Medical school is a huge challenge in itself, but Andrea Shaw decided to push herself even further by spending some of that time in Tanzania, Africa.
"I wanted to spend time working in clinical research in global health after completing the bulk of my medical school training, but before starting my residency program," she said via e-mail.
Shaw, a 2000 graduate of Fayetteville-Manlius High School and 2004 graduate of Cornell University, is currently a student at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University College of Medicine in Syracuse.
She arrived in Moshi, Tanzania, a "stunning place" at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, in January of this year and will return in November. During her time in Africa she has been researching the cause of fever and antibiotic resistance of certain organisms in collaboration with Duke University Medical Centre and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre. Shaw is also studying the effects of anti-tuberculosis and anti-retroviral medications on children in the area.
"This research provides reliable data for immediate healthcare management, important results for regional care and treatment algorithms, and significant development in medical infrastructure," she said.
Shaw said she was drawn to East Africa and wanted to assist in improving healthcare in the area.
"I wanted to work with a team that contributed to the education of healthcare workers in the region and worked closely to engage local professionals in the questions of research," she said.
According to Shaw, the experience has taught her a lot about clinical research and the challenges of implementing healthcare in poor and rural areas. She has also learned about some of the politics of healthcare and all if it has increased her desire to become a doctor.
"I have come to better understand some of the national and international players that shape policy and resource allocation in this setting. I have indeed deepened my own commitment to my profession of medicine and my role as advocate for those in need," Shaw said.