KENYAN CONNECTIONS

KENYAN CONNECTIONS

Two PBS alumni, two unique global journeys reveal the special role PBS has played in shaping their stories.

“I have met two amazing PBS graduates here in Eldoret, Kenya,” PBS chair Bill Hetrick reported during his summer travels to the IU School of Medicine’s program at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. Grant Callen and Roshni Dhoot, who graduated from IU in 2016 before beginning medical school, were two of three first-year IU medical students to receive a special Slemenda Scholarship to study at Moi University School of Medicine last summer. They spent eight weeks in Eldoret, Kenya, living and working alongside Kenyan medical students and various North American physicians and scientists, as part of AMPATH, a partnership between IU and Kenyan medical schools.

Grant Callen graduated from IU as a double major in neuroscience and psychology with minors in biology and Swahili. He recalls two formative experiences at IU that shaped his current professional interests. First, at the suggestion of PBS senior lecturer Cynthia Patton, he participated in a community program in which he cared for children with ADHD, autism, and other disorders. The experience, he says, instilled “a passion for pediatric medicine and developmental biology, as well as a fascination with the impact of socioeconomic and cultural influences on childhood development, both physical and psychological.”

Second, his IU Swahili professor, Beatrice Okelo, encouraged him to spend a year abroad in Arusha, Tanzania. There, Callen finished his Swahili thesis and worked in a rural HIV clinic. Living and working in East Africa crystallized his goals: to work with patients ranging from newborns to 90-year-olds, and to pursue a combined program in internal medicine and pediatrics. He ultimately hopes to return to East Africa to continue this work.

“I am always thankful,” he notes, “for the opportunity to combine my academic focus in psychological and brain sciences with my passion for global health and sub-Saharan Africa.”

Since childhood, PBS alumni Roshni Dhoot has been intent on working to solve the problems of intimate partner violence and domestic abuse. She entered IU with the intention of addressing the problem as a lawyer. That changed when her interests shifted to women’s health and she decided to pursue a medical career as an OB-GYN, focusing on intimate partner violence. Dhoot joined PBS during her junior year, and graduated with a B.S. in neuroscience and minors in biology, psychology and Spanish.

Her experience in Kenya broadened her perspective and her interests even further to include all aspects of health and health care. She saw the importance of medicine not only in the clinic, but “out in the field, from visiting microfinance groups and doing community health screenings to showing movies on the pediatrics ward at night.”

Dhoot is now leaning toward specializing in internal medicine, having connected so strongly with the program’s mission. As she wrote on her AMPATH blog page, “Even though there is so much to be done, there is so much hope. That is what draws people here, and what makes me want to come back.”

You can read more about their experiences on their AMPATH blog pages:

Grant Callen’s page     Roshni Dhoot’s page