Making an impact through clinical care, teaching, research, advocacy and leadership
Published on in Global Health Update
Published on in Global Health Update
Established in 2008 by a generous gift from David N. Pincus, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) David N. Pincus Global Health Fellowship program provides opportunities for Global Health fellows to enhance their clinical, educational, research, advocacy and leadership skills in pediatric global health. Fellows join a rich, intense and exciting two-year academic fellowship at CHOP and work in one of two partner countries: the Dominican Republic (DR) or Botswana.
Beginning in July 2019, the fellowship will become a three-year program, enabling fellows to complete a Masters in Science (MSc) degree at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (e.g. in public health, epidemiology, global health policy, or infectious diseases).
The aim of the fellowship is to train leaders in global child health who will positively impact child health both during their fellowship in their host country and, in time, more broadly across the world.
Chloe Turner, MD, a David N. Pincus Global Health Fellow in the Dominican Republic from 2013-2015, provides an excellent example of the impact the program can have, both for the fellows themselves as well as for the communities in which they work.
Dr. Turner grew up living around the world. Her parents met in the Peace Corps and then taught at international schools for over 20 years; and that experience was one that shaped Dr. Turner’s life. When she was 9 years old, Dr. Turner’s family moved to Pakistan and then later to Côte d'Ivoire where she completed her high school education. This fostered in her a desire to work globally. “Even though I identified as American, I appreciated being a citizen of the world,” she remembers. “This gave me the motivation and sense of responsibility to give back.” She saw the different challenges in the world and hoped she could play a role in addressing some of them.
Dr. Turner completed her residency training in the Social Pediatrics Residency Program at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York City. The program, which is designed to train pediatricians who have a special interest in advocacy, social justice, community and public health, gave her the opportunity to complete rotations in Ecuador and Malawi. Those monthlong rotations were impactful and formative, but not enough to equip her with all necessary skills she felt she needed to be a well-trained global health pediatrician. As a result, she looked into various pediatric global health fellowships and ultimately chose CHOP’s David N. Pincus Global Health Fellowship in the DR.
This fully funded fellowship allows early career pediatricians or pediatric subspecialists to spend two complete years living and working in a global health setting. It is a unique, mentored opportunity to learn a variety of global health skills firsthand. Making the decision to choose the CHOP Fellowship was easy for Dr. Turner:
“The program offered an opportunity to be in-country for the entire duration of the fellowship, making it a fully immersive experience which gave me an unparalleled opportunity to understand the Dominican health system and appreciate many aspects of Dominican culture. It also provided an opportunity for me to improve my Spanish, and the fact that it placed more emphasis on primary care than on inpatient care aligned perfectly with my interests in primary care and community medicine.”
Working with the supportive and experienced CHOP Global Health faculty, fellows divide their time between clinical work, teaching, research, advocacy and leadership opportunities. Each fellow is required to develop and complete a global health research project throughout the two-year fellowship, while still performing clinical work and pursuing other avenues of leadership according to their clinical or academic interests.
During the fellowship, Dr. Turner divided her time between Clínica de Familia in La Romana and CHOP’s Niños Primeros en Salud (NPS) clinic in Consuelo. Her experiences at both sites exceeded her expectations. She was able to deepen her clinical, teaching and research skills with mentorship from CHOP and DR pediatricians. Dr. Turner now feels comfortable managing malnutrition and the many tropical diseases seen in the DR, as well as caring for HIV-infected and affected children and adolescents.
While Dr. Turner had been nervous about coming into the fellowship with limited research experience, the mentorship she received from CHOP and NPS’s first-class researchers set her on a path to develop a robust qualitative research project. She held focus groups with community members and community leaders in Consuelo to understand how they perceived environmental hazards affected their children’s health.
The focus groups identified trash accumulation and trash burning in addition to poor sanitation as significant challenges. Indeed, access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation including trash disposal and removal are important for child health, yet are still challenges in places like Consuelo. Dr. Turner compiled the themes that came up in the focus groups, analyzed them and then shared her findings with the Consuelo community and with staff of the NPS program. Dr. Turner also presented her research at a Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting, and she has submitted her findings for publication. Dr. Turner hopes that the community engagement in her research has further empowered the community and will inform future community-based environmental health interventions that in turn will improve child health.
For Dr. Turner, her Global Health fellowship experience was an ideal balance between provision of direct patient care (including clinic and home visits), research development and implementation, teaching pediatric residents from the DR and CHOP who rotate through the clinic sites, advocacy for her patients and leadership development in a global setting. According to Dr. Turner, “There are ample opportunities for development of leadership skills, and fellows have the ability to develop according to their interests.” Dr. Turner honed her leadership skills by facilitating pediatric care team meetings at Clínica de Familia and supporting the NPS pediatric nurse in maximizing the work of 10 community health workers.
Former CHOP David N. Pincus Fellows are now based throughout the US and around the world and are active in a variety of global health-related work. All report that the fellowship significantly affected their career paths and enhanced their clinical, education, research, advocacy and leadership skills. For example, upon completing her fellowship, Dr. Turner joined Unity Health Care, a large federally qualified community health center in Washington, DC, where she uses her Spanish language and cultural competency skills daily while serving a growing Latino community. She has incorporated the transformative experiences of effective community engagement from her work in the DR into her current role. At Unity Health, she co-facilitates a weekly wellness program engaging low-income families facing obesity. Through partnerships with local organizations, the program focuses on teaching about healthy eating on a budget, promoting physical activity, and connecting families to community resources. Activities include cooking wholesome, affordable meals in the clinic’s kitchen, Zumba and yoga classes, and regular visits to a local community garden and outings to local parks, with the goal of addressing social determinants of health and fostering community.
CHOP’s Global Health Center team works in more than 15 countries around the world. In addition to saving lives through direct clinical care, we are also dedicated to conducting locally relevant research and training the next generation of global health providers like Dr. Turner, who in turn learn from and teach their colleagues abroad.
If you are an early career pediatrician or pediatric subspecialist seeking the skills to become a leader in pediatric global health, this is the fellowship for you. It is an immersive, expertly mentored and fully funded three-year experience in global health practice. You can apply to become a David N. Pincus CHOP Global Health Fellow by emailing Tanya Tyler firstname.lastname@example.org to request a global health fellowship application.
Since 2009, CHOP’s David N. Pincus Global Health Fellowship Program in the DR and Botswana has trained eight Pincus Global Health pediatricians, plus two current fellows. Dr. Turner’s story is just one example of the impact of this unique fellowship; each fellow has an inspiring career story.
Learn more about other CHOP Pincus Global Health Fellows including Lara Antkowiak, Maria Dunn, Matt Kelly, Henry Welch, and Kate Westmoreland. To help us provide more global health training opportunities for the next generation of pediatricians, kindly make a gift to CHOP’s Global Health Center today.