Class Of 2024
Internship: National Institute of Allergens and Infectious Diseases
Briefly describe what you did for your Applied Experience and any highlights.
Through my summer internship with the National Institute of Allergens and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), I worked on a project that aims to better understand life-threatening infections around the world. Specifically, I participated in applied research related to public policy on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the new various strands that have risen, with a focus on India. After assessing emerging strands, I researched all facilities in India aiming to implement new therapies to combat resistance. In the future, NIAID aims to use my work for investigators who plan on visiting AMR sites in India. Through my work, I have been able to see the impact of antimicrobial resistance, not only in India but on a global scale.
How has your experience informed your understanding of public health?
The public health issue of AMR is broad and impacts many countries in the world, even developed countries like the US. However, countries like India are greatly impacted because of loose regulations. Through my research, I was able to connect personal experiences that I have had during previous travels to India to what was being mentioned in the papers. When I had gotten sick in India, I recalled doctors prescribing over 4-5 medications just for fever. At the time and even before my work at NIAID, I had assumed this was just due to precautionary measures. However, this overprescription by medical practitioners has done more harm than good. This has peaked AMR resistance. This allowed me to see the issue of AMR in a new light and expanded my knowledge about why overprescription is a serious issue. The overprescription issue is heightened in rural communities because rural workers are not knowledgeable about the basic foundations of bacteria and resistance and for them, more medications give a sense of comfort. In the future, I hope to help with a policy that handles overprescription and teaches rural communities about how to improve their immune systems against bacterial diseases.
How does this experience align with your future goals?
My AE work has truly been an inspirational experience and not only connected with my past experiences but also directly aligns with my goals of providing aid to underserved individuals in rural communities in Andhra Pradesh, India. Through my time at Hopkins, I have been able to work with underserved populations of Baltimore through the Vaccine Volunteer Project. Through the project, I was able to learn more about healthcare inadequacy and how to provide vital treatment to those in need. I was able to use what I learned to structure a curriculum about the importance of vaccinations to underserved, rural communities in India. I was able to connect these experiences when structuring my project to align with healthcare in India. The experience has also allowed me to meet with individuals directly working in India and learn more about their journey to becoming influential health figures.
How do you think your time at JHU prepared you for this work?
Through my research at NIAID, I understood that there was a need to take necessary steps to stop the across-the-counter sale of antibiotics because this provides favorable conditions for resistant microorganisms to emerge and spread. I learned about policies that could be implemented. This utilized many of the skills of policy writing I had gained through the fundamentals of health policy class at JHU, where I was able to assess public health problems and determine effective policies. In the future, I aim to take classes at Hopkins, such as Medical Humanitarianism or International Health classes at Bloomberg, to give me foundational knowledge so I could hopefully become one of the influential health figures I have interacted with at NIAID in the future.