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ASU global health alum named Gates Cambridge Scholar

February 20, 2015

Arizona State University alum Blake Thomson has been named one of 40 Gates Cambridge Scholars from the U.S. The scholarship will support Thomson’s master’s-level study of epidemiology at the University of Cambridge beginning in the fall.

Thomson graduated from ASU in 2013 with an undergraduate degree in global health before moving on to a post-bachelor fellowship at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. He plans to eventually attend medical school – and was accepted while still a junior – but is putting that on hold to gain a wide knowledgebase regarding the many components of global health.

His ultimate career goal is to hold a position with a nonprofit or an academic institution wherein he can help affect healthcare policy and programming.

During his time at Cambridge, he will focus on diabetes and hypertension.

“In much of the developing world, we don’t have a strong sense of where the pathway to care breaks down for these diseases – whether it’s a lack of access, financial barriers to medication adherence, or clinical mismanagement of disease,” Thomson said. “My hope is that, by improving our understanding of these diseases in their local contexts, we can improve and extend the lives of those in need.”

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship Program originated from a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest single bequest to a university in the United Kingdom. Scholars are chosen for their social commitment along with their academic excellence.

While a student in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Thomson was an Alumni Association Outstanding Social Science Graduate and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medalist. He has a long history of community service, including volunteering at Phoenix’s St. Joseph’s Hospital and acting as a driving force of Vive Peru, a nonprofit designed to match Peruvian communities with self-sustaining aid programs.