Min Joo Kwak
Master of Health Science candidate
Work in South Kores on organ donation and transplantation
Volunteered as health intern in rural clicnic in Peru
Clinical research study at Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT on organ donation and rejection
Global Disease Epidemiology and Control
What are your career goals?
I hope to be a public health professional and researcher, studying various approaches to improve the healthcare systems and responding to health issues at a population level in developing countries.
What sparked your interest in global health?
In the 1990s, as Vietnam struggled through the aftermath of a long war, one of the toughest challenges for foreign nationals was the lack of medical care, poor sanitation in ill-equipped hospitals and the difficulty of accessing the few available practitioners due to language and cultural barriers. As a South Korean expatriate growing up in this environment, I learned firsthand about the dire need for healthcare in underserved communities.
How do you see yourself making a difference in public health because of the Global Health Scholarship?
Rapid cultural exchange around the world is resulting in changes in lifestyle, nutrition, and diet of all communities, from small villages to large urban areas, therefore, both infectious and non-infectious diseases, such as diabetes, heart attacks and obesity, are also affecting an increasing number of countries. Studying epidemiology with an emphasis in global health will leave me well suited to investigate and understand the social, cultural and biological interactions between diseases and their global spread.
Who inspires you and why?
Bernard Ollivier, French journalist and author of “Longue Marche,” has always inspired me with his courage, curiosity and respect for differences among cultures and beliefs. During 4 year, he walked 7,500 mile from Turkey to China, following the ancient Silk Road all by himself. His open-mindedness towards various cultures and religions, deep appreciation for nature and persistence to pursue his journey through uncharted paths have given me wisdom and courage to overcome various challenges both in my professional and personal life.