Pediatric Global Health Research Fellowship

Combined Residency Program at the Forefront in Preparing Clinicians for Global Academic Research

The Pediatric Global Health Research Fellowship fills the ever-widening gap in the medical and public health communities between clinical practice and academic research in global pediatrics.

Background

In 2009, the Boston Combined Residency Program partnered with the Boston University School of Public Health (SPH), the Boston University Center for Global Health & Development (CGHD) and Boston Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics to establish a 4-year integrated residency/fellowship for candidates interested in a career in pediatric global health research.  The integrated track begins after successful completion of the first two years of residency and is open to applicants from the Urban Health and Advocacy Track.

Core aspects of the fellowship include:

  • Master of Science in Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health
  • Mentored Applied Research Experience in Global Child Health
  • Pediatric Residency with Global Health Electives

Fellows will work closely with faculty members from the CGHD in applied global health research, while undertaking a rigorous training program in epidemiology, biostatistics, research design, and monitoring & evaluation at SPH.  As a member of the BU community, fellows will have access to the 16 schools and colleges, in addition to the specialized centers, departments & experts across BU.

The Need

Imagine a clinician who not only understands the pathology of common childhood diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition, but also understands how to ask and answer essential questions about the overarching public health challenges created by such diseases.

Current rates of under-five mortality suggest that 1 in 18 children don’t reach their fifth birthday. Diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, malnutrition and neonatal sepsis are treatable and preventable with the right healthcare systems and priorities.  Traditional pediatric residency is necessarily focused on taking clinical care of patients, but doesn’t encompass a public health approach to solving these global pediatric problems.

For example, pneumonia is one of the most common pediatric illnesses and the leading cause of death for children under the age of 5 worldwide.  While residents are trained to listen carefully to breath sounds, order several diagnostic tests, and to be judicious with antibiotics when diagnosing and treating the illness at BMC and CHB, there was a void for the trainee who wanted to understand pneumonia in a global context through applied academic research.  The Boston Combined Residency Program was one of the first in the nation to create a fellowship to train pediatricians for an academic research career beyond the hospital walls.  Global Health Research Fellows will not only be able to treat and diagnose diseases as a pediatrician, but also understand the epidemiology that shapes the disease burden globally, have the skills to assess and evaluate which programs and solutions work, be able to design and test treatment algorithms employing community health workers, and recommend cost-effective solutions that may be sustainable. Fellows graduate with the synergistic skill set of a pediatrician and public health researcher that enables them to ask and answer the essential questions that accompany any disease, establish health care systems, and alleviate the crushing burdens illnesses place on our world’s smallest community members.