Ashton Drake Hall
Ashton is an allopathic medical student at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA) and a recent graduate of the MSc Medical Microbiology program at LSHTM. For his undergraduate education, Ashton attended Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), majoring in microbiology and premedical studies. He entered the field of infectious diseases, global health, and tropical medicine to help rescue the world's poorest, most forgotten people -- the "bottom billion" -- from unnecessary suffering and death.
For the last century, the University of Cincinnati has been a major player, through seminal research, in promoting a healthier global population. For example, as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, Dr. Albert Sabin helped develop a vaccine for Japanese encephalitis during the Second World War. And in the mid-1950s, Sabin developed and then refused to patent the oral polio vaccine (OPV), ensuring that doses remain at a reduced cost.
In the United States, the burden exhibited by parasitic diseases is often downplayed. For example, the five most common parasitic infections in the United States are toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis, trichomoniasis, cysticercosis, and Chaga's disease. In his future career as an academic physician, Ashton looks forward to caring for populations at risk of these parasitic infections -- such as the poor, rural population in the Southern United States.
Ashton became a Student Ambassador at RSTMH to raise public awareness of the disparity in clinical outcomes between the developed and developing worlds. Because NTDs primarily impact remote communities, they are often out of sight and therefore out of the minds of many government officials, philanthropists, and even physicians in the developed world. As a result, NTDs have become an issue that has not received an appropriate amount of attention or funding, which has led to perpetuating poverty and stigma in these vulnerable populations. As a Student Ambassador at RSTMH, Ashton hopes to shine a light on the forgotten faces suffering from NTDs.
One interesting fact about Ashton is that he runs a blog on the history of infectious diseases (thespeckledmonster.blogspot.com).