Einstein COM | Summer Internship Opportunity – Chagas Disease Grant (New York, NY)

Jan. 25, 2022

Chagas disease is a neglected disease caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by triatomine insects; this infection mainly occurs in rural areas of continental Latin America including foci in Mexico. Chagas disease is now encountered in non-endemic areas. In the United States, an estimated 300,000 people have T. cruzi infection, which include 40,000 women of childbearing age. Despite this, Chagas disease in non-endemic regions is highly underrecognized.

Trypanosoma cruzi infection is lifelong if not treated and progresses through acute and chronic phases. Most patients will remain asymptomatic but up to 20-30% of patients will progress over decades to cardiac and gastrointestinal involvement. Most experts believe efforts should be aimed at developing screening programs to identify asymptomatic chronically infected patients in the primary care setting. This would allow for early intervention to potentially reduce the risk of disease progression as well as prevent congenital transmission when women of childbearing age are screened. Despite the large number of at-risk individuals living in the US, there are few examples of successful Chagas disease screening programs driven by primary care and Infectious Disease physicians.

Dr. Christina Coyle is an expert in travel medicine and the PI on a grant funded by the Centers for Disease Control entitled, “Reducing the burden of neglected parasitic infections (NPIs) in the United States through evidence-based prevention and control activities.” Under the grant, Dr. Coyle plans to implement a hospital-wide outpatient Chagas disease screening program at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, which sees a large Central and South American population that is particularly at risk of Chagas disease. Dr. Coyle is looking for a highly motivated candidate interested in working with migrant populations and speaks fluent Spanish to help support this screening project this summer.

The Summer Intern would be responsible for the following: 

  • Identifying at risk patients in a primary care, OBGYN, and/or cardiology clinics at Elmhurst hospital in Queens
  • Screening patients in a primary care, OBGYN, and/or cardiology to obtain pertinent patient data
  • Ensuring patient files are appropriately flagged for further evaluation
  • Provide additional follow-through to ensure that patients who screened positive are receive confirmatory diagnosis, and are appropriately tracked
  • Support additional educational efforts as needed for the grant, which may include coordinating virtual symposiums and other teaching sessions

Minimum qualifications for the Summer Internship Position include:

  • Must be a fluent Spanish speaker
  • Currently enrolled in an accredited college degree program
  • Must be able to travel between clinic locations in Queens
  • Must be proficient in Microsoft Office. May use other web-based programs as assigned
  • Must demonstrate good judgment, initiative and attention to detail
  • Ability to check applicable policies and procedures
  • Employee may work weekends and/or evenings depending on preference/flexibility


Please note this position requires a commitment of 30-35 hours per week. If interested, please send your CV and optional cover letter to annemarie.tehnaddy@einsteinmed.edu

Only PDF documents will be accepted titled as FirstNameLastName_CV and FirstNameLastName_CoverLetter.