Vinay Mikkilineni – 2017 Recipient Resident/Fellow
Tell me about yourself and your current experience at the UIC College of Medicine
Born and raised in Texas, I came to UIC secondary to the unique programs that it offered including a combined Internal Medicine/Emergency Medicine residency program, an integrated school of public health, and an active global health center with involved faculty amongst whom I have found many friends and mentors. I am currently a 5th year in the combined Internal Medicine/Emergency Medicine residency program, an HPA student in the school of public health, and starting my fellowship in International Emergency Medicine.
How did you decide to go into the field of Medicine?
My interest in medicine started with a simple curiosity and some fond memories of sitting in my mother’s internal medicine office after school. As I grew up a career in medicine naturally drew me in as it continued to challenge me while still bringing me a sense of joy and fulfillment.
What inspired you to help others globally?
My first experiences working abroad were during medical school. While a sense of adventure initially took me abroad. There was an aspect helping those that didn’t have the tools or the support to get help by the current infrastructure that really drew me in, in addition to address the challenge of creating sustainable change. This was greater than any personal goals that I had, and has led to me to continue exploring the complexities of working abroad.
Why did you select this destination?
Often doors are opened by simply continuing to work and endeavor in a chosen field, and this opportunity came about in the same way. Working with faculty as part of the Consortium for Universities for Global Health, a project was initiated to create an online database in coordination with constituents and partners at other universities in the US and around the world to coordinate projects and human resources for capacity building by matching needs that are expressed by universities in resource limited areas with the interests of those that are available to help. AFREHealth, one of our partners and new initiative between universities in Africa, held their first conference which allowed for us start to pilot, build and revamp our database and project.
How did this experience from the Erickson Explorers Award impact your life/influence you?
Often work in global health is isolated to small projects and local settings. This was new experience with truly meeting the players in global health and some of the giants in the field. This project focuses on the needs of the local institutions instead of the desires or goals of the helping institutions, a theme that ran paramount at the AFREhealth conference. The Erikson Explorers Award allows me to offset the costs of working abroad during residency, which can be a financially pressured time, and gives me the opportunity to get a foothold into a field that I hope to make my career.