International Relations


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UMass Worcester- Medical student is 2007-08 Fogarty Fellow

Avra Ackerman graduated from Columbia University in 2002 with a degree in Sociology/American Studies. Since that time she has worked in public health and clinical research and studied medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. At the Greater Boston Center for Healthy Communities, Avra coordinated community-based public health efforts in the Latino immigrant neighborhood of East Boston. Inspired by this community, she moved to Bolivia to work with underserved, homebound patients in the Cochabamba region. Meanwhile, in research, Avra worked at Fenway Community Health Center studying CD4 response to HAART and at UMass studying Latino diabetes prevention as a preventive medicine research fellow. Recently, she had the opportunity to work in Zumbahua, Ecuador studying endemic childhood malnutrition within an agrarian, Kichwa-speaking population. Avra is absolutely committed to underserved populations and plans to pursue a career in international public health and clinical medicine.

Avra's UMass faculty mentor, Ira Ockene, MD, says:  "Avra is an exceptional student.  She worked with me on a summer research project for the Lawrence Latino Diabetes Prevention Project, during the summer between her first and second year of medical school.  She is fluent in Spanish, and has a strong desire to work at an international level to improve health. My role as her faculty mentor has been in assisting her to make decisions and offering guidance in her development as a clinician-researcher.  I was pleased to serve as her institutional mentor for her application to the NIH Fogarty Fellowship Program--she is now in Uganda, working on a TB/HIV research project with a faculty mentor based in that country."

Potential applicants are invited to review the Fogarty website, which features a section specifically geared to student applicants. View...

Potential advisors are invited to review the Fogarty website, which features a section specifically geared to Advisors and faculty mentors. View...