P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Mariam Fofana, 2013

PhD/MD, Johns Hopkins University

Mariam Fofana is an immigrant from France

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD/MD in Infectious Disease and Medicine at Johns Hopkins University

Mariam was born in Paris of Ivorian parents. After returning to Côte d'Ivoire, her family began an odyssey of emigration that took them to Kenya for three years before they settled in Minnesota when Mariam was 13.

Mariam gained admission to Harvard, where, intending to become a research biologist, she earned an undergraduate degree in biology, cum laude. Her love of music, however, set her on a different academic path. She joined the Kuumba Singers, whose performances in the tradition of African-American spirituals and gospel music brought together people of all faiths and ethnicities. She helped lead the choir's fundraising efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Kuumba, in turn, led her to refocus her interests on public health, especially in Africa.

Mariam served as a research assistant on a team at Massachusetts General Hospital that investigated the cost-effectiveness of HIV interventions and treatment scale-up in South Africa. She then spent a year in Côte d'Ivoire, investigating the ethical implications of parental consent for HIV testing.

Mariam is now pursuing both MD and PhD degrees at Johns Hopkins. Her doctorate will be in infectious disease epidemiology.

  • AB Biology | Harvard University 2006
  • PhD Infectious Disease | Johns Hopkins University
  • MD Medicine | Johns Hopkins University
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