Nina Gummadi, a third-year medical student at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has received a Fulbright Scholar Award to India. A Fulbright Scholar Award is one of the highest honors the federal government gives with regard to scholarship and international exchange. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. Born and raised in the metro Atlanta area until she was 10, Gummadi moved to India, living with her grandparents and siblings until she was 14. She then returned to Georgia to attend high school. Her four years in India were critical to her decision to pursue a Fulbright and spend a year in her parents' homeland.
Gummadi attended Boston University and received her undergraduate degree in medical sciences with a minor in anthropology. While interning at the Access Campaign at Doctors without Borders in Geneva, Switzerland, Gummadi was inspired by the global advocacy efforts for equitable health systems. As a medical student, she has served as a student leader for the Pediatrics Education & Development Society and PumpStart, a service learning group that teaches community CPR to Boston's high school students. In addition, Gummadi was the founder of the service learning branch of CALM (Cuddling Assists in Lowering Maternal and Infant Stress) a project to provide non-pharmacological care to infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome when caregivers are unavailable. Gummadi is also the BUSM delegate to the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Pediatrics Trainees.
Her Fulbright research aims to characterize mental health issues, as well as barriers to mental health care, in orphaned or otherwise abandoned children in India. The project will provide a basis on which screening protocols and interventions can be created for this at-risk population.
As part of her project, Gummadi has partnered with HEAL (Health and Education for All), a community organization that provides shelter, healthcare, education and support to underserved children in South India. The organization runs an orphanage that cares for more than over 1,000 children in the village of Thotapalli, where Gummadi will stay and complete her Fulbright research.
The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries, and it is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Since its beginnings in 1946, more than 360,000 Fulbrighters have participated in the Program, of whom a great number has resumed high leadership positions at university, state, community and industry levels.