The NIH Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP) helps medical, dental and veterinary students enter the pathway to biomedical research careers. Learn about NIMHD’s MRSP experience.

Jamie Ko


Jamie Ko (2021-2022 NIMHD MRSP Scholar) is a fourth-year medical student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is completing the yearlong MRSP fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Anna M. Nápoles, NIMHD Scientific Director, and Dr. Paula Strassle, staff scientist in NIMHD's Division of Intramural Research.

As a first-generation college graduate and child of immigrants from China, she became intimately aware of how social factors affected the health of under-resourced communities. Throughout Ms. Ko’s academic studies, she developed a passion for exploring and addressing health inequities.

As an undergraduate student at Yale, she integrated her interests in health sciences with public health, resulting in a double major in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, as well as sociology with a health concentration. To further her understanding of health inequities, she completed a master's degree in public health in chronic disease epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health.

During medical school, she continued to pursue her interest in health disparities, merging her epidemiology skill set with health policy and patient advocacy. She served as a co-president and delegate of the UCLA American Medical Association and California Medical Association chapters, a committee member on the American Medical Association’s Council on Global Public Health, and Research Director of the Los Angeles Human Rights Initiative.

Ms. Ko plans to apply to a general surgery residency and pursue a career in academic surgery devoted to providing equitable surgical care for patients. Currently, her research focuses on surgical and COVID-19 health disparities. During her free time, she enjoys playing the violin, singing in choirs, running, and reading.

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Page updated August 7, 2023