International Health Alumna Pursues Residency at Massachusetts General Hospital

DECEMBER 18, 2014 – An international heath alumna of the School of Nursing & Health Studies is currently pursuing a residency in general surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Katherine Albutt (NHS’08), MD, MPH, graduated from Harvard in 2013, receiving her advanced degrees from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.

“I’m now a second-year surgical resident and have never worked harder in my life, but honestly believe that I have the best job in the world,” she says. “It is a privilege to be able to take care of, learn from, and operate on patients, often at their sickest and most vulnerable points.”

Global Experiences

Albutt, who is pictured at right, says she built upon her Georgetown experiences in international health during medical school.

“During medical school, I had the opportunity to further develop my interests in global public health by working abroad,” she says. 

She had the chance to work for USAID in Mali, West Africa, on health systems development and access to women’s health in 2009.

Between 2011-2013, she also worked with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on wartime sexual violence and its repercussions.

‘A Huge Part of Who I Am’

During her undergraduate years, Albutt was also an active student.

She served on the board of Hoyathon, a dance marathon to support Children’s National Medical Center and MedStar Georgetown’s Department of Pediatrics; was an active member of the Alpha Phi Omega community service organization; helped build a school during a service trip to Mali; and worked at a camp for homeless youth in New York City.

In her senior year, she worked for six months with the World Bank in Mali on public-private partnerships for health systems development as part of the Department of International Health’s practical experience abroad program.

“My experience at Georgetown became such a huge part of who I am, not only academically but personally and professionally,” she says. “From the professors, classmates, and core classroom content to the relationships, social justice, and extracurricular opportunities, I cannot imagine being served by a better undergraduate education.”

Strong Foundation

She adds that her friends from the Hilltop are among the most important in her life and notes that the education at NHS prepared her well for Harvard.

“There is no better training for medical school than the anatomy and physiology and overall learning framework imparted by Dr. Allan Angerio [associate professor emeritus of human science] and other similarly inspiring professors,” she says. “My training in international health prepared me to jump headfirst into my MPH and numerous public health opportunities once I landed in Boston.”

Future Plans

Albutt says she is learning a great deal from the patients and physicians during her residency.

“The patients have taught me more about medicine and life than I could ever have imagined,” she says. “I also have the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s most renowned surgeons on a daily basis and have the best colleagues in the world.”

After finishing up her residency in 2020, Albutt plans to begin a career in surgery and public health and then pursue a fellowship in trauma and critical care.

Her specific area of interest is health in conflict and disaster, and she hopes to spend a large proportion of her career working in the developing world on surgical capacity building and trauma systems development.

By Bill Cessato