Spotlight on Diego Lassala, MD: Muso’s Research Fellow

Muso is excited to welcome our 2018-2019 Research Fellow, Diego Lassala, MD.

Diego started his medical career at the Facultad de Medicina of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 2009. Early in his career, he  realized that there was a big gap between his expectation of humanism in the practice of medicine and what happens in the real world — including medical education, the patient-physician relationship, and how health systems are designed and implemented. He observes,  “I learned that health access was strongly correlated to wealth and power, and inversely correlated with health needs.”

“These experiences allowed me to reevaluate my path, and rethink whether or not I wanted to continue with med school and a career in medicine.” During this time, Diego participated in a one-year course on Clinical Research at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. There, he met with a Partners In Health (PIH) team working in Chiapas, Mexico. PIH’s social-medicine based approach and prioritization of those most in need of care inspired him to apply to join their program as a part of his social service year during his last year of medical school; in 2016 Diego worked as the Physician in Charge of a rural clinic in El Letrero, a 2,000-person village located in the Sierra Madre region of Chiapas, Mexico. Through PIH’s partnerships with local government, Diego worked with state and PIH Community Health Workers, maintained a pharmacy stock, and worked with a referral system for sick patients and pregnant women.

After he completed his year in Chiapas, Diego moved to Mirebalais, Haiti to study Social Medicine with the non-profit EqualHealth. This further shaped his approach towards health and social justice, fueling his “desire to reconquer and advocate for the most basic Alma Ata concept of health as a human right beyond systemic barriers.”

Diego looks forward to contributing to Muso’s work by developing thoughtful research questions, contributing to ongoing research trials, and helping the organization improve data flow, indicators, and outcomes for research. Of this work, he says, “I am excited about being a Research Fellow with Muso today. Every day, I am learning first-hand how our Proactive Care model works and how important it is. In Muso’s Proactive Care model, I see a logical, mature, and evidence-based strategy to improve quality of and access to health care. I have seen how robust CHW programs help build trust and strengthen the relationships within the community.” Diego looks forward to continuing to work with Muso’s Research, Monitoring & Evaluation team to understand if and how Proactive Care impacts patient access to care, health equity, and social justice in rural and peri-urban Mali.

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