AAIM Member Spotlight: Claire Zeigler, MD, MPH


Claire Zeigler, MD, MPH
Associate Program Director
Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine

How long have you been a member of AAIM? 
I joined AAIM in 2013.  

What is your favorite part of your job?  
As an associate program director and the Director of Global Health, I love sharing my passion for global health with residents and fellows. Global health is  “an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide.” The global in global health refers to the scope of problems and not the physical location, hence global health is often practiced in our own communities. We know that residents are not likely to choose careers in areas they haven’t been trained in, so providing residents and fellows with training to work with underserved patient populations is key to addressing disparities in health. Our curriculum includes teachings on ethics, structural racism, colonialism and neocolonialism, and advocacy, and includes clinical rotations with longstanding partner sites. The most rewarding part of my job is when residents and fellows go on to work with vulnerable patient populations and make meaningful impacts in their communities. We also have learned that residents who get this additional training feel less burnout and more connection to their work! 

How has the AAIM membership been of value to you and your career?  
It has been instrumental in teaching me the ins and outs of GME and in connecting me with colleagues with similar interests. In forming these connections, I have worked with other AAIM members to produce scholarship. I have had the opportunity to be part of AAIM committees which has further increased my sense of community within GME.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in the medical field? 
As a child, I grew up in resource poor settings outside of the US, and saw the injustice of healthcare not always being afforded to those without money. I became interested in public health and health policies and that translated to me becoming a doctor. It was during my chief residency year that I fell in love with medical education. 

What or who inspires you and why? 
So many people to name! I am inspired by people who persevere despite tough circumstances and work towards making the world a more just place. I think about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai to name a few. 

What advice would you give to those who wish to pursue a career in this industry? 
It is a long and challenging road, and the privilege of working with patients and the intellectual stimulation of internal medicine makes it  well worth it.

What is your favorite book or movie?  
So many to choose from! I love the books "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith and "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver.