Title: Senior research fellow
HealthPartners Medical Group title: Medical director, HealthPartners Travel and Tropical Medicine Center; Staff physician, HealthPartners Center for International Health.
Joined the Institute: 2011
Education and training: MD, Mayo Medical School; Residency in Internal Medicine, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine; Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; Certificate in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Travelers’ Health, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; Certificate in Travel Health, International Society of Travel Medicine; Bush Foundation Medical Leadership Fellowship in Clinical Tropical Medicine, Thailand.
Overview/research interests: Dr. Walker has been a clinician and medical educator focused on refugee and immigrant health care since 1979. She is internationally recognized for her work in defining the body of knowledge that encompasses refugee and immigrant health care. From 2002 to 2004, she chaired the State of Minnesota Immigrant Health Task Force, a group of 70 experts who developed best practices in care for refugees and immigrants in Minnesota that are being shared internationally. Dr. Walker has published multiple clinical articles, invited commentaries and book chapters on refugee and immigrant health and co-edited a 2007 medical textbook, Immigrant Medicine. She has received more than 16 grants totaling more than $1.5 million, focused primarily on defining best practices in culturally competent care and disseminating them in HealthPartners and nationally. She has served on HealthPartners Equitable Care Sponsor and Oversight Groups since their inception and helped lead the subgroup that defined HealthPartners demographic data collection, which is critical to reducing health disparities. She also led the design for the current Equitable Care Fellows Program at HealthPartners. She is currently president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Her work was profiled in the Lancet in February 2017. Dr. Walker speaks Thai and Cambodian. Her career focus has been “globally mobile populations,” defining and implementing best practices in care and developing medical education interventions, all to reduce health disparities. Her areas of expertise include refugee and immigrant health care, travel and tropical medicine, globally mobile populations, health disparities and culturally competent/humble health care.
Current research activities and funding: Dr. Walker works to translate best practices in refugee and immigrant health care to useful electronic medical record tools for clinicians. Projects include:
- University of Minnesota CTSI grant: Culturally Competent Cancer Screening: Utilizing Granular Demographic Data and Point Of Care Provider Educational Interventions to Improve Identification Of and Care for Foreign-Born Hepatitis B Carriers (The “Global Health Wizard”)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Refugee Center of Excellence
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Reduction of Malaria in US Residents Returning From Overseas Travel
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EpiAid investigation: B12 deficiency in Bhutanese Nepali refugees
- Impact of global health residency training on medical knowledge of immigrant health
- Practicing medicine in the global village: Use of guidelines and virtual networks
- Vitamin D deficiency in refugees
- Characteristics and spectrum of disease among ill returned travelers from pre- and post-earthquake Haiti: the GeoSentinel experience
- Chikungunya: acute fever, rash and debilitating arthralgias in a returning traveler from Haiti
- Guillain-Barre syndrome associated with zika virus infection in a traveler returning from Guyana