Words from Stacia
What did I learn? Learning in the classroom about diseases and ailments across the nation and the world brings awareness to students. However actually seeing the causes and effects of these diseases provides insight on the severity of these cases. This extra step is what the Tropical Medicine Program provides to students eager to learn about the uncommon diseases like Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, and elephantiasis. This summer institute not only provided the pathogenesis of each disease but we had the opportunity to do lab work with the host animals that infect humans with the parasites responsible for the diseases. This valuable experience coupled with working alongside some of the most skilled doctors, researchers and professors is an opportunity that all students should aim to have.
How did it impact me? Before going to the Tropical Medicine Summer Institute, I had gone on a mission trip to Guatemala. There I was able to observe some pathogenic manifestations uncommon to the United States, but I did not have the full background knowledge on what these ailments could be. After participating in the Tropical Medicine Summer Institute, I have a deeper understanding on what these diseases are and how very important they are although their severity is undermined because of the lack of mortality associated with them. Most of the diseases that fall into the class of "tropical diseases" have a high morbidity rate associated with them and this summer institute has gotten me motivated to learn even more about how I can be influential in spreading the importance of these forgotten diseases.
Why would I encourage other to apply? If you are interested in learning something that very few people are aware of, then I would wholly encourage you to apply to this summer institute. If you want to meet encouraging and insightful professors and doctors in the Texas Medical Center that are truly excited and interested in everything that they are teaching you, the Tropical Medicine Summer Institute is the perfect program for you. You will not regret participating in this program, and not only will you gain valuable knowledge but you will be able to give back to others with the information you will gain through this program.