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Tackling Health Care Disparities in Cameroon

Jun 17, 2024   |   Dartmouth Admissions

Triumph Kia Teh '26 (he/him/his)
Hometown: Tiko Cameroon
Majors: Biomedical Engineering & Neuroscience

Triumph Kia Teh '26 (Photo by Don Hamerman)

If you run into Triumph Kia Teh '26 on campus, expect to be greeted by his signature warm smile, high fives, and bubbly personality. In just one year on campus, he has become known for his deep commitment to his Dartmouth peers. "My main passion is contributing to the community," he says. "Throughout my life, I've always received help from people. I cannot come here and just study—I have to get involved."

Triumph was one of seven students in the Class of 2026 to be selected for the King Scholars Program, which supports first-generation low-income students from developing nations who are determined to alleviate poverty in their home countries. He grew up in Cameroon, where he and his family experienced the country's inaccessible health care structure firsthand. "After seeing doctors attend to my mother's health problems, I knew I wanted to become a doctor myself," Triumph says. "I also hope to establish a hospital back home one day."

Triumph knew that Dartmouth's liberal arts curriculum, which encourages students to explore coursework across a wide variety of disciplines, would allow him to become a more well-rounded physician. Though his primary interests lie in biomedical engineering and neuroscience, Triumph also began taking Spanish at Dartmouth in an effort to better serve Latinx communities in his future career. "I have a passion for listening to people to help solve their health problems," he explains. "The liberal arts curriculum allows me to take classes in different departments, so I can connect with all sorts of people. I've met a lot of professors who really want me to succeed."

Triumph has found no shortage of support for his medical aspirations at Dartmouth. Through the Dickey Center for International Understanding, Triumph secured an internship with Vantage Health Technologies, a company working to increase access and efficiency in health care. Next year, he'll begin research at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, a nearby teaching hospital affiliated with Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine. He was also named a Pathways to Medicine Scholar as part of an initiative that supports students from underrepresented backgrounds in their pre-health aspirations.

Outside of the classroom, Triumph served as a peer inclusivity facilitator for the Office of Pluralism and Leadership. In that role, he often led a workshop with peers called "What's in Your Backpack?", an activity that prompts students to share how their life experiences have affected their character. "We all come into Dartmouth from very different communities," Triumph observes. "Sharing what we each have in our 'backpacks' allows us to really understand and know one another. There's a lot of resilience in my story, and my journey here was a long one. That's what motivates me. I'm ready now."

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