Doris Duke Fellows to conduct research with AMPATH

Aarthi Thakkar (left) and Helen Li (right)

Aarthi Thakkar (left) and Helen Li (right)

Two new Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellows will be conducting global health research with AMPATH for the 2018-19 academic year.

The fellows are third year medical students Helen Wu Li from Indiana University and Aarti Thakkar from Duke University. Both recently arrived in Eldoret to begin their research.  

The goal of the fellowship is to produce future leaders in global health clinical research through an intensive clinical research experience and mentorship by global health faculty. Three fellowships are awarded through Duke University and only 18 are awarded nationally.

Helen Li will be working on a research project with AMPATH developing a trigger tool to identify surgical patients who can benefit from palliative care. Her work will be mentored by Dr. Peter Kussin from Duke, Dr. Connie Keung and Dr. Ken Cornetta from IU, and Dr. Millicent Korir and Dr. Susan Kipsang from Moi University. Helen and her mentors hope to eventually develop a tool to “encourage the collaboration of palliative care with surgery, but also help to give surgeons an added perspective in the treatment of patients in the future.”

Helen first traveled to Eldoret as a Slemenda Scholar from IU in the summer of 2017. Upon leaving Eldoret after her Slemenda Summer, Helen recalled, “I didn’t feel sad because somehow I knew I would be back soon.”

Aarti Thakkar from Duke University will focus her research on strengthening referral systems of hypertensive care in Western Kenya. She’ll be working under the mentorship of Dr. Gerald Bloomfield, assistant professor of medicine and global health from Duke.

Aarti shared, “I’m striving to build a career that combines individual patient care with a greater population perspective through clinical research and teaching in a global setting, and this fellowship offers the unique experience and mentorship to begin to develop those skills.”

In addition to attending medical school at Duke, she is also pursuing a joint master’s degree in public health from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.