Prestigious award fuels grad’s global health passion

FICRS-FJenell Stewart, a 2011 dual degree graduate in osteopathic medicine and public health, worked for more than two years in the Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa, and, as a DMU student, was an intern last summer at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Now completing a rotation at St. John Macomb Oakland Hospital in Warren, MI, she recently earned a highly competitive award that will further fuel her passions for patient care, global health, research and policy.

Stewart was one of 20 graduate students from across the country to be selected as a Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar for 2011-2012. Starting this summer, she will spend a year in Lima, Peru, providing patient care and conducting research on women’s health, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

“This is such an incredible opportunity. I feel like I just won the global health lottery,” says Stewart. “It will be a mentored research experience with significant cultural exchange as well.”

The Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars Program, headquartered at Vanderbilt University, places students with topranked research centers, funded by the National Institutes of Health, in developing countries. Stewart will work with researchers, policymakers and local care providers at two universities and the Ministry of Health National STD and HIV Strategy Offices in Lima. While her award is for one year, the program endeavors to keep its scholars and mentors connected during their careers.

“I’ll pick up where past trainees have left off. We become part of this group of people who feel as passionate about global health as I do,” says Stewart, who’s already participated in online discussions with her mentor and other scholars. “It’s been so energizing and stimulating for me to meet the other students and researchers.”

Stewart applied to the Fogarty Scholars Program at the encouragement of Yogesh Shah, M.D., DMU’s associate dean of global health. Her DMU mentor – a Fogarty Scholars Program requirement – is Mary Mincer Hansen, Ph.D., R.N., director of DMU’s master of public health program.

“The faculty at DMU has been incredibly supportive of my career goals,” Stewart says. “Dr. Mary Mincer Hansen and Dr. Yogesh Shah have encouraged my dreams of working in global health and assisted me in finding opportunities, such as my WHO internship and this Fogarty Scholars grant, where I have already encountered more inspiring mentors.”

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