Making Success Contagious: Empowering Medical Practitioners through Capacity Building

Assistant Professor of Biostatistics Bethany Hedt-Gauthier, PhD ’08, has built a successful academic career by helping people develop research skills needed to succeed as medical practitioners. Motivated by the chronic health problems of communities where she taught in Namibia, Bethany returned to school and completed a PhD in Biostatistics in the Department in 2008. She has gone on to nurture the research interests of multiple colleagues in Rwanda where she was based as a researcher advisor and visiting instructor.

Under her leadership, Inshuti Mu Buzima (IMB), Partners in Health’s sister organization, implemented a suite of research training activities ranging from using research in clinical work, to providing scholarships and mentorship in advanced training. One of the core elements of the program, Intermediate Operational Research Training (IORT), guides Rwandan trainees through the development of research protocols, data analysis, and manuscript writing, with the goal of building national research capacity. In 2015 Bethany received a Burke Fellowship to explore a set of research questions related to surgical care in Rwanda, all led by first-time Rwandan authors trained in the IORT program.

Also currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Bethany reflects on her journey in global health in an article from the Global Health Institute, and on the successes of those she has been proud to mentor.