The Scholars in Medicine program (SiM) provides students at Harvard Medical School with the chance to perform a longitudinal, mentored, scholarly project with members of the faculty. SiM became a requirement for all students entering HMS as of August 2011. The Department of Global Health and Social Medicine offers mentoring in many areas of global health as well as the medical social sciences and humanities, including anthropology, sociology, history, and philosophy.

Students interested in working with Global Health and Social Medicine faculty in any area are encouraged to contact members of the faculty directly. The following additional information is provided as a resource for HMS students interested in conducting a project in global health.

Faculty Mentors

All members of the Global Health and Social Medicine faculty are available to discuss research interests and possible projects. Please browse the linked faculty information pages to learn about individual faculty members' research interests. Students should contact faculty directly. Names on the list either link to e-mail or to web pages with the e-mail listed.

In addition to the GHSM faculty members, many other faculty at Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and the other schools at Harvard University are well qualified to serve as mentors for scholarly projects in global health. You should search their websites for additional information. The OSE database at Harvard Medical School also includes information about faculty interested in mentoring students in these areas.

Current Projects

See the Office of Scholarly Engagement site to find current projects and related information. For more information about global health projects, please email Jennifer Kasper at . Dr. Kasper is chair of the Harvard Medical School Office of Scholarly Engagement Faculty Advisory Committee on Global Health.

Sample Projects

Community-based treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Lima, Peru - Sonya Shin, HMS 1998

Sonya Shin became involved with Partners In Health (PIH) as a medical student in 1993, and spent a year in Lima, Peru with PIH’s sister organization, Socios en Salud (SES). At that time, the organization had detected several cases of “chronic” tuberculosis which were suspected to be multidrug-resistant (MDRTB). Dr. Shin worked with the SES team to initiate treatment of numerous MDRTB cases in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) TB Program. This effort involved training the physicians, providing clinical care to the patients, and working with the MOH to ensure that second-line TB drugs were available for the patients. Dr. Shin also conducted an outreach investigation to identify other cases of MDRTB, inquiring about “chronic” or uncured TB cases at local health centers and then finding these patients in the community for evaluation, diagnostic testing and, when appropriate, treatment initiation. Dr. Shin and colleagues worked extensively to better define the dynamics of this local MDRTB epidemic of Northern Lima in Peru, by combining clinical, epidemiological and anthropological approaches. Dr. Shin’s research focused on the clinical outcomes of patients treated for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (including the occurrence and management of adverse effects which have, to date, been poorly described); the management of exceptional cases of MDRTB (e.g. pediatric, pregnant and HIV-infected patients); programmatic assessment of community-based initiatives to treat MDRTB; and predictors of treatment outcome. Her scholarly research as a medical student resulted in the following publication:

Sonya Shin, Jennifer Furin, Jaime Bayona, Kedar Mate, Jim Yong Kim, Paul Farmer. Community-based treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Lima, Peru: 7 years of experience. Social Science and Medicine 59 (2004):1529-1539.

Integrated HIV Prevention and Care Strengthens Primary Health Care: Lessons from Rural Haiti, David Walton, HMS 2003

David Walton conducted scholarly research as a medical student, participating in the evaluation of a pilot program integrating HIV prevention and treatment with primary health care in a village in Haiti and helping to scale-up this program to several towns there. This work involved everything from training health workers and making patient visits to designing health care delivery systems and doing actual construction work on a new hospital. Dr. Walton’s medical school studies resulted in a paper co-authored with Global Health and Social Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital faculty members as well as Haitian doctors from Zanmi Lasante, a sister organization to Partners In Health. The resulting publication describes the minimum program elements and four pillars of successful integration, including HIV prevention and care, TB diagnosis and case holding, sexually transmitted disease case finding and treatment, and women’s health services. See:

David A. Walton, Paul E. Farmer, Wesler Lambert, F. Leandre, Serena P. Koenig, and Joia S. Mukherjee. Integrated HIV Prevention and Care Strengthens Primary Health Care: Lessons from Rural Haiti. Journal of Public Health Policy 25, no. 2 (2004):137-158.

Other Resources

Please see the other educational opportunities listed on the GHSM education pages.