Housestaff Spotlight: Winter 2019
Samantha Rawlins-Pilgrim, MD
HIV primary care
Internal Medicine/Preventive Medicine, Primary Care and HIV pathway
Underserved populations, whether socially disadvantaged due to economic status, race or something else, experience health disparities based on both the environments they live in and the health care they receive. I went into medicine to provide care to underserved populations, to develop trust and have long term relationships with my patients. Primary care thus felt like a clear career choice.
I have been interested in HIV advocacy since before I was interested in medicine. Despite the incredible advances in HIV treatment and prevention in the last few decades, HIV continues to carry health disparities and stigma. The people who are at highest risk of HIV exposure belong to many of the same communities that I am interested in working with clinically. Merging these two interests, I will focus on primary care for people living with HIV and HIV prevention, hoping to address some of the health disparities that exist for people living with and at risk for exposure to HIV.
As part of the HIV pathway, I have a second continuity clinic in HIV medicine at the Center for Infectious Disease. One of my first patients there was a college student who came into the clinic looking for pre-exposure prophylaxis HIV (PrEP), and unfortunately was found to have acute HIV at that first visit. Because of that experience, I am working on a research project focused on access to PrEP in college student health centers. I hope to use this project for advocacy focused on increasing access to PrEP for more young people.
I recently started a diversity committee for the residency program. We are focused on increasing recruitment of underrepresented minority (URM) residents to our program and improving the experience of the diverse group of residents who are already here. We are still in the beginning stages but it has been exciting to see the interest from residents and faculty and hear the great ideas people have about improving this aspect of our program.
Favorite experience, case, or project
One of the highlights of my residency experience has been monthly dinners with my pod. They are the group of coresidents who have clinic during the same week as me each month and they have been a great source of support and friendship over the past three years.
One goal you hope to accomplish in the future
I hope to be providing primary care to both people with and without HIV. I also hope to see HIV eradicated during my career and to then focus on general primary care.
Favorite thing about residency/BMC