Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Roping Things Together

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Roping Things Together

Article excerpt

In high school, Alexander Chaitoff was told that he had too many interests and should focus on only a few. However, when Chaitoff--the Alice and Russell True Foundation Fellow, a commendation falling within the Marcus L. Urann Fellowships and supporting graduate education in science (9)--got to college, the would-be doctor at The Ohio State University realind that "the most complex problems are not confined to one field," as he put it.

Dealing with issues on a wider basis has served him well, Chaitoff added in a phone interview, because social and cultural beliefs often prevent those who most need healthcare from seeking it. Such convictions, he noted, can hinder or even block proven scientific methods to cure diseases. For instance, 45,000 Somalis live in Ohio, estimates the Somali Community Association of Ohio, with Columbus tallying the second-largest concentration in the country, per numerous sources. Many of these Somalis refuse the vaccination for swine flu for religious reasons as Muslims, Chaitoff explained. Medical professionals must convince them the vaccine has no relation to pigs, which Muslims consider unclean and do not eat. The human seasonal flu virus, also known as HIN I, can go airborne. A variant circulates in pigs.

Integrating nonscientific aspects of medicine into public health motivates Chaitoff. He graduated from Ohio State. his Phi Kappa Phi chapter, in May with a double major in microbiology and political science, studying the latter because "market forces affect the delivery of healthcare," Chaitoff said. …

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