Claudia Leung, a third-year medical student, was recently awarded the Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellowship to pursue a clinical research project in Kenya during the 2015 academic year.
Each year, the prestigious scholarship is awarded to 18 U.S. medical students to pursue a year of clinical research in developing countries.
Leung will work with Gerald Bloomfield, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine and global health at Duke University Medical Center, on a project in Kenya to determine the causes of heart failure among residents of East Africa.
Leung became interested in global health during her undergraduate studies when she spent one summer in Beijing and another in a rural village in western China working on health education and community development.
“These experiences solidified my decision to go to medical school,” Leung said. “For me, the goal trajectory has been to work in global health; medical school seemed like the best path to do this.”
In addition to her global health work as an undergraduate, she also took part in a research project during the summer of 2013 with Claudia Hawkins, MD, assistant professor in Medicine – Infectious Diseases. The project involved studying the delivery of co-morbid chronic disease care in patients with HIV in Tanzania.
“I am very fascinated by the idea that culture is something that impacts health. It’s not just about how often you go to the doctor, or what medications you take, but also but also how culture impacts your health beliefs and ultimately your health outcomes,” Leung said. “The Doris Duke Fellowship will allow me to continue on this trajectory of examining these important global health questions.”