Dr. Jacob Atem, who was born in the part of Sudan that is now the independent country of South Sudan and who is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Humanitarian Health, recently told his story at Baltimore Stoop Stories, a Baltimore-based live show and podcast that features people sharing extraordinary, true tales of their lives.
Dr. Atem is a former Lost Boy, one of some 40,000 children orphaned by the Sudanese civil war in the 1990s. They fled the country on foot via arduous cross-country treks and spent years in refugee camps. Nearly 4,000 were ultimately resettled in the U.S.
Dr. Atem spoke with Goats and Soda about his experience.
Excerpt from the Goats and Soda Q&A:
Why did you choose a career in humanitarian health?
I went to study biology to become a doctor, so I can help people in general. But it didn’t work out. Then I remembered that when I was young, I had a big wound and I could see my own bones. I remember how vulnerable children are. A lot of refugees around me were dying from diarrheal diseases, from preventable diseases. So I went and did my master’s in public health, and I fell in love with a profession where I could couple my experience of living as a refugee with scientific research.
Read more about Dr. Jacob Atem’s story