Aditi Vasan, 2010, Molecular Biology

Antibiotic resistance is known to be a major public health challenge in developed countries, as increasing rates of antibiotic overuse render these drugs less effective.  It is believed that antibiotic resistance is a major problem in developing countries as well, however, there is very little precise information about the levels of antibiotic resistance and the factors contributing to this resistance in the developing world.  Last summer, I studied levels of antibiotic resistance in New Delhi, India as a summer intern for the Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership developed by Resources for the Future.  I spent eight weeks at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, a private tertiary care hospital in central Delhi.  Most of my work involved organizing and managing all of the drug resistance data that hospital had gathered over the past 10 years.  I was able to assist in the research, writing, and editing of a review article examining the problem of antibiotic resistance in India and strategies that are currently being used to reduce levels of resistance.  I also had the opportunity to assist with the organization of an international conference on antibiotic resistance in India, which I attended at the end of the summer.  Through my internship experience, I was able to learn a lot about the practice of medicine in the developing world in general, and the Indian health care system in particular.  I was also able to gain a comprehensive understanding of the cultural and socioeconomic factors contributing to the development and spread of drug resistance in India.