Timothee Fruhauf spent 15 months starting in 2012 working as a research assistant with the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health. During that time, he traveled to seven developing nations, helping to design a platform to collect high-quality data on family planning indicators using mobile phones (Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020).
“I was confronted with numerous barriers to care regarding women’s control over their fertility,” says Fruhauf. “So many women in resource-poor settings were unaware of—or unable to access—contraceptive methods that would allow them to safely decide when and whether to have a child.”
When he returned to Baltimore in 2013 to begin medical school at Johns Hopkins University, he was amazed when he noticed that marginalized populations in Baltimore were facing similar family planning struggles.
“Undocumented, uninsured women excluded from care were being robbed of their fertility choices,” notes Fruhauf. The women he encountered in Baltimore and abroad inspired Fruhauf to pursue his Master of Public Health degree and an OB-GYN residency after medical school.
“We’re often told that public health and medicine are worlds apart in terms of approaches and strategies,” says Fruhauf. “I’m looking forward to the Sommer Scholars program exposing me to leaders who have a foot in both worlds and helping me bridge the two disciplines to more tangibly impact underserved women.”
As a future OB-GYN, Fruhauf intends to identify major bottlenecks to the successful implementation of international family planning interventions, and scale up the promising ones. Individual interactions with patients in resource-poor communities will help him figure out how to prevent unwanted pregnancies and answer unmet contraceptive needs.
“The Bloomberg School will give me tools to disentangle health determinants, evaluate population-level interventions and go beyond my medical training to serve disenfranchised populations,” Fruhauf says.
Resident Physician, Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins Hospital