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Sommer Scholars

Fidel Desir, PhD, MPH

  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • MPH '14

As a budding public health professional, Fidel Desir thought that by working in developing countries, he would have ample opportunity to make discernible and lasting differences. Before long, however, his perspective shifted. “Going in, my mentality was that with so many things that need to be fixed there, there’d be so many ways to make a difference,” Desir says. “But it ended up being the biggest challenge in my life. Because, in reality, when there are so many things wrong, it’s actually more difficult to make an impact; there is so much to do if you really want to create change.” Born in the Dominican Republic, Desir moved to Puerto Rico as a child. At 18, he traveled to the United States to attend Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied French and biology. Currently an MD-PhD student at Johns Hopkins, Desir pursued a master's degree in public health in hopes of cultivating his public health skills.“The experience that solidified my decision to pursue public health was when I returned to the Dominican Republic during the summer after my sophomore year and worked on an HIV prevention and education initiative with pregnant women,” Desir says. “It was amazing seeing how just a small amount of information and education could curtail so many problems.”

Current Position

MD Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine