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Tonia Branche

African American Studies with pre-med track

Class of 2010

Currently, I am a first year medical student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in the new MD/MPH program.  It is a rigorous 4-year dual degree track that integrates medicine and public health, including a focus on problem-based learning and hands-on clinical rotations.  My background in African and African American Studies has given me a unique perspective on medicine, health disparities and cultural competency.  I have a strong interest in working with the underserved population, particularly in pediatrics, and believe that my collegiate experience at Harvard and concentrating in AAAS will serve me well in that endeavor.

While at Harvard, my concentration focus was in public health and during my junior and senior years, I worked with various professors and students in the department and a local physician to take an interdisciplinary approach to studying type-2 diabetes within the Haitian community. Our focus branched from the traditional biological mindset to also include the cultural, religious, and social factors that play into the overall understanding of diabetes from the perspectives of members of the Haitian community. After completing department courses, an independent study and a month-long summer visit to Haiti, I wrote a Senior Thesis that looked into ways to address the discussion, treatment and view of diabetes and its related concepts, specifically within the Boston Haitian Community.

Upon graduation in 2010, I worked as a summer research assistant at Washington University in St. Louis in the Newborn Medicine Division.  I then returned home to Dallas, TX and worked as a Tutor/Facilitator for the Advancement for Individual Determination (AVID) program in local high schools.  The program works with students traditionally underrepresented in college (minorities, low socioeconomic status, etc.) to prepare them for higher education and improve their success rate once there.  Concentrating in AAAS has given me a strong interdisciplinary foundation and the ability to work in a variety of fields and my focus in public health prepared me for the health care challenges I will undoubtedly face in my career.

Projects

Exploring Health, Diet and Diabetes in the Boston Haitian Community

This study focuses on the incidence of diabetes within the Boston Haitian community and particularly explores existing efforts to educate and treat Haitian diabetics and expand diabetes awareness with the goal of increased prevention within the...

Learn more about Project Boston Haitian Health