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Sommer Scholars

Roger Samuels

Master of Public Health Student

Roger Samuels’ career-changing moment came in 2006 when, as a Peace Corps volunteer, he watched a 67-year-old physician from Minneapolis treat villagers in a remote section of Guatemala. Although the doctor couldn’t speak Spanish, he established therapeutic connections with his patients. Samuels, who was helping to translate, abandoned plans for a future in finance to study medicine. After a year of premed courses and research at Johns Hopkins University, he entered medical school here. Now Samuels wants to help improve problems he has encountered since then, whether they concern health care delivery in the U.S. or neglected tropical diseases (such as dengue fever and Chagas disease) that affect the world’s poorest people. “A sixth of the world—more than 1 billion people—is affected by one or more of these diseases,” he says. “For political or economic or scientific reasons, they don’t get the research attention that a lot of other areas of medicine do.” As a Sommer Scholar, Samuels wants to learn how to use statistical and epidemiological tools to confront complex problems. He is also considering how to apply those skills to prevent hospital readmissions in the U.S. “Knowing the role of doctors and hospitals at keeping people out of the hospital is as important an outcome as choosing the right antibiotic or doing the right surgery.” 0: Total number of team wins in Samuels’ first season attempting to coach youth basketball