GHES U.S. Fellow 2013-2014
Fellowship site: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
US institution: UCSF
Research interest: Burden of chronic illnesses in slum communities
Dr. Rajan received his A.B. in Biology and Anthropology from Amherst College and his M.D. from the University of Rochester. He completed his residency training in internal medicine and specialty training in infectious diseases at the University of Washington. He is board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases. He is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Hospital Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and is based at San Francisco General Hospital.
Project: Approximately one quarter (1.6 billion persons) of the world’s population lives in urban slums. These communities share many common features including being unplanned, poorly connected to municipal infrastructure and stigmatized. These and other factors work in concert to create conditions conducive to poor health. In Brazil, slum communities are known as favelas and are found in all of its large cities, including Rio de Janeiro where this work will be conducted. There is a lack of high quality data about the burden of chronic illness in these communities, in part because of the difficulty of gathering such data in years past.
In this project, we will be working in concert with a public health clinic serving a large urban slum in Rio de Janeiro to attempt to begin to fill this data gap. We will begin with an assessment of the burden of hypertension. Community healthcare workers will use a newly developed mobile computing platform to gather data within the community. This process will allow us to generate high quality data while simultaneously engaging with the community and providing education on chronic illness.