“Because of this funding support, I have been able to extend my reach to vulnerable populations and work towards breaking down barriers caused by structural racism and inequity in access and treatment.”
—BISOLA OJIKUTU, MD, MPH
Through her work in sub-Saharan Africa and the United States, Bisola Ojikutu, MD, MPH, has seen firsthand how access to healthcare is limited by poverty, homelessness, and discrimination. These factors, she says, place individuals at a higher risk for infectious diseases such as HIV and COVID-19.
Ojikutu, a physician in the Brigham’s Division of Global Health Equity, has been able to advance her work to remedy health disparities thanks to a global health fellowship funded by anonymous donors. The donors, whose generosity established the fellowship in 2008, recently expanded their support with two new contributions. To date, their gifts have enabled more than 25 fellows, including Ojikutu, to bring their medical expertise to underserved populations.
“The pandemic has further highlighted the importance of developing new treatments and improving access
to healthcare and basic needs in the United States and around the world,” says one of the donors. “We are pleased to continue supporting this global health fellowship and physicians like Dr. Ojikutu.”
Ojikutu, who completed her training in infectious diseases through a Mass General Brigham program, is grateful for the donors’ generosity. She says, “This support has helped me to further my research goals, promote access to treatment and prevention of infectious diseases, and provide my patients with compassionate and culturally competent care.”
Currently, Ojikutu is focused on developing interventions to minimize HIV risk among immigrant women. She is also leading efforts to engage Black and Latinx communities in COVID-19 vaccine research—advocating for equity in clinical trial participation and vaccine access, understanding the reluctance to be vaccinated, and aiming to build trust and increase inoculations.
“Because of this funding support,” Ojikutu says, “I have been able to extend my reach to vulnerable populations and work towards breaking down barriers caused by structural racism and inequity in access and treatment.”