2014 Equity Intern: Gemechu Geleto

Geleto_Gemechu_1_150Gemechu has been described by his professors as being dedicated and showing great initiative. He has demonstrated continual ambition for achieving his goals. After faced with adversity in high school, he overcame all obstacles to enter college, where he embraced the new challenges and opportunities.

During his first year at Washington State University, Gemechu gained laboratory experience, was one of few students to earn an "A" in Organic Chemistry, and was asked to run for House President of Delta Chi. While the offer from his fraternity was exciting, Gemechu turned it down, taking on the role of Scholarship Chairman instead, so he could continue to focus on his studies. "I developed an interest in science, taking classes such as general chemistry and biology, which transformed the way I viewed the world," he says. 

Gemechu is a pre-med student majoring in biochemistry and planning on attending medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon. To achieve this goal, he has continued to demonstrate strong initiative by seeking out opportunities to gain experience in a medical setting. He volunteers with PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington, where he coordinates patient schedules and works directly with patients and families. His excellent social skills and ability to speak Oromiffa and English have assisted Gemechu in explaining medicinal effects to patients and working effectively in groups.

His interest in orthopedics grew from the desire to help those who have suffered from injuries so that they can regain and maintain good health. "I strive for excellence on a daily basis," Gemechu says. "I want my future patients to know they have the best doctor in me."

Gemechu will start down his pathway to orthopedics through the Summer Equity Research Internship Program. This competitive, eight-week internship is sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and places outstanding students like Gemechu in laboratory research settings at OHSU. Gemechu is working with Paul Gorman, M.D., in Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology this summer. He will also have the opportunity to shadow Dennis Crawford, M.D., Ph.D., in the Sports Medicine department.

At Dr. Gorman's lab, Gemechu is working on a research project that analyzes, observes, and potentially verifies both quantitatively and qualitatively  the correlation between cognitive function, sleep, and overall quality of life in elders with regular exercise. "Through the use of self-automated and semi-automated computer based exercise systems equipped with motion sensor technology and its ability to coach the elderly population. We aim to implement an exercise intervention in the homes of these subjects that will improve their health in all aspects long-term so that they may retain their independence in their homes," he says.

For more information about the Summer Equity Internship Program, contact David Martinez, Manager of Student Recruitment and Retention.

Posted on July 7, 2014. Write-up by Jillian Toda. Photo by Maileen Hamto.