Picture © Tawanda Gumbo
“Tawanda Gumbo, M.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas assistant professor of internal medicine, who will develop a treatment regimen based on blocking the mechanisms that tuberculosis bacteria use to evade killing by antibiotics” has won the 2007 NIH Director’s Pioneer/New Innovator Award. The NIH News reports, “NIH selected the award recipients through special application and evaluation processes that engaged 262 experts from the scientific community in identifying the most highly competitive individuals in each pool. The Advisory Committee to the Director, NIH, performed the final review and made recommendations to Zerhouni based on the evaluations by the outside experts and programmatic considerations”.
Tawanda Gumbo is a poet and novelist whose works portray Zimbabwean life, and his contribution to science is highly commendable at a time when the media seems to focus on the negative aspects of Zimbabwe. Problems aside, dictatorial leader notwithstanding, Zimbabwe’s educational system has given birth to talented scholars who are making outstanding contributions in different fields internationally. That Dr. Gumbo is a writer (busy as he might be in his career) shows how art penetrates all spheres of life, and like an ancestral spirit, it is free to choose a medium through which it manifests itself.
Tawanda Gumbo graduated from the University of Zimbabwe Medical School, completed residency in Internal Medicine (with International Health) at Case Western Reserve University (Metro-Health) and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. He went back to Zimbabwe in 1999 and joined the Department of Medicine at the University of Zimbabwe before leaving to become an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Albany Medical College, and attending in Infectious Diseases at Albany Medical Center. He has researched in Zimbabwe and published numerous scientific papers on AIDS other infectious diseases. He has written the novel The Fire Inside and the poetry collection Songs of a Flame Lily