaccine trials, especially cross-over and information that can be applied to understanding how the community engages with COVID-19 vaccines.
Bianca S. Hill, MD, MPH
PGY2 Institute for Family Health-
Harlem Residency (Family Medicine)
RAMP Scholar Cohort # 8 (2018-2019)
Dr. Hyman Scott
New York City
Honestly, I did not really believe I would stand a chance of getting into medical school, until I successfully made it through Organic Chemistry in college. I was always at the top of my classes in high school, intrigued by the challenges of science. Yet, becoming a physician was a dream, not a reality, for me. Growing up in the New York City housing projects, I did not know of any physicians personally that came from this level of poverty and made it to become medical doctors. It was hard to aspire to the height of becoming a physician when no one you know has ever achieved it. Fortunately, I had a mother who believed in me, along with my undergraduate pre-med advisor who encouraged me to apply to medical school. It was my mother’s battle with renal disease that introduced me to medicine. It exposed me to elements of medicine that I liked and things I hoped to do differently as a physician myself. In 2011, I was accepted to Wright State School of Medicine, but tragedy struck in the loss of my mother. In dealing with this loss I walked away from my medical school acceptance, and decided to pursue my Masters in Public Health. Ultimately, I couldn’t ignore the calling for medicine, so I applied again, was accepted to Meharry Medical college in 2015, and graduated in 2019. My journey in medical school was full of many ups, downs, failures, and some triumphs, but knowing I beat the odds and made my mother proud in the process makes it all worth it.
As a member of the 2018-2019 RAMP scholar cohort, I was given a new experience of working with the transgender community in San Francisco at Bridge HIV. Under the guidance of my mentor, Dr. Hyman Scott, my project sought to explore how social media advertisement could be used to increase the number of transgender individuals in HIV research trials. Outside of my research project, I am most thankful for the genuine mentorship through the HVTN RAMP scholar program. As I embark on the research track in my residency program, I am so thankful that Dr. Scott not only offered to help me find a research project that matched my interests, but was willing to serve as my mentor on it.
What does the future hold for Dr. Hill? I want to be a HIV primary care provider and participate in conducting HIV research. Currently my clinic for residency is in the South Bronx, and it makes me happy to work in communities I’ve grown up in. I hope to continue to work in inner city communities and focus on preventing new cases of HIV among women (cis and trans) of color. A message to my young-self: thanks for not giving up!
Cohort 7 Scholar – 2017-2018
The Ohio State University
College of Medicine
Perinatal HIV Research Unit – Soweto Bara Mentors: Michele Andrasik, Janan Dietrich Project
TITLE: “A Qualitative Study Focusing on Community Engagement and Stigma Concerning Vaccine Participants in South Africa”
Jessica Muñoz is a proud Latina, born in Winfield, IL and raised in West Chicago, IL. Her passion for social justice advocacy and hope to improve communities of color led her to a career in medicine. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 2021 and is currently an emergency medicine resident physician in Loma Linda, CA. Jessica is the former president of the Latino Medical Student Association at Ohio State, she is a member of the Gold Humanism HonorSociety, and the recipient of The Ohio State College of Medicine Leadership award and the Outstanding Female in Medicine award.
As a RAMP scholar Jessica worked on “A Qualitative Study Focusing on Community Engagement and Stigma Concerning Vaccine Participants in South Africa” which has recently been submitted for publication. Jessica is specializing in emergency medicine and looks forward to serving communities of great need while applying her research skills to improving health outcomes for people of color. She looks forward to creating an intersection between medicine, advocacy, research and policy. Her hope is to run for office and create policies that improve our current health care system.
My name is Eshiemomoh Osilama, and I am member of the Class of 2024 at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, in Scranton, PA. I was born in Uromi, Nigeria and was raised just outside Boston, MA. I graduated from Columbia University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and writing poetry, baking and cooking, singing, theater, museums, beaches and oceans, travelling, and photography.
I believe, in many ways, who I am, at this particular stage in my life represents the face of HIV in this country and across the globe. I have firsthand understanding of the nuanced ways the lifestyles and cultures of queer people, people of color (POCs), and immigrants are hyper- (or hypo-) medicalized. Although I am not yet sure what type of medicine I want to go into, my participation with the HVTN RAMP program has exposed me to how the different components of medicine and research function together for the overall wellness of a patient or community. The underrepresentation of queer people and POCs in medicine functions as an added barrier to providing adequate care to those individuals. True health equity means equitable access to quality health care and resources, but it also means accessing the influence of how medicine is provided to you and people like you. This opens the door for patients to be fully acknowledged by medical systems. It diversifies the socioeconomic strata of medical providers, allowing underrepresented minorities to access the resources and distinctions of being someone who influences the culture and implementation of medicine. For all these reasons, I believe it is especially important that I, now in the early stages of shaping the trajectory of my career, proactively engage opportunities that have implications which serve those marginalized communities directly. In this way, my experience with RAMP has served as a foundation for me to integrate my personal identities with my role as a scientist and future physician.
My project, under the supervision of Dr. Magdalena Sobieszczyk and Dr. Jason Zucker, was titled “Get2PrEP3.0: An Initiative to Reduce Missed Opportunities for the Provision of HIV Prevention Services for Patients Testing Positive for STIs.” The primary goal of this project was to “determine whether an active intervention consisting of an email to a provider” would increase the likelihood that a clinician would provide adequate prevention resources to their patients who are at high risk for acquiring HIV, such as prescribing them PrEP. Additionally, we sought to evaluate the “providers’ acceptability [of] this type of intervention,” their “willingness to refer” their patients to HIV resources, and assess the barriers that would have kept them from providing those resources.
RAMP Cohort 11 (2021-2022)
Morehouse School of Medicine, HVTN Research and Mentorship Program Scholar
Originally from Ghana, Samuel Owusu is a current medical student at Morehouse School of Medicine. He graduated from the Cheyney University of Pennsylvania with a B.S in Biology in 2018, followed by a two-year post-baccalaureate research program at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH. Before graduating, Samuel participated in the Minority Health Research Training (MHRT) Program and other short-term biomedical research with hopes of bringing health equity through research and medical practice into his community. Samuel is a current HVTN RAMP scholar and is working on the clinical profile of COVID-19 in people living with HIV in Zambia. As a future physician, Samuel hopes to start a non-profit organization bringing health on wheels and over the web to provide healthcare and health education to underserved communities around the globe.
Cohort 11 (2021-2022) – Long-Term Project
India Perez-Urbano is a medical student at the University of California- San Francisco School of Medicine. She graduated from Harvard University in 2016 where she engaged policymakers and organized activism efforts to expanded access to HIV and HCV medications globally, even working with organizations such as Treatment Action Group and M.decins San Fronti.res. After graduation she returned to her hometown of Rockland County, NY, to launch a harm reduction organization through which she successfully advocated for the first syringe access services in the county. She is a passionate advocate for the rights and health of people who use drugs and leads efforts on her campus to expand support for students of color. India is excited to continue thinking of ways to reimagine health justice through the purview of medicine and community partnership, particularly through a career in Obstetrics and Gynecology. I came into a career in medicine seeking an opportunity to combine my interests in public health, advocacy and social justice. Through my sociological studies as an undergraduate, I avidly examined the many ways in which the healthcare system has failed individuals who are most in need, particularly those living within the oppressive realms of poverty, racism, HIV/AIDS, and drug use. Through my clinical experiences prior to medical school, I had witnessed the intimate and trusting relationships physicians shared with their patients and the lasting impact they could have on the health of an entire community when they validate their patients’ experiences, struggles and triumphs.
Medicine has allowed me to connect with individuals on a deep and meaningful level, and uplift their stories to create change. My background in harm reduction has taught me to lead with compassion, patience, and trust toward my patients. Working with people living with HIV and substance use disorders means engaging with very personal and challenging conversations; it also involves problem solving to help them navigate the many barriers that might jeopardize their health and safety. And it is at this intersection that I’ve had my most meaningful life experiences. I am tremendously excited to be on this journey, which I am so privileged to be pursuing. I am grateful for the many relationships, role models, and patients who have touched my life, both personally and professionally. As a daughter of Dominican and Trinidadian immigrant families, I’ve come to understand that my achievements belong not solely to me but to the Black diaspora. I plan to work tirelessly to decentralize healthcare, expand the margins of harm reduction, and innovate within this field while holding close its core principles. It is through my privilege and positionality that I will fight for a restructuring of society that centers humanity, personhood, and those most vulnerable.
As a RAMP Scholar, I am working with Dr. Annah Pitsi and Dr. Atom Dilraj of the Setshaba Research Centre in Soshanguve, South Africa. Together, we are leading a multiphase study to explore PrEP willingness and usage among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender persons in Gauteng, South Africa. We are using a mixed-methods approach to investigate this important research imperative that includes a crosssectional survey, sequential in-depth interviews, an educational workshop on PrEP, and HIV testing to evaluate HIV prevalence in this population. We are hoping that our findings will contribute influential insight into how to expand access to PrEP within this vulnerable community. We also hope to show this community that their perspectives are valued and that their lives matter to the medical and academic community.
Ruth St. Fort
Cohort 11 Scholar – 2021-2022
Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine
Seke South Clinical Research Site in Harare, Zimbabwe
Dr. Portia Hunidzarira
“Mobile health (mHealth) interventions for improving HIV prevention knowledge and clinical research literacy among youth communities in Zimbabwe.”
Ruth St. Fort is an MD/MPH candidate, getting her MPH from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and her MD from Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. She is of Haitian descent and was born and raised in Florida. She went to the University of Florida where she received her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Cell Sciences. She also received her Master of Science in Medical Sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine. She enjoys traveling, trying new food, and interior decorating. She is passionate about global health, health education, and health advocacy. She currently serves on the National Board of Directors for the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) as the National Membership Committee Co-Chair. She is also a 2021-2022 RAMP Scholar. After completing her Master of Public Health, she will finish her Doctor of Medicine to become a pediatrician. Her goal is to open health education centers.
I have known since I was a little girl that I wanted to become a doctor. I remember telling my Haitian parents every time I went to the pediatric clinic, “I want to be just like Dr. Go, a kids’ doctor!” At the time, I had no clue that the proper name for a “kids’ doctor” was a pediatrician. Fast forward to today, where I am an MD/ MPH Candidate, getting my MPH from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and my MD from Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. Throughout my medical school journey, there have been hardships. However, when I think back and ask myself, “Would I do it again?” The answer is always, “Yes!” Medicine is my calling. I have been affected by chronic diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and hypertension too many times. I want to do something about it. During the COVID-19 pandemic alone, I lost my dad and my uncle. They are my motivation every day. My passion for health education and serving under-resourced communities is what drove me to become a physician. This passion also encouraged me to apply to the HVTN RAMP Scholar Program. As a scholar of the RAMP program, I am currently working on a project in Harare, Zimbabwe with Dr. Portia Hunidzarira, Marvelous Sibanda, and Thelma Tauya. Our project is called, “Mobile health (mHealth) interventions for improving HIV prevention knowledge and clinical research literacy among youth communities in Zimbabwe.” The objectives of phase one of the research project, are to understand existing youth needs and expectations relating to receiving information about HIV prevention strategies and research trials, and to design core messaging for end-users in a collaborative and participatory manner. The Phase two objectives are to rapidly test and iterate solutions at multiple levels, and to co-design a community-informed communication plan. We are currently in phase one. We have conducted four different workshops with the youth of the Harare community. During the workshops, we provided information about HIV prevention and asked the youth about their understanding of HIV and its prevention. We also asked the youth to co-design an mHealth application focused on HIV education, and we asked for their feedback on the overall experience during the workshop. Currently, we are analyzing the data collected from all four workshops. We are moving toward creating the mHealth application and into phase two. Working on this project has been exciting, and I am looking forward to incorporating these research skills into my future career.
Upon the completion of my degrees and residency, I plan to work in under-resourced communities and help build the bridges between health education, preventive health, and access to healthcare. As a future Haitian-American woman physician, I want to play an integral part in contributing to the decrease in health disparities and increase in health literacy. My goal is to open joint health education centers and clinics in the United States and Haiti. I want to reach communities that are experiencing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and HIV, and provide them with treatment along with knowledge of how to maintain a healthier lifestyle.