USF medical student earns fellowship with Committee on Foreign Relations

Fourth-year medical student Jian Zheng was recently named a fellow of the Tampa Bay Area Committee on Foreign Relations, a group co-founded by former USF political science professor and international studies expert Mark Orr, PhD.

photo of Jian Zheng

Jian Zheng

Zheng was nominated by John Sinnott, MD, director of the Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine and associate dean of the USF Medicine International program, and Lynette Menezes, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine and director of the USF Medicine International program.

“It is extraordinarily rare for a medical student to be chosen for such a prestigious award,” Dr. Sinnott said. “Ms. Zheng was selected on the basis of her commitment to international medicine and her effectiveness at opening channels to China as a student. Ms. Zheng embodies the spirit of Medicine International. She is a superb clinician, a global thinker and a true ambassador of USF. We are quite justly proud of her achievement.”

“Jian has the extraordinary ability to connect across cultures and has been actively engaged with international medical students, faculty and leadership of our partner institutions from Thailand, India, Panama and South Korea,” Dr. Menezes said. “She is truly a global citizen.”

Zheng’s international focus is on health disparity and educational outreach, especially regarding hepatitis B.

“Hepatitis B is very prevalent in China but because of lack of knowledge and fear of discrimination at schools and workplaces in China, many families do not get tested and vaccinated even though it is a preventable and treatable disease,” she said.

On a local level, Zheng cofounded Team HBV Collegiate Chapters (now at 16 U.S. colleges), a group that reaches out to students, immigrant communities, health departments, churches, and nonprofits on issues surrounding Hepatitis B.

As a Mark Orr Foreign Affairs Fellow, Zheng will attend the group’s local meetings, as well as attend a national meeting in Washington, DC.

Prior to attending USF Zheng was one of four winners to receive the Barnes Scholarship in 2004 from the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times), resulting in a $60,000 scholarship.

At USF, Zheng was president of the USF chapter of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association for 2010-2011 academic year. In addition, she volunteered at many of the events sponsored by Medicine International program to welcome exchange students and visiting physicians from China, Korea, Thailand, India, and Panama. Through both of these, Zheng met Drs. Sinnott and Menezes.

“I am blessed to have met Dr. Sinnott and Dr. Menezes, and receive their mentorship as well as this surprise nomination,” she said. “I look forward to attending the Committee’s monthly meetings, meeting exciting internationally renowned speakers, and expanding my horizon on foreign affairs. I also plan on doing a rotation in China next April for research on hepatitis B and liver cancer therapies, as well as to further expand hepatitis B outreach.”