Tran, Michael

Public Health

MPH/MBA

Pakistan

Pakistan-Economic evaluation of mHealth technologies

The student will assist with a new initiative to accelerate malaria control in Southern Africa through an NIH-funded International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research. Our goal is to make substantial contributions to regional malaria control in Zambia and Zimbabwe through state-of-the-art research on malaria epidemiology, vector biology and the genetics of the malaria parasite in three different epidemiological settings, representing regions of effective malaria control (Choma District, Zambia), ineffective malaria control (Nchelenge District, Zambia) and resurgent malaria (Mutasa District, Zimbabwe).The position will be based at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Insititute field site in Nchelenge District, Luapula Province, Zambia. The student will assist in conducting research projects on malaria epidemiology, vector bionomics or parasite genetics with faculty from the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute and collaborating investigators at theTropical Diseases Research Centre in Ndola, Zambia.

Sustainable HIT Business Models for TB Care

Michael Tran, MPH/MBA Student ‘14

Interactive Research and Development

“Learn by going where I have to go.” – Theodore Roethke

Intrigued by the unfamiliar, I have been fortunate enough to increase my personal skillset through experiential learning opportunities in the form of travel and working in the field. Most of my significant experiences in health care are a result of traveling abroad and essentially going to places where constrained resources negatively impact health outcomes. With interests in how mobile technology can leverage healthcare service and delivery, I was eager to apply for the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health Established Field Placement Award, which offered an opportunity to evaluate international mobile health (mHealth) initiatives.

“95% of success is showing up.” Woody Allen

The host organization for the award was Interactive Research and Development (IRD), a health NGO based in Karachi, Pakistan. Prior to accepting the position, I was wary of the risks associated with going—how would I get along with locals, would they see me as an asset or hindrance to their work, and how would I fare as an Asian American foreigner? I asked several people close to me for advice and all of the feedback shared a common theme—safety. Troubled with sectarian unrest and political instability, Pakistan is not the ideal tourist destination. Nevertheless, not only would I pursue my interests around health information technology (HIT), but I would also get to travel, learn about a new culture, and help improve the life of others through global health. I accepted the invitation.

“Go where the problems are.” – Dr. Alfred Sommer

Upon arriving, I learned that IRD was awarded a large grant from a TB organization and that I was to complete case studies of tuberculosis programs in high-burden countries. What was a summer in Pakistan became an elective in Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, and Kenya. These case studies were intended to not only highlight the use of HIT components of TB programs but also identify sustainable models. In the end, I studied seven TB programs in Asia and Africa, learned more about TB then I ever anticipated, and got to experience the joys of traveling, eating exotic foods, and visiting several historical places. 

“Saving lives, millions at a time.” – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The field placement experience gave me insight into the global burden of TB, where I got to see first-hand how high-burden countries are implementing WHO-endorsed Directly Observed Therapy Short-Course (DOTS) strategy. I gained a better understanding of social entrepreneurship in developing settings and how programs are addressing sustainability with generating revenue streams to turn seed funding into scale. This experience will help guide me in my continuous pursuit of global health endeavors. As a student at Hopkins, I am gaining the requisite skills to alleviate some of these global health issues in a sustainable way. With the summer internship fresh in mind, I am more focused in my second year of classes as an MPH/MBA student and I am taking courses that will improve my ability to manage and implement sustainable programs abroad. In doing so, I hope to enact change on a policy level that will alleviate the burden of global diseases and ensure the equitable distribution of healthcare. 

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June 2022

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