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Tropical Medicine and Global Health

Clinical and Research Strengths

Faculty in the division of infectious diseases have extensive clinical expertise in Tropical Medicine and Global Health, including parasitic infections such as malaria and leishmaniasis, tropical virology and vector-borne infections (Chagas, Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Lassa fever, and Ebola virus), mpox (Dr. Ronald Lubelchek, Dr. Jonathan Martin, Dr. Gregory HuhnDr. Sharon Welbel), other tropical infectious diseases (Dr. Gregory HuhnDr. Mariam Aziz), and tuberculosis and neurocysticercosis (Dr. Monica Mercon, Dr. Dara Grennan, Dr. Ronald Lubelchek). Dr. Gregory Huhnholds a Masters Degree of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and has served as a medical officer with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service and Indian Health Service. He is also an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health where he lectures annually on outbreak investigations and yellow fever. Dr. Mariam Aziz holds a Certificate of Knowledge in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Traveler’s Health (CTropMed®). 

Clinical electives for fellows are available on a case by case basis with Dr. Mariam Aziz in Hyderabad, India. Sivananda Leprosy Rehabilitation home houses almost 300 patients with leprosy and has a separate HIV/TB ward. Time may also be spent working in a local HIV clinic and microbiology lab. For trainees with an interest in public health, RUMC has a partnership with SHARE India in Hyderabad, which has a vast network of public health workers involved in epidemiologic and infectious disease research. Clinical electives in Singapore are also available with Dr. Shawn Vasoo, who is the Clinical Director, National Centre for Infectious Diseases and Head, Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory of Singapore. Dr. Vasoo completed his Infectious Diseases fellowship at RUMC.

Dr. Supriya Mehta has an active research program in Kenya focused on sexual health.

  • CaCHe (Cups and Community Health). NIH funded study of the effect of menstrual cups on the vaginal microbiome, Bacterial vaginosis, C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae, T. vaginalis, HSV-2, and HIV among adolescent and young women in Kenya
  • CaCHe2. NIH funded study of the impact of COVID-19 and pandemic mitigation on BV, STIs, HIV, and pregnancy among adolescent and young women in Kenya
  • POWWer Health (Periods: Optimizing Working Women’s Reproductive Health): NIH funded phase 2B single arm trial of the effect of menstrual cups on the vaginal microbiome, BV, and STIs among women who depend on sex for economic livelihood in Kenya
  • Prospective study of the penile and rectal microbiome and immune correlates in relation to C. trachomatis and N. gonorrhoeae risk and resilience among men who have sex with men in Kenya
  • Antimicrobial resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae surveillance

Other Opportunities

RUMC students, house staff, and faculty have participated in the Rush Global Health Initiative since 2005 and have been visiting the 20,000-population rural Dominican Republic town of Peralta, helping them build a water filtration system and supporting the clinical staff at the local clinic. There are also ongoing partnerships in Port au Prince, Haiti and Hyderabad, India. The Rush Global Health Initiative sends students and faculty to countries in need of basic health care and resources. The mission is to provide manpower, supplies, medications, training and encouragement to communities and empower them to offer independent and sustainable care.

Dr. Aziz is the Director of the Global and Community Medicine Elective at RUMC. Through this collaboration there are opportunities for service-learning in a developing country. Curriculum is primarily delivered through self-study and covers social determinants, ethics, and framework for addressing communicable and non-communicable diseases from clinical, epidemiologic and public health perspectives. Options for clinical service-learning include all sites endorsed by the Office of Global Health and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Visiting Student Learning Opportunities (VSLO) program.