Alexander Auchus is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in psychology, with plans to pursue an MD and possibly an MD/PhD dual degree program. Auchus grew up mostly in Jackson, Mississippi where he was first exposed to health disparities that affect rural communities. There, he shadowed a physiatrist at the first clinic in Mississippi to specialize in LGBTQ+ health care. He recently completed an independent study that attempts to increase PrEP use by cisgender women, a population that has been shown to be particularly difficult to engage in PrEP care.
During SUMR, Auchus is continuing his studies in health disparities with his mentor Dr. Carmen Guerra. He will work on two of Dr. Guerra’s projects, the ACC Clinical Trails Ambassador Program and Lazarex Improving Patient Access to Cancer Clinical Trials. The ACC Clinical Trials program strives “to train a cohorts of cancer survivors and caregivers of patients with cancer on how to engage with primarily African American communities in conversations about cancer and the importance of cancer clinical trial research participation” in order to reduce racial disparities in cancer clinical trial participation. Similarly, the Lazarex program strives “to identify the barriers of and facilitators to completing reimbursement requirements of adult patients participating in the Lazarex Financial Reimbursement Program” among other aims. By working on two projects that attempt to reduce racial disparities in cancer clinical trial participation from different angles, He hopes to gain significant insight into the complex ways in which population health disparities are addressed.
He believes the SUMR experience will be an invaluable learning experience that will further his career goals. He also hopes to continue to pursue research in health disparities after SUMR, particularly disparities that affect LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented groups.