Merit Scholar Profiles: Azan Virji
Athens, Greece - winter 2017
Masters in Public Health at Yale School of Public Health
Yale College class of 2017
Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology/Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases
Eben T. and Jokichi Takamine Memorial Scholarship; Science, Technology and Research Scholar, Yale Global Health Scholar
Yale Office of International Students and Scholars, Yale Admissions Office, Partners in Health Engage, Yale College Council, Leadership Institute, Yale Ivy Council
Why did you choose the atlantis Fellowship?
In an increasingly globalized world, skilled and trained doctors are needed everywhere especially in under resourced countries. My long-term goal is to work in the filed of healthcare and practice medicine on a global scale. With this path in mind, I decided to do the Atlantis Project to gain exposure to another healthcare system, understand the nuances of how culture affects health, and to make comparisons in the healthcare I have witnessed in Tanzania and the United States of America.
HOW IS THE ATLANTIS PROJECT UNIQUE?
The Atlantis Project is unique because it provides full immersion not only into the hospital environment, but into the country as well from the very first day. You're in the hospital alongside doctors who are well-versed in English, who are experts in your field, and who are willing to help teach you and explain different medical concepts. The program is also committed to helping you explore the country and make the most of your experience.
DESCRIBE THE ATLANTIS PROJECT IN THREE WORDS:
Educational. Breath-taking. Immersive.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE EXPERIENCE AS AN ATLANTIS FELLOW?
While working at the hospital, we were invited to the weekly Greek dance practice that some of the doctors and hospital staff have every Thursday. Being able to partake in the Greek cultural dance followed by sitting in a large circle and talking about our experiences was when I felt the vibrant warmth of the Greeks - like I was part of a family. Additionally, visiting the numerous temples in Greece made me appreciate all the history that Greece had to offer and made the experience even more memorable.
WHAT WAS THE MOST MEANINGFUL ASPECT OF YOUR TIME SHADOWING?
I really enjoyed being able to sit down with the doctors and ask them questions not just about the medical field but also about the different aspects of the healthcare system. Learning about how the hospital finances its activities, how the economy has affected healthcare in Greece, and the differences between public and private hospitals made the shadowing experience a more enriching and well-rounded one.
HOW HAS THE ATLANTIS PROJECT HELPED EQUIP YOU FOR THE FUTURE?
The Atlantis Project has provided me with a different outlook on global health. I am now able to draw on examples from the different healthcare systems I have seen to know what works well and what doesn't. In the future, I can implement some of what I have learned to better a health system in a resource-limited environment. I now also have a deeper sense of appreciation for the role culture plays in the health of the population.
how has your thinking of active leadership in the medical field been shaped?
To be an active leader in the medical field, one must have a strong drive to succeed and to take charge. By working in a public hospital and seeing the great need that exists, the Atlantis Fellowship has instilled in me the motivation to help others and contribute to the scientific improvement of people's health. Additionally, watching doctors in Greece, who are renowned in their field, work at public hospitals for less pay has inspired me to follow in their footsteps and commit to a life of service in the medical field.