While many students spend April and May juggling the whirlwind of projects and activities that accompany the end of the school year, Samy Induni ’21 was busy tackling a worldwide issue. Following a lengthy preparation process, she and two teammates took first place in the Rural Health category at the Harvard College Global Health and Leadership Conference in April.
The conference is organized each year by the Harvard College VISION Global Health Society, and “encourages students to tackle issues in their local community by conducting evidence-based, cost-effective interventions that are impactful, sustainable, and reproducible initiatives,” according to the Society’s website. Since its founding in 2017 by alumnus Paul Lewis, it has brought together participants to attend various health-centered workshops and speeches throughout the two days, culminating in a case study competition with awards.
Samy first learned about the opportunity through Derryfield’s own Ms. Llewelyn. “The conference was an opportunity to meet other high schoolers who also have an interest in improving the global health of our world, and I was excited to attend,” she shared.
Once Samy and her teammates applied to the event, they launched into the extensive process of identifying an issue to address in their case study and designing their solution to it. “Preparation for the conference involved writing a ten-page research paper and creating a slideshow, which we would present at the conference,” Samy said. “Throughout the process, we had to think creatively in order to develop a new, original strategy to combat the health care challenge.”
The team ultimately decided to further explore the existing health care disparity between rural and urban populations. Through their research, they brainstormed two methods to address the issue: a national organization of mobile health clinics, which are “customized vehicles that travel into rural communities to provide prevention and healthcare services to vulnerable populations that normally experience barriers,” and telesurgery, which is “an emerging surgical system that utilizes wireless networking and robotic technology to connect surgeons and patients who are distantly located from one another, such as a surgeon in an urban hospital and a patient in a rural hospital.”
The common ground between the two proposals lay in the increasing prominence of technology in the field of healthcare. Not only does technology facilitate the sharing of information, but it saves money, a major concern in understaffed rural hospitals.
Once at the conference, Samy noted that “I enjoyed the presentations of individual projects conducted by fellow high school students, and it was interesting to see the different approaches in which others sought to improve global health.” A diverse cohort of students from around the country--and world--participated in the two-day event. After presenting their findings and being evaluated, Samy’s team was awarded first place in the Rural Health category.
The entire experience has reaffirmed Samy’s interests in science and medicine. “The conference has fueled my curiosity and my interest in the field of biology,” she said. “ Moving forward, I plan to explore the ways in which I am able to combat the growing health care challenges of our world.”