Realizing her desire to become a physician at an early age, Alexis Chidi, MSPH, CPH began her college education at the University of Pittsburgh in the BS-MD guaranteed admission program. Eager to bridge the gaps between her interests in poverty, development, and clinical care, she deferred her admission to medical school to complete a Master of Science in Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. There, she focused her education on Health Policy while also completing certificates in health economics, health finance and management, and international health policy and financing.
In 2011, Alexis returned to Pittsburgh to attend medical school and began her training at the ICRE as a fellow in the Clinical Scientist Training Program (CSTP). In spring of 2013, during her second year of medical school, she completed the Career Education and Enhancement for Health Care Research Diversity Program for medical students (CEED II). The CEED II program provided her with the opportunity to attend two conferences where she was able to meet a network of surgeons who conducted health services research at major institutions around the country. Alexis also appreciated the panel discussions and professional development sessions offered by the programs, all of which will be incredibly helpful as she begins her career as a surgeon-scientist. With encouragement from her CSTP program directors, Drs. Amber Barnato, MD, MPH, MS, and Debra Bogen, MD, she then applied to the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) of the University of Pittsburgh & Carnegie Mellon University, successfully matriculating into the MD/PhD program in June.
Alexis's research interests emerged when she began to wonder how people from the outskirts of Pittsburgh, with little access to transportation, were managing to get care at specialty hospitals. Under the mentorship of Drs. Cindy Bryce, PhD, and Allan Tsung, MD, and fueled by a desire to become a surgical oncologist, her initial research project investigated whether UPMC liver cancer patients from distant geographical areas were having difficulty accessing surgical care. Using data from the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry and the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), she completed a similar study to determine whether proximity to a high volume liver cancer center (top 20% in procedure volume) affected the likelihood of receiving a surgical intervention. Concluding that patients in urban areas, who lived closer to the hospital, were least likely to get surgical interventions, Alexis and her mentors decided to further explore the mechanisms underlying this disparity with funding from the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work's Center for Race & Social Problems Pilot Grant Program. This new study will survey UPMC Liver Cancer Center patients to determine which barriers to access seem to be affecting urban patients more than others.
This fall, Alexis will continue her research and educational training at the ICRE as a trainee in the Pre-doctoral Fellowship Program while seeking her PhD in Clinical and Translational Science. During her doctoral studies, she hopes to identify potential cost-effective methods of reducing disparities in receipt of surgical care. She will use the results of her survey to investigate implications for policy, with the ultimate goal of better serving liver cancer patients.
In addition to her academic endeavors, Alexis is very active in professional leadership and institutional service. During her first year of medical school, she served as the policy chair for the University of Pittsburgh chapter of the American Medical Association (AMA). The following year, she served as president of external affairs and became involved with the AMA on a national level as a regional delegate. She is one of 524 voting delegates who contribute to policy decisions for the AMA. Alexis also holds various memberships in other professional organizations and has been recognized for her achievements across multiple platforms.
Alexis also gets gratification from mentoring others. She recently worked with another student to mentor first year medical students alongside Edith Tzeng, MD, through the Faculty and Students Together (FAST) program. When asked why she thinks she has successfully managed to remain active and driven in her educational career, Alexis credits exceptional mentorship as well as admittedly "biting off more than she can chew and chewing as fast as she can," referencing a quote from Paul Hogan. Once she takes something on, she is committed to seeing it through. Most importantly, she notes that being open to, and accepting, new opportunities has allowed her to continue to move forward with confidence even when obstacles arise.
The Institute for Clinical Research Education serves as the Research Education and
Career Development Core of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).