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New Experiences in Narrative

The Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars & Fellows Support Center is excited to host New Experiences in Narrative, an  essay series authored by alumni of the Fogarty Scholars, Fellows, and Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship programs. We will be releasing one essay a week through March and April. This remarkable project was conceived, curated, and edited by alumni Benjamin Bearnot and Alexandria Coria.

Truths Found in Lost Time. Brian Barnett, Fulbright-Fogarty Fellow in Public Health

Facing many structural and economic realities, Brian Barnett learned to appreciate the culture of waiting and the extreme patience required to do clinical research during his Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship year in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Stars in Eyes: A treatise on not saving the world. Alexandra Coria, Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar

Fogarty International Center Research Scholar Alexandra Coria reflects on the attitudes she has encountered from those outside the field of global health with regard to international aid and development work.  She addresses the need of global health researchers to carefully consider and constantly reevaluate the ultimate impacts, positive and negative, of their work.

The Wild Card. Ayaba Worjoloh, Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellow

Ayaba Worjoloh, an American obstetrician/gynecologist and Fogarty International Center Research Fellow, addresses her struggle to confront the “wild card” – the unpredictability of pregnancy outcomes in a place that cannot employ the same sophisticated monitoring and prediction techniques with which she was trained in the US. She traces her development as a physician and a person as she has learned to come to terms with this unpredictability. A graduate of the Duke Global Health Fellowship Pathway, Dr. Worjoloh continues to care for disadvantaged populations at the Navajo Area Indian Health Service in New Mexico.

Partners in Change. Benjamin Bearnot, 2011-2012 Fulbright-Fogarty Fellow in Public Health

Through Benjamin’s Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship experience, he was able to foster the link between HIV prevention science and social change on a university campus in Durban, South Africa.

To those who are always leaving, and for those who never left. Devan Jaganath, 2011-2012 Fogarty International Center Research Scholar

The death of a former scholar while living at his Fogarty research site in Kampala, Uganda, shocked and saddened the Fogarty community. In this essay, 2011-2012 Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar, Devan Jaganath, describes how Sujal’s legacy has influenced his work during his own fellowship year in Kampala.

Developing Sustainability. Lilian Seu, Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellow

Going in Blind. Eva Clark, Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar
While working in a low or middle-income country like Bolivia, Fogarty Scholar Eva Clark found it difficult to watch the health system suffer from a demotivated healthcare staff and aging equipment. Despite this, she was inspired to see how physicians in these countries are able to care for patients using basic skills and techniques that many of us in more resource rich settings have lost.

Walking Lusaka. Matthew Gartland, Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar

In this essay, Fogarty International Scholar, Matthew Gartland, describes his daily observations of Lusaka street life, and reflects on market systems rationally guided by consumer need. He contrasts this to systems that are based more on convenience than demand and draws comparisons from these models—both of which he has witnessed during his fellowship—to the ways public health research is conducted.

At Home in Bangladesh. Russell Johnson, Fogarty International Center Research Scholar

Fogarty International Center Research Scholar, Russell Johnson, was deeply affected by his fellowship year conducting cholera research in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In this essay, Russell discusses some of the challenges of living in one of the world’s most densely populated cities and how these experiences have shaped his desire to pursue global health research in the future.

Gender, Power, and Equality in Global Health. Emily Mendenhall, Fogarty International Center Research Scholar

In her essay, Fogarty International Center Research Scholar Emily Mendenhall explores the difficulties of cultural relativism and specifically gender discrimination from the perspective of a highly-educated woman working in rural India. She examines how discrimination of all kinds can be experienced and approached by Western researchers, and introduces the idea of “people with chisels,” chipping away at the barriers imposed by culturally ingrained biases regarding gender and class.


Editors’ Statement:
Thank you for taking time to read this collection of essays. 

We are grateful for the global health training provided to us by the Fogarty International Center, and are honored that Fogarty and the FICRS-F Support Center at Vanderbilt have offered to share our stories of transformation, discovery, and tragedy with a community of individuals with whom they will resonate most strongly.

In reading these essays, one can see how profoundly our international clinical research fellowships have shaped our early clinical and scientific training. We hope that this project will encourage doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows to prioritize such challenging and rewarding experiences in their own training.

With regards,
Benjamin Bearnot
MD Candidate, NYU School of Medicine
Fulbright-Fogarty Fellow, South Africa

Alexandra Coria
MD Candidate, Geisel School of Medicine
Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar, Tanzania