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The Paul S. Lietman Johns Hopkins Medicine International Scholars for 2016

a group photo of the lietman scholars

Meet the 19 international student recipients of the Paul S. Lietman Johns Hopkins Medicine International Scholarship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. These medical students are among the dozens of international students who have benefited from the scholarship since its 2012 inception.  

The scholarship was named in honor of the late Paul S. Lietman, who led the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Division of Clinical Pharmacology for almost 30 years. He also served as director of research and education at Johns Hopkins Singapore upon its opening in 1998. Subsequently, he led academic relations for Johns Hopkins Medicine, establishing relationships with schools and hospitals in Lebanon, China and Trinidad and Tobago. He died in 2013 at the age of 79.

Johns Hopkins Medicine International leaders consider the scholarship a truly special opportunity to give back—to further the promise of medicine and expand the mission and knowledge of Johns Hopkins Medicine globally.

“This is truly the joy of my life,” says Pamela Paulk, Johns Hopkins Medicine International president. “It’s good to see the generations behind us growing and having opportunities that might not otherwise have been available to them. We at JHI are so pleased that we are able to help.”


 

 

Award Recipients

Clarissa Diniz (Class of 2018) 
 

Diniz

Hometown: Recife, Brazil

Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine? 
The Johns Hopkins University has always been my dream medical school. I came here for a high school summer program and fell in love with the institution. The people, the resources, and the continuous medical innovation inspired me to apply. The final decision to attend came after meeting the amazing faculty members and students who modeled the type of physician I want to becomecompassionate, brilliant and scientifically driven. 

Why did you choose to study medicine? 
What drove me into medicine specifically was my first shadowing experience in a university hospital in Brazil. I loved the physician-patient interaction, the direct application of scientific knowledge to improve someone’s life and well-being, and the fun of being in the operating room. 

What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here? 
During our first two years of medical school, we work one-on-one with a practicing physician and see their patients one afternoon a week. One of my patients was HIV positive and he was coming in for his six-month checkup. He shared that he abstained from being sexually active for the past three years because he did not want to get someone else infected with HIV. I was then able to educate him that given his HIV markers and as long as he always used condoms, his chances of transmitting HIV to someone else were extremely, extremely low. Even though this conversation happened two years ago, I still remember his facial expression after we had that conversation.

What’s next?
My future plans are to become an academic physician in the American medical system, caring for my patients, serving my community and using scientific research to better understand and treat human diseases.


 

Erinola Araoye (Class of 2020)
 

testimgaoye

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria and Edmonton, Canada

 Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?
I decided to attend Johns Hopkins because of the tremendous range of opportunities available to students in medicine and research. I knew that by coming here, I would be provided with all the resources needed to succeed as a physician or researcher while also being able to serve a diverse population.
 
Why did you choose to study medicine?
I choose to study medicine because I am passionate about serving others when they are most vulnerable. Also, being from a country where standard health care is lacking made me realize the importance of health care from a young age. 
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here?
My most memorable experience so far has been shadowing doctors at different departments in the hospital and interacting with patients as early as my first semester. Seeing the positive impacts being made by the doctors here continues to reassure me about my decision to pursue a career in medicine.
 
What’s next?
As a first-year student, I am still exploring my options in the field. I am interested in areas involving autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatology, as well as pediatrics and dermatology. I plan to work within communities and countries that are underserved. 
 

Afshin Ameri (Class of 2018)

Ameri

Hometown: Natanz, Iran

Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?
Johns Hopkins brings together the best of the best in every field in medicine, and it has always been a dream to be part of this historical institution.
 
Why did you choose to study medicine?
I initially chose medicine because it brings together everything I find exciting in life: intellectual stimulation, problem solving and a direct impact on lives of patients. I wake up excited every morning to go to the hospital.
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here?
Our preceptor’s annual party is my favorite experience so far. Every year she invites us to her home where we bake cookies with the help of our macro molecule and her children. We also see friends that we may not be able to see as often during the year. If I were to name one lesson Johns Hopkins has taught me above everything else, it's humility. When you see that people of such high academic and scientific credentials and accomplishments are so humble and personable, it helps you realize what kind of doctor you aspire to be.
 
What’s next?
I hope to become an interventional cardiologist one day. I think cardiology is an intellectually stimulating field with many engineering-heavy components. Fluid mechanics, circuitry and acoustics are only a few examples of how cardiology and engineering intersect. 

Rui Han Liu (Class of 2020)
 

Liu

Hometown: Calgary, Canada

Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?
I wanted the opportunity to learn from and work with leading experts in their respective medical fields. There is also a sense of pride in attending an institution that pioneered many techniques in medicine and really revolutionized medical education. 
 
Why did you choose to study medicine?
I chose to study medicine initially because of my fascination with human anatomy and physiology. However, as I spent more time volunteering in a clinical setting, I began to recognize and loathe the feeling of helplessness in my interactions with patients. I realized then that I want to become a physician so that I would be able tell a patient how I can help them get better, or at least how to alleviate their suffering. 
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here?
The most memorable experience I’ve had since studying here is the anatomy block. For the first seven weeks of school, Monday to Friday, I spent two hours of my day learning from a cadaver. I saw the beauty, the intricacies, and the individuality of the human body. This experience affirmed for me that there was nothing I would rather do than medicine. 
 
What’s next?
I would like to pursue a residency in general surgery. Afterward, I would ideally like to work at an academic institution that emphasizes both the clinical and scientific aspects of medicine. 

Oluseye Oduyale (Class of 2020)
 

Oduyale
Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria and Ontario, Canada
 
Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine? 
It was obvious to me that Johns Hopkins was an institution where I would be surrounded by great minds who would not only inspire me, but provide me with the resources and mentorship to achieve new heights. These accomplishments would eventually enable me to also lend a hand to and inspire those around me.
 
Why did you choose to study medicine?
For as long as I remember, I was told I would be a doctor. In grade 12, I was slapped by naiveté when my uncle asked “Why medicine?” I had never pondered the question. I eventually babbled about how magical it was to heal people. In truth, I consider surgery to be the most profoundly hands-on way to help others.
 
What’s next?
With the standard of living rising in many developing countries, more people grow old with poor health care systems. I want to raise awareness about and reduce the impact of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in developing regions. To achieve that purpose, I plan to become a cardiothoracic surgeon and eventually move back to Nigeria or another underserved regions. 
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here?
Beginning school with an anatomy class remains my most memorable experience at Johns Hopkins so far. Diving right into the human body was literally eye-opening. Not just that, but I believe having cadavers as our first patients set the stage up perfectly for the rest of my medical education. I remember thinking “This is it. I’m finally here. It has begun.” 

Marc Shi (Class of 2019)
 

Shi

Hometown: Toronto, Canada

Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?
I chose Johns Hopkins because I wanted to be in Baltimore, a city that was grappling with issues of social change and social justice. I believed that being at Johns Hopkins would provide me with the training necessary to engage in those issues as a physician. 
 
Why did you choose to study medicine?
I chose to study medicine because I see improving health as a way of addressing larger social inequalities. 
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here?
Over the past few months I've been working with the group United Workers, a community-led organization focused on fair development in Baltimore. Recently we talked to folks whose homes had been foreclosed on, or who were trying to re-negotiate their mortgages. 
 
It was a truly powerful experience hearing the stories of residents who were just trying to stay in their homes and finding themselves unable to do so. As a student I couldn’t help but think of all the ways that this housing insecurity could lead to downstream effects on their physical and mental health. 
 
What’s next?
I hope to end up in a primary care field, eventually engage in community-based care, and think about ways to integrate social and medical care. 
 

Oscar Reyes Gaido (Class of 2020)
 

Gaido

Hometown: Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine? 
As an undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins, I became quite familiar with the breathtaking research, passionate faculty members and nurturing community at the school of medicine. Attending medical school here will grant me the training to continue this institution’s mission of providing world-class patient care and performing groundbreaking science. In addition, I look forward to continuing my commitment to the Baltimore Latino community, which still faces many challenges in health care access.
 
Why did you choose to study medicine?
My upbringing in Tegucigalpa, Honduras allowed me to witness the effects of poverty, scarcity and violence within communities. This sparked an early desire to address these disparities. However, it was not until my undergraduate years that I realized that medicine was my calling. Ultimately, I chose to study medicine to be able to make a personal impact on my patients, while also making a global impact as a scientist.
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here?
Interpreting for the Baltimore police commissioner at a town hall conversation between law enforcement officials and the local Latino community was one of my most memorable experiences. It was a fantastic feeling to facilitate open communication between public servants and the community. This was especially gratifying since it gave the Latino community a rare opportunity to voice its concerns regarding the language barrier and cultural sensitivity.
 
What’s next?
I look forward to completing my training as part of the M.D.-Ph.D. program at Hopkins. I am currently very interested in studying metabolic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, particularly due to their burden on the Latino population. I hope to stay in academia and spend my time taking care of patients and advancing therapeutic research in this field.
 

Kellen Knowles (Class of 2018)
 

Hometown: Nassau, Bahamas

Knowles
Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?
I was really impressed by Johns Hopkins’ strong international presence and its illustrious history of clinical and research excellence. I also appreciate the diverse community that Johns Hopkins serves. I also share the values that Johns Hopkins stands for: providing the same world-class health care for everyone regardless of their background.
 
Why did you choose to study medicine?
To keep it simple, I love people and health care affects everyone. I also like to solve problems creatively, and both the clinical practice of medicine and the administrative delivery of medicine present problems that need solving. Having a background in engineering, I am very interested in the way medical devices augment and improve clinical practice. 
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here?
I remember my first inpatient experience, which happened when I was on my psychiatry rotation at the beginning of third year. There was a transition that occurred when I began to see the way patients responded to my white coateven though it was a short one! They associated me with their treatment team, and began to trust me and open up. 
 
There was a sense of responsibility and accountability that rose inside of me those first weeks. I felt more alive. It felt right. It was a feeling that reminded me why I went into medicine, the hope that I could actually make a difference in a patient’s life.  
 
What’s next?
In the future, I hope to pursue interventional neuroradiology. I also see myself helping to one day run a hospital and/or medical school somewhere either in Europe or the Middle East, in a place where there are critical health care needs. 

Rohan Bajaj (Class of 2020)

Bajaj


Hometown: Vancouver, Canada

Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?
During college, some of my classes consisted of over 1,200 individuals. Therefore, when selecting a medical school, I prioritized a high faculty member-to-student ratio.
When I first came to Johns Hopkins for my interview day, I was drawn to the institution’s commitment to biomedical excellence in terms of both research and education. Beyond that, I instantly felt a sense of community while talking to current students, faculty members and staff members. People here are driven by a common commitment to serving others through medicine, a vision that I am excited to be a part of.
 
Why did you choose to study medicine?
No other profession allows me to combine my passions for scientific inquiry, collaborative problem solving and social justice and service. 
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here?
Within the second week of school, I performed orthopaedic surgery on a cadaver’s ankle with real surgical equipment, was able to speak with Nobel Laureate laureate Dr.Carol Grieder, and saw Oprah Winfrey in front of the dome. This experience feels surreal, and I’m humbled to be a part of the Johns Hopkins community. 
 
What’s next?
I am unsure of my future plans at this point in time. However, I’m confident that a Johns Hopkins medical degree will support me in all my endeavors.

Nymisha Chilukuri (Class of 2017)

Chiluku

Hometown: Toronto, Canada
 
Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?  
I chose to attend Johns Hopkins because of its dedication to clinical excellence, opportunities for mentorship and research, and the incredible sense of camaraderie I experienced on my interview day between among staff members, faculty members and students. 
 
Why did you choose to study medicine? 
Through my grandfather, who is a physician in rural India, I learned how important it is that a physician is dedicated to delivering personalized medicine, with a socio-cultural understanding of the patient. It was both the excitement to practice the art of medicine, balanced with addressing its challenges that drove me to be pursue a career in medicine.
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here? 
The most meaningful experience I have had in medical school was pursuing a year of research. During this year, I had the opportunity to meet incredible, engaging, supportive and meaningful lifelong mentors, who have shaped me on a professional and personal level. I also got the opportunity to collaborate on a research team on two meaningful public health and clinical research projects within pediatrics. 
 
What’s next?
I am planning to be a pediatric academic clinician focused on research in clinical research and/or public health. I hope to work at a major academic center either in the United States or Canada. 

Alvaro Ibaseta (Class of 2020)
 

Fidalgo
Hometown:  Gijón, Spain
 
Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?  
I was attracted by the combination of cutting-edge research, clinical exposure and community service opportunities Hopkins offers. I think this variety is unmatched anywhere in the world, and it deeply resonates with my interests. 
 
Why did you choose to study medicine? 
My research in spacecraft design as a graduate student at Stanford University highlighted the complexity of the human body, and I decided to enroll in biology classes to learn more. I became fascinated by human anatomy and physiology. Eventually, my initial academic interest together with very rewarding experiences in medical research and community service prompted me to redirect my energies from engineering to medicine, a field that appeals both to my scientific mind and my desire to have a concrete, lasting impact on human lives.
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here? 
As a volunteer for the Latino Medical Student Association, I recently served as Spanish interpreter at an event called “Unidos y Seguros,” in which members of the local hispanic community shared their experiences with the police, and high-level representatives from the Baltimore Police Department and U.S. Department of Justice. I got to hear and translate very moving stories from community members, and found it very rewarding to be able to use my skills to help others. 
 
What’s next?
I would like to pursue a career in orthopedic surgery, and continue to explore my diverse interests in research, clinical work and community service. I would also like to collaborate with Spanish physicians and institutions in the future, and use my background to help the American and Spanish health care systems learn from each other. 

Chengcheng Gui (Class of 2019)
 

Gui

Hometown:  Winnipeg, Canada

Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?  
I chose the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine based on its reputation for impactful medical research, the advice of a mentor who is an alumnus of the medical school and the fact that I really felt valued during early interactions with the people I met here.
 
Why did you choose to study medicine? 
I wanted to pursue a career that provides interesting intellectual challenges on a daily basis, while allowing me to form personal relationships with the people who might benefit from my work. Also, medicine was presented to me as an extremely diverse field with opportunities that suit all skills and interests.
 
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here? 
Last year, I was part of a team of medical students that planned a health fair for members of the East Baltimore community. The day of the fair was fulfilling, not only due to the satisfaction of seeing our organizational efforts pay off, but because we had the opportunity to talk with many of the attendees and gain a better sense of the health care needs of their community.
 
What’s next?
I hope to enter a field that is intellectually rigorous and involves forming personal relationships with patients. I think it’s best to keep an open mind at this early stage, but I currently have a particular interest in radiation oncology, based on my clinical research experiences over the past year and interactions with physicians. 

Eric Jia Yi Xu   (Class of 2019)
 

Xu
Hometown:  Vancouver, Canada.
 
Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?  
I wanted to be at a place that celebrates both the art and science of medicine. As someone who enjoys stories and thinking about pathophysiology, I chose Johns Hopkins so that I would be able to nurture these interests under the guidance of the best physicians out there.
 
Why did you choose to study medicine? 
Everyone deserves a second chance, especially in times of illness. In medicine, I found a unique opportunity to help patients overcome their diseases or face them with steadfast resolve.
 
What’s next?
I'd like to stay in the United States. I’ve realized that life really takes you on some unexpected turns, so I don't want to commit myself too early to any specialty or practice setting.
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here? 
We've had some really fantastic blocks in our Genes to Society curriculum. Renal and cardio were probably my favorite. I’ve been so moved by the boundless passion our course directors have had for their work and for teaching.

Tony Su (Class of 2020)
 

Su
Hometown:  Huhhot, China and Toronto, Canada 
 
Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?  
Prior to medical school, I worked for three years as a health care consultant specializing in health economics and market access. In choosing a medical school, I wanted to pursue my medical education at an institution that affords me the opportunity to pursue impactful research in public health and health outcomes as well. Johns Hopkins’ strength in both medical and public health research is thus an ideal fit of for my interests.     
 
Why did you choose to study medicine? 
During my undergraduate studies, I participated in, led, and founded student organizations dedicated to providing health screening services to underserved individuals. The experience exposed me to the challenges in mitigating barriers to health care access and inspired me to pursue a career in medicine and service.  
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here? 
The Lietman scholarship reception! I was really amazed and inspired by the profound reach and impact of Johns Hopkins Medicine International in communities around the globe, and I am looking forward to contributing to these endeavors during medical school. 
 
What’s next?
I want to pursue a career in which I can combine clinical practice and research in health outcomes and policy. 

Dane Moran (Class of 2017)
 

Moran
 

Hometown:  Coffs Harbour, Australia

Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine? 
I chose Johns Hopkins because of the high quality of research that is conducted, excellent clinical training, and close affiliation with the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
 
Why did you choose to study medicine?
At the age of 15, I had chronic back issues that prevented me from playing tennis and from even walking at one point. After one year of physical therapy rehabilitation, I was able to resume playing tennis again, which allowed me to come to the United States to play college tennis. Through this experience, I realized the transformative power of medicine and became convinced this is what I wanted to do for a living.
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here? 
I really enjoyed working on quality improvement projects at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare in Saudi Arabia. I was in Saudi Arabia for one month assisting with these research projects. I love learning from other cultures and enjoy trying to solve problems in different settings.
 
What’s next?
I am applying for residency in emergency medicine in the United States. I would like to work internationally once I finish my residency training.

Lyonell Kone (Class of 2017)
 

Kone
Hometown: Waterloo, Belgium
 
Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?  
I had the opportunity to join the Johns Hopkins institution as an undergraduate student. During those years, the dedication and passion towards patient care, research and community outreach from medical students, medical residents and physicians at Johns Hopkins was unlike anything I had ever seen. It instilled in me a strong desire to learn from such an incredible group of people. The strong commitment of Johns Hopkins toward the underserved population of Baltimore has always been inspiring and a significant reason for pursuing my medical degree here.
 
Why did you choose to study medicine? 
I have been raised by parents that who always believed strongly in contributing giving back to society. At a very early age, it was clear to me that medicine would be a perfect avenue for me to contribute to society by providing the best possible medical care to patients while maintaining a strong sense of compassion and empathy for them. 
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here? 
The greatest gift that Johns Hopkins offered to me was the opportunity to meet the most intelligent, passionate, driven, confident, unique and endearing woman in my life. At the end of my third year of medical school, we got married amongst her family from New Haven, Connecticut, my family from Belgium, and our shared friends and classmates from the school of medicine.     
 
What’s next?
I am applying to general surgery residency programs and hope to become a compassionate and excellent surgeon who will contribute to the medical field through clinical and translational research. I have a specific interest in surgical oncology but hope to explore all fields of general surgery prior to specializing in a single field.  

 

Deshwar

 

Amar Deshwar (Class of 2019)
 

Hometown: Calgary, Canada
 
Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine? 
There were many reasons, but one that stood out for me is the history of Johns Hopkins. To be accepted by a school that has trained so many incredible figures in medicine is a great honor, and one that I couldn’t pass up.
 
Why did you choose to study medicine?
Medicine to me always seemed like a career where you could both give back and contribute positively to your community, while also challenging yourself intellectually every day.
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here? 
Four of my best friends and I play in a med school band together called Cauda Equina. I have always loved singing and playing guitar. Now that I get to do both of those more than I had in medical school has been an unexpected, but very welcome surprise. 
 
What’s next?
For right now, I am not sure! I am interested in surgery, and I am looking forward to gaining a better understanding of its demands on rotations starting this spring. In university, global health and development was a major focus of mine, so I am hopeful to be able to work within the field no matter what I specialize in.

Karun Arora (Class of 2017)
 

Arora
Hometown:  Chandigarh, India, but grew up in Budapest, Hungary 
 
Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?
A major factor was my realization that regardless of the specialty I ended up choosing, Johns Hopkins would provide me the best possible resources, training, and connections necessary to hopefully become a future leader in that field. 
 
Why did you choose to study medicine? 
I came to Johns Hopkins for undergraduate studies initially considering a career in biotechnology research. By sophomore year, however, I knew that engaging in research alone would not satisfy me. After completing my undergraduate studies, I started working as a clinical researcher at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. Here, with the incredible support and guidance of my mentor, Dr. David Friedman, I was able to successfully combine my interests in research and patient care in a way that was deeply satisfying for me. 
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here? 
Being part of the Hilton Cataract Initiative, an ambitious, large-scale project using an innovative approach to deliver sustainable cataract services to Sub-Saharan Africa was a memorable experience. I traveled to five partner eye hospitals in four Sub-Saharan African countries on two separate occasions to document the progress the Initiative had brought about at each center. The gratifying nature of this work, the exposure I gained, and the friends I made along the way have further strengthened my desire to continue working internationally.
 
What’s next?
I am currently applying for an ophthalmology residency. Through my continued work at the Wilmer Eye Institute, I have been exposed to the potential impact of international development work and research in ophthalmology. Based on my experiences, I am looking forward to a career where I am able to restore vision for patients while engaging in research and international work to improve vision outcomes for a larger number of people.

Anh Quynh Nguyen (Class of 2019)
 

Nguyen
Hometown: Hanoi, Vietnam
 
Why did you select the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?
I was impressed by Johns Hopkins’ renowned reputation for being one of the best hospitals and biomedical research facilities, and the [faculty’s] dedication to medical education left me with a deep impression during my medical school application journey. 
 
Why did you choose to study medicine?
I grew up in a complex neighborhood in Hanoi, Vietnam, where my parents both practice medicine at the small clinic they made out of our living room. Growing up watching my parents dedicate their career to help people regardless of their life circumstances inspired me to also be able to make an impact on others’ lives when I grew up.
 
What’s one of your most memorable experiences while studying here?
This summer, I worked on a clinical research project to assess the knowledge and attitude of HIV patients on HIV-positive to HIV-positive organ transplantation. It was my first time doing clinical research, and I enjoyed every aspect of it — designing the study, interviewing patients, learning data analysis, and working with multiple people in different teams.
 
What’s next?
I am currently interested in oncology and infectious diseases, but I am also keeping an open mind to explore other areas. I am interested in a career in academic medicine because of the wide variety of things I can do in academia. I also have a strong interest in global health and hope to one day contribute to the health care system in Vietnam and other developing countries.