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Global Health Research During Medical School with Maya Jackson-Gibson


Maya Jackson-Gibson is in her final months as a Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine medical student. Her time at medical school was spent beyond studying and spending time in clinics in Chicago. She traveled many times to Africa through a Feinberg program and as a Fogarty Global Health Fellow, to take part in research projects focused on adolescent girls and young women and reducing their risk of acquiring HIV and assessing maternal to fetal HIV transmission rates. She talks with Dr. Murphy about balancing medical school and global health research and her plans for the future.


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The more contacts that you have with the same organization or the same country, it becomes a more enriching experience for you. Also, you get to see how you're helping the people on the ground and how your work can actually be having a direct impact on patient care or new discoveries in whatever field of research that you're in. Don't shy away from opportunities because they might be scary or hard, because most times you'll have a lot of research mentors to help you along the way.”

Maya Jackson-Gibson, Medical Student, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Topics Covered in the Show:

  • Jackson-Gibson talks about growing up in Buffalo, New York where her mother, who is a physician, was a major role model in her life. She attended Amherst College where she majored in Spanish and played soccer and considered a career in international relations.
  • She decided to pursue a career in medicine and global health after going to Ecuador on a surgical trip with the plastic surgery team out of Harvard. The team was doing cleft palate repairs. Jackson-Gibson took part as an interpreter and was “bitten” by the global health “bug.”
  • At Feinberg she sought out mentors early on in her career to help her conduct research for her Area of Scholarly Concentration. After her first year of medical school, she spent 8 weeks in Kenya looking at the service delivery platform of the PrEP intervention — a daily pill that reduces the risk of HIV infection — in adolescent girls and young women in Kenya.
  • She published findings from her work in Kenya becoming the first author of a paper published in BMC Public Health.
  • After her second year of medical school, as a Fogarty Global Health Fellow, she spent time at the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership in Gaborone, focused on assessing maternal to fetal HIV transmission rates and stratifying these outcomes based on an antiretroviral treatment regimen.
  • Jackson-Gibson suggests students spend as many consecutive weeks as possible in a country working on a project and to go back to the sites repeatedly to foster relationships with people on the ground.
  • She took time away from medical school to complete the Fogarty Fellowship. This was during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was able to conduct research on COVID-19 infections in pregnant women in Botswana during this time along with her other work.
  • According to Jackson-Gibson, there's no better time to understand global health than when you are abroad during a global pandemic. She was able to get vaccinated in Dec. 2020 and when she returned to Botswana she was surrounded by other health care workers who had no access to the vaccines. This experience made her very aware of her privilege as a U.S. medical student.
  • Among her mentors, Jackson-Gibson counts Feinberg faculty Lisa Hirschhorn, MD, MPH and Mark Huffman, MD, MPH
  • In March 2022 she will find out where she is matched for residency training. She aims to become a pediatrician and says her work in Africa with girls and young women inspired her to choose this path. She hopes to continue her global health career after residency training.
  • When she is not studying, traveling or conducting research, Jackson-Gibson is active in advocating for underrepresented minorities in medicine. She is also a leader of a Chicago-based running club that aims to give Black and Brown runners the opportunity to experience running in long distance races, half marathons and marathons.

Additional Reading


Show Transcript

Rob Murphy, MD [00:00:05] Welcome to the Explore Global Health podcast. I'm Dr Rob Murphy, executive director of the Harvey Institute for Global Health here at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Today's guest, Maya Jackson Gibson, is a current Feinberg medical student and Fogarty Global Health Fellow who was establishing an exciting career in global health. In fact, she's on her way back to Botswana in just a few days where she has been investigating maternal-to-fetal HIV transmission rates as part of her work as a Fogarty fellow. When she is not focused on her studies at Feinberg or research in Africa, Maya invests her time and activities that support current and future underrepresented minority medical students. Welcome to the podcast, Maya. I want you to start by telling our audience about your background. Where did you grow up and what led you first of all, to study medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine here at Northwestern?

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:01:00] I'm from originally from Buffalo, New York. Born and raised was pretty active, played soccer my whole life. And so because of my emphasis on sports for undergrad, I went to Amherst College, where I played soccer and really excelled there doing the liberal arts education. I've always had an interest in medicine growing up. My mom is a physician, she's a radiologist. So that has always been an exposure of mine. And I knew, like my mom was one of the people that I respect so much. She is a superwoman. So like, if I could be a fraction of the person of who my mom is, I'd be happy. So I knew that medicine was something that I could be good at and that I would enjoy by just being at Amherst, I really tried to push myself to think about other careers besides just medicine, to just make sure that I was choosing it for the right reasons. And not just because that was something that I was familiar with. And so originally in undergrad, I was interested in Spanish. I was a Spanish major and I was initially thinking about a career in international policy, international relations, that sort of thing. And then I had a few internships here and there and just realized that it wasn't exactly clicking for me. And then my junior year of college, I was able to go on like a surgical trip with the plastic surgery team out of Harvard, where they're doing cleft palate repairs. And I just really enjoyed the work that they were doing. We were in Ecuador and I was able to do some translation and sit in on surgeries and help with the post-op period. And after reflecting on that experience, I was like, medicine is where I should be. I don't know where exactly in medicine, but it gave me the most amount of fulfillment, like being there around those type of people doing that work. And so my senior year of college, that's when I decided that I would fully commit to going into medicine. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:02:37] I'm very interested in hearing that because it sounds like it's that one trip to Ecuador as an undergraduate was kind of the your turning point. Is that true? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:02:46] Yeah, it definitely was. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:02:47] Oh, great. It's really good to hear that because we're right now kind of a lot of, let's just say, discussion about international and global experiences, how it borders on tourism versus mission type helping versus research. And you know, there has to be that spark that ignites the passion. We're always looking for that and people, because once they get it, it's hard to get rid of. 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:03:10] Yeah, definitely. And I think I was lucky this group that I went with, they were a great introduction to, I think, how global health can be done correctly. They have established great partnerships with the people down in Ecuador and Selena, as they go every year, 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:03:25] Got to be there in person. 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:03:26] Yeah, they collaborate with all of the surgeons that are on the ground. And so I didn't know it at the time because that trip could have gotten significantly different. I could have seen the other, the darker side of global health. But I feel very fortunate that my first real introduction to global health was in a very sustainable and I think equitable way. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:03:43] You went to Ecuador and that sort of lit the fire. But then I remember your second year, you actually did one of the Feinberg travel experiences. In 2018 you went to Kenya for almost eight weeks and you conducted some research based on some of the work you've done here at Feinberg and looking at PrEP pre-exposure prophylaxis intervention. For those of you that aren't familiar with that term, it's the daily pill that reduces the risk of getting HIV. So it's actually for prevention works quite well. You used a lot here and there, and I understand you did some work on that again. Can you tell us about that project? Eight weeks is a long time in Kenya. 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:04:19] Eight weeks is a long time just for background for all the listeners. So after that trip to Ecuador, I knew that I wanted to incorporate global health into my career in some way because I caught the bug. And so when I first started at Feinberg, I started to look for mentors that were in the global health sphere and just getting exposure in that sense. And so luckily for my area of scholarly concentration, my AOSC project, I got linked to Dr. Hirschhorn as my small group leader. I did not know at the time how many doors Dr. Hirschhorn would have opened for me at the time. I was just like, She's a really great mentor and I kind of latched on to her, but I don't know if it was luck, fate chance. But the one I talked to her one on one, I learned that she was just a very key and big player in the global health sphere with implementation science specifically in HIV work. I wasn't interested in PrEP or HIV before coming to med school, but Dr. Hirschhorn really opened up those doors for me and gave me the opportunity to really take a lead or like a really influential role in my AOSC project and. So we collaborated with some of our partners in the Evanston campus at the Global Health and Anthropology School, and we put together this project to look at the rollout or the implementation of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis in Kenya, specifically in Kisumu, Kenya, by using community-based organizations. So the project was really organized around it being a qualitative study, thinking about the barriers to care, thinking about the barriers to uptake of PrEP, what was going right, what was going wrong? Was this strategy of using community based organizations on the ground, was that really benefiting adolescent girls and young women and reducing their risk of acquiring HIV? Or were there other things that we weren't seeing or other barriers to care that we weren't seeing that also needed to be addressed in order to make Prep a successful intervention? 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:06:04] So was this eight weeks all at one time or did you go two separate times? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:06:08] I went all at one time, so it was my summer. After first year, I went from June or May to July, something along those lines. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:06:17] Okay, so you did your 8 weeks, but you did it all at one time. It's a loaded question, because I want you to tell me what would happen if you had only been. There are three or four weeks, six weeks or eight weeks. What would the difference have been? I'm trying to get at what is the value of a longer rotation, like what you did compared to the shorter ones, the typical ones here are four weeks 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:06:36] Just reflecting on that experience and my Fogerty experience,  three or four weeks is not enough time to get to know a place. The first two weeks I got to Kenya, Botswana, you're turned around. You don't know where to go. You don't know what's up from, what's down. You don't know where the grocery store is. You have everyone helping you. And so to feel comfortable addressing these very sensitive cultural and public health issues in a very sensitive way, it's hard to do when you're just there for a short period of time, you really have to... It took time for me to learn the team that was doing all this great work really understand their strategies and what they were thinking, what they were doing, and just also connect with the local people like the girls and young women that I was helping. Just sitting down and talking with them and just having a Coca-Cola with them and just hearing their stories. I think that was a good base for me to help conduct the focus group interviews and the key informant interviews because without that cultural context, it feels like I'm not doing them justice or the work that we're doing to help them be as impactful as it should be. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:07:34] My first guest on this podcast was Judith Lasker, and she's actually written a book about that. She said anything less than three weeks is basically completely worthless, and you know, our students will also go for weeks. I think they have less detailed projects than you, but it's good to hear that putting more time gets you more immersed in the culture and in the field. Let me switch gears a little bit, and you mentioned Dr. Hirschhorn, Dr. Lisa Hirschhorn as your mentor. How did that interaction start and what other mentors helped you along the way? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:08:05] My relationship with Dr. Hirschhorn really started as her being my area of scholarly concentration small group leader. I got introduced to her through that and just because of my interest in global health and particularly my interest in working in Africa and some country. And she has a lot of contacts there that I was fortunate that she was willing to take me under her wing because she's a very busy person. But I feel very fortunate that she saw something in me and decided to invest a lot of her time and energy into me. And then, through being introduced to Dr. Hirschhorn, I got connected with Dr. Huffman, Dr. Mark Hoffman. And then also with you, Dr. Murphy. You, too, have been very instrumental in the start of my global health career and really pushing me to apply for fellowships and things like that. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:08:49] Mark Hoffmann was I actually my second guest on this podcast series and has a very good position in global health and cardiology at Washington University and has a big position there and is doing quite well. 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:09:02] Oh, that's good to hear. Yeah, he was one person you as well, but he really helped me with my Fogerty. My application of the nuts and bolts of this is your research project, these are the holes, this is what you need to fix because like, 'I don't really know what I'm doing.' But Dr. Hoffman, like, always made himself very available and has taught me the key for any successful project is just open and clear communication with all of your mentors and people that are helping you do what you need to do and also vocalizing your limitations and where you need help. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:09:30] That HBNU new fellowship. Maybe you could just dove into that a little bit deeper, you know, because that's an opportunity that still that exists now and you are always recruiting students for that. Tell us more about that in detail. 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:09:43] So the HBNU Fogarty Global Health Fellowship is a fantastic opportunity for someone who wants a more robust experience in global health. Global health research, specifically as NIH-funded research fellowship where you really have the opportunity to collaborate with a lot of key players in the global health sphere and focus on a project. Because I think in med school or in any type of graduate school, you have classes, you have clinical work. Research can kind of fall to the wayside, and it's hard to tell if you really are interested in it if it's always the thing that's last on your plate and you're tired and I''m just tired and frustrated out. If I like it or I'm just tired and frustrated just because school is hard.' So, taking the dedicated time for a year just to think about research and how you can do it and think more critically about how it fits into your life, or even if it doesn't fit into your life, that's great, too. There's a great orientation in the beginning, with a lot of different like med students doing the fellowship or other more senior researchers doing really cool projects in different countries. So it's a great time to collaborate and just think about different projects that people are doing and how they're going about doing it. And I think this opportunity also gave me the chance to like, work on my statistical skills. Without this dedicated of time to work with data and work with big data sets, it's hard to tell yourself that you're going to set aside the time to learn it when you're so busy doing other things. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:11:02] Where did the fellowship fit into your medical school? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:11:05] I plan to take my year off after a third year of medical school. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:11:09] So between year three and four. 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:11:11] Yeah, I felt like it was appropriate to do it then because I had more of a general sense of what specialty I wanted to go into and knew since the Fogarty would take so much of my time that I wanted to make sure that I was being a little more targeted in the type of project that I was involved in, so it could help me with my residency application. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:11:27] And has that helped? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:11:28] Oh yes, it has helped a lot. I'm fortunate in the sense where I originally was thinking that I was going to go into OB/GYN. But then with the work that I was doing with Dr. Hirschhorn, I realized that I really love adolescence that has geared me into the pediatric realm. So I applied into pediatrics this year. But with the product that I picked looking at maternal fetal HIV transmission research, it hit the sweet spot between the critical care of women living with HIV and perinatal transmitted infection. So I didn't know it at the time, but it was really the sweet spot for all of the interest that I had and working with teenagers as well. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:12:01] So I think it's time to turn to your paper. You published the findings. Are you working in Kenya in BMC Public Health? First Author. Very nice. It's a it's a beautiful paper. Can you tell us about it a little bit? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:12:13] Yeah, sure. So just for context, this first off their paper was one that I did for my AOSC project. So that was when I was there for eight weeks. And boy, this is a big lift. As a first author manuscript, this is my first paper ever, and it was qualitative and it was tough. It was really hard, but I'm proud that it finally got picked up by BMC Public Health. And just to revisit like what it was about, PrEP was really introduced into Kenya in 2016 2017. And just because of the high rates of HIV transmission rates there, that it was really important for the Kenyan Ministry of Health to roll this out to help reduce the incidence of new HIV infections. They targeted specifically high risk groups, which include adolescent girls and young women, to receive PrEP because they were the ones obviously who were getting the most infected, the most quickly. And as they were doing that, they decided to use community based organizations as the vessel, as the as the groups on the ground to facilitate its distribution. And so we really wanted to know like how our community-based organizations, how are they really performing in these areas of distributing PrEP to adolescent girls and young women, even if there was all the PrEP provided in the world are there any barriers to adolescent girls and young women taking this medication? Is it taking it? Is it access to it? Is it x number of barriers that might be preventing them from staying on the medication and taking it as prescribed as a once daily pill? And so we conducted focus group interviews with girls out of the Pamoja community based health organization that's in Kisumu, Kenya, which is a part of the Dreams program, which is a bigger funded initiative through PEPFAR and things like that to really target the girl population specifically in helping them decrease their incidence of HIV. And so we interviewed them and asked them what they thought about PreP the stigma around it, access to its side effects to it when they take it. Things that they liked about it, like how do they encourage some of their other friends to take it? And also just getting a better sense of why they think that them as a group are at high risk for acquiring HIV as well? We also interviewed a lot of the key players that are working at Pamoja, specifically at the CBO, just to understand from CBO base level, like what challenges that they might face as staff members, as facilitators of this program, like what kind of challenges that they ran up against. We also interviewed some of the local chiefs and local government leaders to see how they perceived the dreams program and promote a CPO. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:14:46] Let's switch gears just a little bit, though. Now in Botswana, you're working with the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute, right? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:14:53] Yeah. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:14:53] Can you tell us about that and your role with them right now? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:14:57] Yeah. So the Botswana Harvard AIDS Partnership Institute is a very prominent research group in Botswana and have around Botswana. It was originally started in 2014, and it was really looking at the impact of HIV and ART on pregnancy and birth outcomes. It is a really robust data set, they collect information about 18 government run maternity wards throughout Botswana and its captures about 45 percent of all deliveries in Botswana. And so it's a very rich, very robust data set. So it really looks at causes of maternal morbidity and mortality and also adverse birth outcomes like preterm birth, stillbirth, small for gestational age, different indicators of negative effects of maybe the HIV infection or other things that might be related to it. And my role right now as a research fellow, my original research project was looking at birth outcomes stratified by HIV status in Botswana. All teenagers in different countries. They is special population where a lot of times our health care gets missed. There hasn't really been that many studies done, just looking at the impact of HIV in the adolescent girls and young women population. So that was the first project that I worked on, and we found that adolescents living with HIV, even if they were on treatment, still had worse birth outcomes than adolescents who did not have HIV. And so that was a significant finding, making it more important for us to push preventative measures for adolescent girls and young women to be provided with family planning, contraception, condoms, PrEP and things along the like so we can better protect them and help them live their lives the way that they want to live it without fear of acquiring HIV. Other products that I'm involved with is looking at the impact of COVID during pregnancy and I'm presenting that as an oral presentation at the Koroi conference. We are basically finding that women with COVID have worse birth outcomes, obviously, than women who don't have COVID. We saw a two fold increase in stillbirth among women who were COVID positive, but we didn't really find that much of a large difference when we stratified that based off of HIV status, we found that just having COVID in general automatically worsened your infant birth outcomes. We also found that women who are COVID positive had a 30 fold increase in maternal mortality, and we saw that that was significantly increased during the delta wave. And this could have been because of like a number of different factors. Botswana saw a high increase of COVID infections, which was really testing the hospital system. There is scarce resources and things along the like, so we can't really say if Delta was directly causing the increase in maternal mortality, but we definitely can say that it contributed along with the scarcity of resources and limited capacity of the hospitals. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:17:43] You're going back to Botswana soon. What are you going to do when you go back? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:17:46] I'm only going for two weeks this time just because of limited time that I have away from, like my clinical responsibilities and things I need to do here. But I plan on following up on some of the research projects that I have going on there. I collaborated with Dr. Rebecca Luckett at out of BI looking at different causes of maternal morbidity and mortality at Princess Marina and. And so I'm kind of helping her lead that project. So I want to check in with our research assistants and see how the data collection is going and all of those things in the same light of just maintaining connections and fostering relationships and making sure everyone on the research study that I'm a part of everything is going smoothly and giving them adequate support. It's nice just to go and just support them, even if it's for a short period of time. And so I'll be helping with some of the data cleaning and things along those sites with the database because I know during intern year when I start, I probably won't be able to go back to Botswana for at least a year. And so I figured even if I can go for like two and a half three weeks, that would be more beneficial than me not going at all. And I really want to maintain those relationships and as best that I can, and I know that the way to do that is to just be as present as I can. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:18:54] So you've spent significant time in two African countries, Kenya and Botswana. Can you tell us a little bit about the differences between the two settings and the advantage or disadvantage of actually going to two different places rather than just going back to Kenya for your one year fellowship? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:19:13] Both countries are lovely. Everyone that have interacted with Kenya and Botswana have been so friendly and warm and open, like welcoming to me as this new person coming in trying just to help or just learn. I would say not help. I would say, honestly, I went to learn that this was like my main focus. They're both relatively one of the wealthier African countries, so I feel like I was privileged enough to have access to resources. So I feel like in that sense, my life wasn't drastically uprooted in the sense that I think a lot of people think. When you move to a country in Africa, one of the biggest differences that I can say about living in Botswana or living in Kenya is that in Kenya, I stay with a host family and I was living in the country. In Botswana I lived in the city, not with the host family, with other researchers. So in that sense, when I was in Kenya, I learned a lot more about the culture. I learned a lot more about what it's like to live there as like a local. It was an invaluable experience because of COVID. I wasn't really able to interact with a lot of local. Wanted people as much as I would like to just because of social distancing and lockdowns and curfews, and so that was something that I really missed about that experience. So enriching just integrate yourself into the culture. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:20:28] So how was the COVID pandemic handled in Botswana? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:20:31] It was handled by doing a lot of curfews and some lockdowns and travel restrictions. Fortunately, Botswana didn't get hit with the COVID pandemic until late, like it didn't really start or the numbers since are increasing it. I would say until like late 2020, early 2021. And so they were doing the lockdowns. You weren't really able to travel to like different regions of the country without having a specific verification like pass and just like a lot of masking and social distancing. And then once the vaccination rollout happened, then obviously people started to get their vaccines as well. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:21:08] Do you see a big difference to how it was handled there compared to here in the United States? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:21:12] No, they implemented a lot of the same measures. I would say that I didn't really see like too much of a difference. I think what I noticed seeing in the global health sphere, there's no better time to understand global health, better than being in a place during a global pandemic and getting to really understand what it means to be in the global north and the global south, or being in a low to middle income country and not having access to vaccines. I, fortunately, was able to get a fully vaccinated before I left for Botswana, and that was December of 2020 to January 2021. But most of the people that I knew when I was living there didn't get vaccinated until June or July of 2021. And a lot of these people were like doctors from different countries, like doing work in Botswana, researchers, even a lot of the local people. There was just no access to vaccines, and when there was, there was a small amount and they would go very quickly to the highest risk group being in that situation, sitting with my privilege and understanding that like, wow, there's still maybe 20 percent of the population is vaccinated. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:22:08] You've had this experience. What advice do you have for younger students, medical students or even undergraduate students who are just embarking or planning on going to medical school? What would you tell them if they were interested in global health? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:22:21] If you're interested in global health I would first encourage you to talk to a lot of people, a lot of potential mentors that are in the global health space because there are several different permutations of what a global health career looks like when people start global health, how they've transitioned into it or out of it, or what their goals of global health have been or are now or how they see them changing. So I think just understanding that global health doesn't mean just like, oh, you get to go to a different country to help people for three or four weeks, but that there's a lot of thought and intention that should be going behind why you're going to a certain country and why you're doing what you're doing. Just having that intention or understanding the thought behind those intentions, I think is really important before you even start, before you even think about doing a project, so not getting too far ahead of yourself. What that understanding, if you're still interested in the hard work that goes behind a career or in global health, then definitely seek out those experiences. Look at doing your four to six week experience. Maybe if you are still interested after that, apply for a Fogarty or Fulbright Fellowship. Maybe go back to the same country at fostering those relationships, doing those things of the like. The more contacts that you have with the same organization or the same country, it becomes a more enriching experience for you. But also you get to see how you're helping the people on the ground and how your work can actually be having a direct impact on patient care or new discoveries and whatever field of research that you're in. Just thinking about it in that sense and don't shy away from opportunities because they might be scary or hard, because in most times you'll have a lot of research mentors to help you along the way. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:23:53] We we always encourage as much as possible continuity. Like a lot of M1s the first year medical students at fourth year medical students do rotations, and a lot of times they do both. And we always encourage continuity. We think it's the best way going forward. Another area that you're very active in is advocating for underrepresented minorities in medicine. And how has that played in with your work? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:24:18] I feel like the disparity of even getting into medicine, the landscape of medicine is so stark. I mean, there are barriers from the get go for a lot of black and brown students to even get into the field of medicine. Not specifically just that the doctor part, but nurses, respiratory therapists X, Y and Z. And so I have been really passionate about just giving young people exposure and to like, what an idea, a career in the health care field, to even look like. A lot of the issues that I'm finding with them, with us, or just with the population that I work with the adolescent girls and young women, it's just access to opportunity. Like one, the opportunity to get PreP right? The opportunity to have good antenatal care, the opportunity to be seen by the correct health care professional really translates to pre-med kids. Like, do you have the exposure to the mentors? Do you have the exposure to being in the clinical field or just different health care settings like. I feel like a lot of people put pressure on themselves that it's doctor or nothing, but there are so many valuable careers in other aspects of health care that don't people don't have the access or the vision to because they don't see themselves doing it. The piece of education and providing people with education so they can make informed decisions is really parallel. And like both populations that I work in. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:25:34] Question about your overall person and the importance of, I mean, you work very hard. Medical school is tough. You did all these international rotations, but there's there's more to life than medicine and going to school and doing research projects. Can you tell us a little bit about any kind of your hobbies or interests outside of medicine and how that affects you? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:25:54] Yeah. So one of the hobbies that I have now, I'm a big runner now. And so that's been there for the past three years. I run with this group called Gumbo Fit. It's a black and brown run club out of Hyde Park. And now I'm one of the co-directors of the run club really giving black and brown runners the opportunity to experience running in long distance races, half marathons, marathons, things along the lake and yeah, just introducing new, more people to the sport of running, which has been really exciting. I've become better over the past three years. I'm now part of this, like sub-elite woman's racing team called the Wind Runners, so that's been fun to get better. And then it takes a lot of my time. So when I'm not doing global health work or  research or clinical stuff, I'm running a lot of miles on lakefront path, like a lot of miles. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:26:39] I just have one last question for you. You're going to be graduating in just a few months and you're going to be heading somewhere to do your residency. What's the next chapter of your life and where do you see yourself five years from now? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:26:54] I will be. I would have graduated from pediatric residency, which is crazy right now. If you asked me today, I'm really interested in pursuing a career in adolescent medicine. So I guess in that point of time, I'd be an adolescent medicine fellow somewhere in the world and hopefully still my global health work during residency. It might be put on the back burner, at least for the first year or two as I get my feet wet and just learn how to become a pediatrician. But I really hope to continue fostering those relationships during residency. So when I'm done, I can continue doing either clinical work or research work, depending on how things go because I'm open to change. But hopefully back in Botswana and seeing how things go, where in the country I will be, I don't know. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:27:33] What about 10 years from now? 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:27:35] Wow. Dr. Murphy, you are really pushing my ability to dream. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:27:39] You've been doing so good. You've been doing pretty good so far. I know these are kind of loaded questions, but you know, when you're thinking about your career, what happens is everyone is studying so hard in medical school, so consuming and residency is consuming. People forget where they want to end up. I mean, ultimately, one day you finish all this training and you're either going to end up working clinically, you're going to be working internationally, you're going to have the academic, have a lab or work for an NGO or the government or whatever any of that in your cloud 10 years from now?

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:28:13] So many options. I mean, I've toyed with the idea of working with an NGO. There's so many different ways that I could go. I could see myself doing part clinical, part research. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:28:24] Well, I'll tell you when you get in your fellowship or any kind of postdoctoral work, you know, if you're at a good place and have your good mentors and you obviously know how to find them, they will help you with your career develop. It's called the Career Development Plan. You know, the point is it's OK to change your mind, too. I mean, you can say like you started off heading towards OBGYNie and you ended up in adolescent going towards adolescent medicine. That's fine. You have to find the right rail to get on a different path for everybody. So far, so good with you. 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:28:56] So far, so good. I've been getting lucky with my mentors. They've been leading me in the right direction, so it's been good. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:29:01] No, it's fantastic. And it's been really great to catch up with you after this time. And I've been so excited to really learn about all your experiences and review your paper and everything. And I want to just thank you for joining me today and good luck. Safe travels in the next couple of weeks to Botswana. And good luck on your match. I hope you get your top pick or at least your top three picks. And really, congratulations and thank you once again. 

Maya Jackson- Gibson [00:29:31] Yeah, thank you for this opportunity. It's been great. 

Rob Murphy, MD [00:29:39] Follow us on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts to hear the latest episodes and join our community that is dedicated to making a lasting positive impact on global health.


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