John Gitau Wairimu, a 34-year-old Kenyan based in Birmingham, Alabama, has become one of only four students in the United States to earn a Master’s degree in nuclear medicine technology. They are graduating from the University of Alabama.

The nuclear medicine programme is the first to rise to master’s level in the entire United States and is the only nuclear medicine technology programme in the state of Alabama. Nuclear medicine technology is a branch of medicine that involves the peaceful use of radioactive drugs, known as radio-isotopes or radionuclides. It is the premier molecular imaging tool that physicians use to diagnose, stage and treat diseases. This technology is mostly used in diagnosing cancer, detecting heart defects and brain infarction, but it is also has its uses in all the other organ systems.

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John also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health, having concentrated on epidemiology. He has been involved in various research projects studying environmental pollution in the Birmingham area and hopes to pursue his PhD in healthcare management in 2018.

Of his achievement John said, “I feel privileged to have pursued my studies at this great, world-renowned university hospital. I have rubbed shoulders with some of the greatest scientists and physicians in the world here at the UAB. Having learnt from them, I feel ready and confident enough to go out there into the world and have an impact on someone’s life.”

John hopes to conduct his research on ways in which health disparities in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing countries can be balanced out.