American Medical Women’s Association global health fellowship awarded to USC medical student

Anna Handley, a second-year medical student at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, has been named a global health fellow by the American Medical Women’s Association. anna handley

Handley is one of only four students nationally to receive the prestigious Anne C. Carter Global Health Fellowship that promotes involvement in international health.

As a fellow, Handley will participate in a two-year program designed to provide educational, advocacy and clinical skills training, as well as mentoring and networking opportunities for medical students with an interest in global health. In her first year, she will work to establish a global health project in Columbia, S.C. that connects USC students to the growing health needs of Columbia’s underserved international population.  Her second year will include a medical-service learning trip to Engeye Clinic in Uganda.

“This fellowship will allow me to expand my interest in global and women’s health,” Handley said. “I look forward to working with other female medical students who have similar interests to mine and building a network of colleagues who I can keep in touch with throughout my career in terms of mentorship and collaboration.”

Handley, who received her undergraduate degree in anthropology from USC, first developed an interest in global public health during a six-month study abroad experience at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.  The experience abroad introduced her to the many health challenges that people face and how access to quality health care can play a role in one’s quality of life.

As a master’s student at Emory University, Handley returned to Africa as a research associate on a women’s health project examining maternal and newborn health. While in Ethiopia, she witnessed a woman in labor on the dirt floor in her home. The experience opened her eyes to the lack of adequate health care for expecting mothers.

“In our country, it’s really safe to have a baby in the hospital and complications can be managed very well,” Handley said. “In other countries, it’s not so simple. Women often give birth in their homes, where even a small and manageable complication can become deadly for the mother and her newborn.”

Handley wants to use her fellowship to improve the access and quality of care expectant mothers receive in Uganda. She sees the fellowship as an opportunity to improve women’s health abroad while defining her future career in medicine.

Handley is the first USC School of Medicine student to receive the American Medical Women’s Association global health fellowship.

January 10, 2013