Fischer Sees Medicine as a Way to Address Global Poverty
UNC Health Care
Billy Fischer has never lacked direction. Even during his high school years, when he says he felt “a little bit lost,” the obstacles in his path were not the result of normal teenage mischief. No, Fischer already set his sights on a lofty goal, addressing and alleviating global poverty. He just wasn’t sure how to do it.
He discovered medicine was his way in.
In the past year and a half, that path has taken Fischer, assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to West Africa, where he was among the first physicians on the ground in Guinea, caring for patients during that country’s Ebola outbreak. He later teamed up with David Wohl, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, in Liberia where, in collaboration with health care providers from Liberia and a clinical research organization called Clinical RM, they launched the first clinical trial of a therapeutic intervention in an Ebola outbreak, in which plasma from survivors of Ebola virus disease is given to patients who are battling the disease.
“Our model has always been to couple direct service with clinical research, with the idea being that if our freezers went down and we lost all of our research samples we were still providing an incredibly important service to patients” Fischer said.
That work has earned Fischer and Wohl considerable acclaim and attention. In August, Fischer was awarded the UNC School of Medicine’s James W. Woods Junior Faculty Award, which is given annually to an outstanding young clinical faculty member.
We sat down with Fischer for a Five Questions feature to discuss why he chose to pursue medicine, how his life has changed in the last two years, and what’s next in the ongoing effort to better understand the Ebola virus.
To continue reading, visit the School of Medicine website.
Author Jamie Williams can be reached at email@example.com.
November 30, 2020
November 30, 2020