The Frist Global Health Leaders (FGHL) program affords young health professional students, residents, and fellows the opportunity to serve and train abroad in underserved communities for up to one semester. In doing so, they will bolster capacity in clinics in need of support as well as offer training to community health workers to promote sustainability upon their departure from these communities. As part of the program, they blog about their experiences. For more information, visit our program page.

Amelia Maiga is a general surgery resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She grew up near Buffalo, NY and received her BA in History and Biology from Dartmouth College in 2004. She then joined the Peace Corps and served for 2 years as a health education volunteer in a small Dogon village in Mali, West Africa. She returned to the U.S. to pursue medicine, receiving her MD degree at Duke University and an MPH at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She returned to Mali during medical school for a year to run a small malaria clinical trial as an NIH Fogarty Clinical Research Scholar. She came to Vanderbilt in 2012 for her general surgery residency. She is currently in her fourth year of general surgery residency after completing three years of clinical and implementation research as a Quality Scholar at the Veterans Affairs hospital. In her free time, she enjoys aerial dance, rock climbing, traveling, and spending time with her family.

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Elizabeth Nelson is currently in her third of five years of general surgery training at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Born in Montana and raised in South Dakota, she earned her Bachelor of Arts at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. After several years working in a translational research laboratory at the University of Minnesota, she went on to receive her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. She is tentatively planning to pursue fellowship training in trauma and acute care surgery or vascular surgery. She is more broadly interested in the economic and political barriers that affect access to surgical care both domestically and internationally. She looks forward to learning as much as she can from her Kenyan hosts and appreciates the opportunity to be a guest at A.I.C Kijabe Hospital.

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Gabriele Grossl was born in Brazil, and moved to the United States when she was 4 years old. She spent her childhood in Florida, and briefly left the state for college at Duke. She returned to the sunshine state for medical school in Miami. She is currently at Vanderbilt, and loves it for the culture of this musical city and the amazing program she is lucky to be a part of. She is a big fan of reading fiction, painting, and playing board games with her co-residents. She has loved traveling and global health since college, having spent time in Peru and Greece during her studies. She has never been to Africa and is very excited to learn about the culture and people of Kenya.

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Rachel Koch grew up and completed medical school in Baltimore, Maryland. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and remained in Chicago after graduation to work at an inner city health center. During residency, she completed a 2 year global surgery research fellowship through the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change at Harvard working primarily in Rwanda. She serves on the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons advisory council and is excited to spend time working with and learning from the PAACS residents and faculty in Kijabe

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Japjit Verraich was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She went on to obtain her undergraduate degree in biology at the University of San Francisco, and then returned home to complete her medical degree at the University of Washington. She is currently a third year general surgery resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Japjit is truly looking forward to learning about how different a medical center operates, and hopes to engage in surgical education improvement at both institutions.

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Vida Laudarji is a 4th year medical student at Meharry Medical College. She will be starting her pediatric residency training at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Vida grew up in Nigeria, where she first learned the importance of providing care to the undeserved. Her service began as a volunteer with a polio campaign in Nigeria during her high school years. Since moving to the United States, she has had opportunities to go on several medical mission trips to countries including Ecuador and Colombia. During medical school, she pursued a certificate program in Health Policy through the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation at Meharry. Through this experience, she has developed additional interests in understanding health systems in underserved and resource-poor communities locally and internationally and in empowering stakeholders through education and the creation of holistic policies. Her passion is for all children to live in a healthy, thriving and engaging community regardless of their socioeconomic status. Through the sponsorship of Hope Through Healing Hands, Vida had the opportunity to spend three weeks at University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, where she learned from and invested in the pediatric community.

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Laura Ha grew up in California and went to medical school in Boston. She made her way south to Nashville 2 years ago for residency in the hopes of finding warmer weather, and she has found a great group of friends and coworkers here as well! She loves road trips, board games, and visiting new places. Her love of travel probably started with her childhood visits to extended family in Malaysia.  However, she has had an interest in global health since college, when she spent 2 summers in Tanzania; since then she has also spent a summer in Nicaragua and a month in Ecuador, and is looking forward to returning to East Africa.

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Kayla Kumm 

I am from a very small, rural town in the middle of the United States and grew up on my parents farm until I moved to attend college. I  eventually made my way to Texas in order to attend Baylor College of Medicine and from there matched at Vanderbilt for a residency in General SurgeryI am very excited for the chance to learn from the staff and residents at AIC Kijabe Hospital. I believe this will be an unmatched learning opportunity and will help me to care for my future patients with a better understanding of various cultures and backgrounds. 

 

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June Wang is an OB/GYN resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She grew up in Seattle, WA, and received her AB in neuroscience from Dartmouth College. As a student at Washington University School of Medicine, she spent a summer in Changsha, China, running an art and play program for pediatric inpatients, and she has been interested in global health ever since! In her free time, she enjoys exploring new cities, hiking and biking in local parks, and trying out noodle recipes she finds online. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with and learn from the healthcare team in Kijabe, Kenya, next spring!

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