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Dr. Tony Trinh credits his mentors in medical school and beyond for helping him discover his medical niche in Infectious Diseases (ID). He also recalls a talk by Paul Farmer, who offered a compelling angle on infectious disease from a social justice perspective. Happily, his interest in ID would prove to be well matched with those of TREE and led to the program’s collaboration with Dr. Trinh.
Dr. Trinh first connected with TREE as early as 2010, when he met Dr. Michael Chung, Director of TREE, while applying for the Infectious Diseases fellowship at UW. When Dr. Trinh joined UW as a Fellow, choosing Dr. Chung as his mentor was a logical step. His initial plan was to work with TREE in Vietnam, but this later shifted to a Kenya focus. He easily describes his year living and working in Kenya, from 2013-2014, as “the best experience of my life.”
As Study Coordinator for TREE in Nairobi, Dr. Trinh’s main responsibility was to manage the day-to-day operations of TREE’s studies, particularly cervical cancer treatment and drug resistance testing. “This role,” he explained, “gave me invaluable experience in organizing a large group of personnel and seeing how administrative matters behind global health research operate.” An especially touching and memorable part of his TREE experience, he recounts, was attending the closing ceremonies for the 2014 session of the online Clinical Management of HIV course. He traveled to several sites around Kenya that had hosted the class to present certificates to participants who passed the course.
Having spent a full year in Kenya, Dr. Trinh has no shortage of interesting adventures to tell, from becoming a licensed driver in Kenya to his safari trips around East Africa (pictures below). Upon his return to Seattle in July 2014, Dr. Trinh completed his ID Fellowship as well as his MPH. He is now in practice at the Polyclinic in Seattle, Washington where he specializes in HIV medicine and patients with complicated infections. He also practices Travel Medicine, living vicariously through his patients until his next trip abroad.