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Protecting Health, Saving Lives—Millions at a Time

Jung-Im Shin

Jung_Im Shin

Who would have thought that I would end up at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health? Certainly not me …

I did everything “by the book”: went to Seoul National University for medical school, did 1 year of internship, 4 years of residency and 1 year of fellowship in Internal Medicine at Seoul National University Hospital. All that changed when I volunteered with Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Cambodia, where I worked as a physician in the refugee camps run by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

When I was faced with the reality of refugees, everything that I took granted for myself was thrown out the window, and I started to view everything differently. In a way, I was “reborn” and developed a keen interest in caring for the poorest and the most disadvantaged. With my husband, this new interest has led me to Brazil, Sierra Leone and Uganda during the last two years.

Everywhere I went, however, I was faced with the harsh realities of non-existing or barely-functioning healthcare systems in developing countries. I also realized that if I really want to become effective in providing adequate health care to the poor and the disadvantaged, I needed to broaden my horizon. I needed to think outside of my comfort zone of treating patients individually, and to start evaluating and implementing new approaches to health care from a more macro-level.

At Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, I plan to focus on the global health issues, especially concerning effective delivery of affordable and reliable healthcare systems in developing countries. I believe Bloomberg School of Public Health is the right place to achieve my objectives.