Stephanie Alden


What inspired you to volunteer with GO?

Prior to starting medical school I spent a year working at Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative in Gaborone, Botswana. While I was there, I had the opportunity to shadow and do research in the Pediatric Oncology unit at Princess Marina Hospital, the largest referral hospital in the country. My research was looking at factors influencing diagnostic delays of pediatric cancers in Botswana, a major contributor to the unbelievable disparity in survival outcomes between high-income (HICs) and low- and middle- income countries (LMICs). When I got to Boston for medical school and was exposed to the work being done at DFCI, I realized that regardless of how incredible the medical breakthroughs in cancer research and precision medicine are, they won’t mean as much if they can never reach the countries that need them the most. When I found the GO community and realized there was an incredible group of people working on exactly these issues, I knew I had to be involved!

What is your role as a GO volunteer?

I serve as a co-leader of Harvard Medical School’s Global Oncology-Young Professionals Alliance (GO-YP). As a GO-YP leader, I help to organize events that foster HMS students’ interest in global oncology and draw attention to the growing cancer burden worldwide. Additionally, we help undergraduate and graduate students set up GO-YP chapters at other universities.

When you’re working on a GO project, what most energizes you and why?

I am most energized by seeing my classmates, who are sometimes less familiar with this topic, grapple with, sometimes for the first time, challenges and strategies for delivering high quality healthcare in low resource settings. My class at HMS is full of incredibly thoughtful and intelligent future leaders in medicine and it has been inspiring to see them engage with these issues early on in their medical careers.

What do you gain from this experience?

Some people describe medical school like “drinking from a fire hose” and to be perfectly honest, it’s not a bad comparison. We are taught so much information during the first few years and while it is all fascinating, it is easy to get lost in the late nights studying the specific details of pathophysiology. Being part of GO, and more specifically GO-YP, has allowed me to remember why I came to medical school in the first place and exposed me to mentors doing incredible work in the field of global oncology.

Kendall Carpenter
MD Candidate 2021
Harvard Medical School

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