When University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill physician and researcher Elizabeth Stringer, M.D., M.Sc., finished her OB-GYN residency in 2001, she and her husband, Jeff, had one young child and another on the way, and were considering the next steps in their careers and lives.

“We had both become very interested in global health after spending six weeks in Thailand on an HIV project,” said Stringer, an associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine. “I remember the night we decided to move to Zambia. We were sitting outside at a Lebanese restaurant on a warm, beautiful night, and I just burst into tears.”

Stringer had been to Zambia once before, and admittedly had never considered moving there.

“It was just scary. I wasn’t connected to Zambia then, and I saw it very superficially. A rundown hotel, food I didn’t like, poverty. To uproot our family with young children and move to this place seemed crazy. But, I knew that I had to do it. It was the right thing to do, and I felt that calling to help people around the world.”

When Stringer stepped onto Zambian soil for the second time, it wasn’t long before everything changed. Keep reading.