Fadzai Chinyengetere, PhD’13, ’15 Syvertsen Fellow
Fellow Will Combine Research and Clinical Practice to Broaden Impact of Patient Care

Fadzai Chinyengetere grew up in Zimbabwe, a small developing nation in Africa ravaged by HIV/AIDS, where she witnessed the devastation in her community and immediate family.  

“At a young age, this strongly motivated me to aspire to become a medical doctor and join efforts to reduce the suffering and mortality caused by AIDS,” Chinyengetere says. “Two decades later, I’ve been fortunate to pursue this dream, thanks to the unique opportunity that I’ve had to come to the U.S. and train in science and medicine. I hope to maintain both the clinical and research components of my career as an opportunity to broaden my impact by caring for patients both in the clinic as well as through my research.” 

Chinyengetere joined the MD/PhD dual degree program at the Geisel School of Medicine and earned her PhD in June 2013. As part of her PhD studies, she was involved in research on cancer therapies under the guidance of Dr. Ethan Dmitrovsky in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. She co-authored four research articles that were published in professional medical journals, and was the first author of a paper that she presented at the Targeting the Ubiquitin Pathway conference in Boston, Mass., in 2012, and at the American Association of Cancer Research Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., in 2013.

Through her studies, Chinyengetere has determined that specializing in internal medicine will enable her to serve the majority of patients and families in need of medical care in her homeland. She plans to draw on her biomedical research skills to practice innovative approaches to healthcare delivery.

“I am exceptionally passionate about healthcare and innovation in medical treatment through research for diseases that are prevalent in my community, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa,” she says. “I believe that simple innovations in healthcare can have a substantial impact in overcoming the shortages in resources and personnel that often underlie the continued suffering and lack of progress there.”

As a student, Chinyengetere has focused her attention on caring for minority and other medically underserved populations in the region.  She worked with Geisel’s Multicultural Affairs Office to assist in efforts to recruit minority medical students and organize the school’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, which highlights healthcare issues that affect underrepresented groups. At the Burlington (Vermont) Refugee Clinic, Chinyengetere was involved in panel discussions and outreach to educate refugees about a variety of health issues. She also volunteered for the local Women’s Information Service (WISE) to provide support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“Globally, these underserved populations share the same spectrum of diseases that mirror those in my own community,” Chinyengetere says. “I believe that as a physician scientist, I have the potential to have a huge impact by serving these populations through simple and cost-effective public health programs.”

Learn more about the Syvertsen Awards here.

January 2014

Read more student profiles