Day 1 – NIH training

Today we had our first day of the Fogarty scholars training at the NIH campus in Bethesda. The Bethesda campus is amazing in terms of the amount of research conducted or led here, the buildings and facilities, and the creative energy that inhabits the place. I was able to reconnect with new friends made during the interview process back in March, and it was exciting to see them.

When I arrived last night, I met my roommate Ali who is my Ugandan counterpart scholar when we’re both in Kampala. We had invigorating talks about American policy, HIV in Uganda, international politics, and leadership in African nations. While on a run through Bethesda and Chevy Chase we talked about religion together. He’ll be my roommate for the 2 week duration of this training session.

The speakers for today gave excellent presentations. We had two introductions on “Why Global Health” given by program leaders from the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health and the Fogarty International Center (the NIH’s international health research branch). Our lunch time speaker gave my favorite presentation of the day. Dr. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is the second largest branch of the NIH behind the National Cancer Institute. He told us his personal story, his pushing for research into HIV at the very beginning, and his involvement as co-creator of PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). From my perspective, he did an excellent job of balancing research needs with ethics, justice, and economic concerns. He was asked some tough questions from fellow scholars and fellows, including one about access to pharmaceuticals and he answered in a way that was consistent with many of our conceptions of justice in the distribution of medications in low and low-middle income countries. I felt very proud as an American that this gentleman was leading the NIAID given the views he expressed and his research priorities, especially in light of volatile political and “pundit” times.

We had a powerhouse 3 hour session with these two hilarious and engaging epidemiologist-physicians from the Uniform Services University. The language of epidemiology is difficult, and I know it’s just a foretaste of the feast to come for the upcoming year as I increase my vocabulary in it. We ended the day with a light appetizer dinner in one of the oldest structures on the NIH campus, a gorgeous home called the Stone Building.

More to come tomorrow!

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One Response to “Day 1 – NIH training”

  1. Amanda Says:

    Found your blog! So glad you will be keeping one … it’s about time! 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you this weekend for Greta’s bday, I hope!

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