Increasing numbers of young physicians aspire to dedicate their careers to the health of impoverished people in the U.S. and abroad. In 2004, DGHE, the Department of Medicine, and BWH created a unique residency program to address this growing interest. The Doris and Howard Hiatt Residency in Global Health Equity and Internal Medicine is a comprehensive four-year program that includes training in internal medicine; coursework in research methods, public policy and global health advocacy; and research and patient care experiences in impoverished settings at Partners In Health sites around the world. The residency program honors DGHE co-founder, Howard Hiatt, M.D., and his late wife, Doris.
Residents in the program share a deep commitment to fighting disease in the world’s poorest places, and a belief that, as one resident puts it, “In the fight for social justice, each of us will have a crucial role to play.”
Despite an enormously demanding schedule in Boston, residents in the program are already engaged in lifesaving efforts around the world. Their projects target the deadliest treatable diseases—AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria—in some of the world’s poorest countries.
The Hiatt GHE residency acts as an incubator, providing young physicians with the resources necessary to explore many different possible paths in global health. That support continues long after residents have graduated from the program. Because global health equity remains a pioneering field, former residents continue to define for themselves what it means to have a career in global health—often connecting with other graduates in the process. This networking is a natural outgrowth of the Hiatt GHE residency, which many involved describe as a family that extends around the globe. The program’s focus on learning and mentorship encourages residents to reach out to previous graduates working in the field for support, guidance, and collaboration.
The impact of the Hiatt residency program goes far beyond the outstanding individual trainees themselves. Hiatt residents go on to train hundreds more physicians and health workers, creating a multiplier effect from the initial investment in the program. Residents are empowered to share their knowledge and support the development of healthcare infrastructure that pays increasing dividends over time.
Recent accomplishments of residents include:
- Designing a national postgraduate medical education curriculum in Botswana
- Developing protocols for Ebola-treatment units in Liberia and Sierra Leone
- Improving NCD services in a rural district of Malawi
- Training community health workers and medical officers in Chiapas, Mexico
- Strengthening a community health worker program in the Navajo Nation, and developing an innovative nutritional support program throughout the reservation
- Developing a public-private partnership in Nepal to improve community- and facility-based care throughout remote areas of the country
- Coordinating a hepatitis C treatment trial, and developing and implementing oncology treatment protocols in rural Rwanda
- Building a graduate medical education program in Haiti, in collaboration with the Haiti Ministry of Health
- Developing a nonprofit management elective for GHE residents, in conjunction with the leadership of PIH
Response to the residency has been enthusiastic, attracting attention from universities and teaching hospitals throughout the country. Interest among young physicians is strong, and program enrollment has grown with 54 alumni to date, 85% of whom continue to work in global health and others deeply committed to domestic health equity.