Eda Akyar

Ankara, Turkey

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Career goal: Use training in public health to direct health education initiatives and to conduct research that will identify and resolve issues impacting community health.

Internship outline: Eda interned at the Infectious Diseases Section of Hacettepe University’s Medical School. She worked on two research projects concerning Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), a viral tick-borne disease. Her first project aimed to understand the epidemiology of CCHF in Turkey over a six-year period; the second project aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of ribavirin, a drug commonly used to treat CCHF. Eda’s duties included managing one of the world’s largest CCHF databases and analyzing results.

Value of experience: My experience in Turkey taught me the value of epidemiologic research in guiding public health programs. The results of my findings elucidated the condition of CCHF in Turkey and reiterated the importance of continued research to find more effective treatment options.

Best moment/experience: At the end of my internship, a patient concerned that he had contracted CCHF visited the office with a vial containing a tick that bit him two weeks prior. Despite tests and confirmation from doctors, the patient’s worry left him curious about the epidemiology of CCHF. After hearing about his frustration regarding unsuccessful attempts to find such information on the Internet, I offered the patient a brief report of our results and was pleased to see the relief it provided him.