Medical Student Awarded Prestigious Fulbright-Fogarty Public Health Fellowship

WASHINGTON (June 11, 2015) –Graham Ellis, a third-year student in the Howard University College of Medicine, has been awarded the Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship in Public Health. He intends to study sickle cell anemia and malarial infections in children in Malawi.

The 27-year-old medical student will extend sickle cell research of a past Fulbright scholar in the country who identified 140 children affected by sickle cell disease. Ellis is currently an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves and will become a medical officer in the U.S Navy after graduation from the Howard University College of Medicine. He will take a yearlong leave of absence from school to participate in the Fulbright-Fogarty program. Ellis will depart for Malawi in September and return June 2016.

He said his family’s legacy of service work in Africa inspired his present-day research interests. Both of his paternal grandparents were Methodist missionaries in Sierra Leone. His grandmother was a nurse and his grandfather, a teacher. Ellis also explored the region with his father, who advanced small-scale development projects in Sierra Leone in the early 2000s. Ellis’s mother worked with the Marion Medical Mission in Malawi which installs shallow wells for clean drinking water. He said he accompanied her on a trip to Malawi when he was 14 years old.

“My early experiences working in Africa exposed me to a great deal of human suffering,” Ellis said. “Looking on as a human being, I was driven to do something about it. That’s what started my interest in the field of medicine. Since then, I’ve recognized that global health can be a stabilizing force in our era of ever-increasing globalization. It is a gift to be able to promote good health in human beings because health is often a prerequisite for success in life.”

The Fulbright-Fogarty Awards are offered through a partnership between the Fulbright Program and the Fogarty International Center of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. These awards were established to promote the expansion of research in public health and clinical research in resource-limited settings. The Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships were inaugurated in July 2011 with four fellows in sub-Saharan Africa (Botswana, Malawi and South Africa).

The Fulbright program, established in 1946, is an exchange program offered by the U.S. State Department to facilitate international educational exchanges for students, teachers and other professionals. Since its inception, Fulbright has awarded more than 70 grants to Howard University faculty, including 42 grants to students.

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