Forging Ahead

Author | Lauren Crawford

Photo by Bryan Mitchell

Oliver Jintha Gadabu (Ph.D. candidate 2022) is a pioneer of sorts: He is one of the very first students to pursue a doctorate in health infrastructures and learning systems, an innovative program at the Medical School that blends information and social sciences in order to transform health care. Growing up, Gadabu was eager to study medicine, but a passion for IT and an investigative mind steered him toward infrastructure research. Instead of treating patients, Gadabu wants to treat and improve the systems by which they are cared for — to yield change at a foundational level. 

While working at the Baobab Health Trust in his hometown of Lilongwe, Malawi, Gadabu heard about the U-M Department of Learning Health Sciences — the first of its kind in the nation — from colleagues, and, a short time later, he made the 8,000-mile trip to Ann Arbor to help forge this nascent field. 

"It is an exciting feeling to be considered the pioneer cohort in a field. At the same time, it brings the responsibility of setting the standard: We need to create an identity, to develop language that should be relevant to different fields. The advantage, of course, is that we are getting a head start — this program is at the frontier of putting knowledge into practice. The vision of learning health systems is being built at the University of Michigan, and it is exciting to be part of that process." —Oliver Jintha Gadabu (Ph.D. candidate 2022)

More Articles About: PhD Health Infrastructures Learning Systems Medical School Student HILS
Featured News & Stories Health Lab Podcast in brackets with a background with a dark blue translucent layers over cells
Health Lab Podcast
Could Prostate Cancer Drugs Help Fight COVID Infections?
Researchers look into a drug called proxalutamide as a potential therapeutic for the coronavirus.
The Fundamentals Podcast Hero Card Final 1800 x 1350
The Fundamentals
My Clinical Training is Fundamental to the Kind of Researcher I Am
A conversation with Dr. Julie Lumeng on pediatrics, nutritional sciences and emerging science in child development and behavior.
Two people in black and green graduation robes share a happy moment of celebration in a crowded lobby. The woman on the left is younger and smiling or laughing. The older man on the right is carrying a cane and smiling at the woman.
Medicine at Michigan
Medical School graduate marks another milestone with the ECMO legend who helped save her life
Hannah Abraham, M.D., received her 2023 medical school diploma from Robert Bartlett, M.D., the physician credited with creating ECMO, a lung bypass system that saved Abraham's life when she was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.
Man kneeling, wearing a doctor's white coat. His right leg has a prosthetic.
Medicine at Michigan
A Paralympian medical student feels grateful for unexpected gifts
How cancer and a scholarship changed the course of Sam Grewe’s life
A mom applies sunscreen to her daughter's face. They are outdoors in a green area. Both are wearing long-sleeve jackets.
Medicine at Michigan
Sunscreen dispensers come to campus
Student-led research at the University of Michigan Medical School revealed a need for more easy access to sunscreen for young people. As a result, sunscreen dispensers were placed in outdoor spaces on campus and throughout Ann Arbor.
The Fundamentals Podcast Hero Card Final 1800 x 1350
The Fundamentals
Basic Science is the Foundation for Everything
An interview with Dr. Jessica Anand on pharmacology, developing new opioid rescue therapies and diversity, equity and inclusion.