Eric Leroux '06, alumnus

Eric Leroux ’06 was one of those all-around students at Princeton. He had exceptional intelligence, demonstrated by his work on a senior thesis that was voted the best in epidemiology. He was a formidable athlete, twice named MVP by his hockey team. And he was a humanitarian.

He is currently enrolled at Stanford University, where he is earning an M.D. and an M.B.A. in an accelerated dual degree program. He also has been involved in health care entrepreneurship as a founder of Silicon Valley companies.

"For my specialty choice, I'm entering emergency medicine for residency and am excited to continue serving individual patients and populations of people through a mixture of clinical practice, research and entrepreneurship," he says.

Immediately after graduating from Princeton, Leroux participated in a $25,000 Princeton in Africa fellowship, which allowed him to spend his first year after college working for a private company in Cape Town, South Africa, developing treatment strategies for AIDS patients who had fallen through the cracks of the public and private health-care systems.

Leroux has had a longtime interest in world health issues. While at Princeton, he learned about the dozens of grants for short-term research in foreign countries offered by the University’s Study Abroad Program. Leroux applied for the grants and spent the summers of 2005 and 2006 shadowing doctors and assisting in clinics in Ecuador and Kenya, through funding from Princeton.

While in Ecuador, Leroux listened to the local physicians lament the lack of basic supplies in their rural clinics. Upon returning to Princeton for his senior year, Leroux knew just what to do. Princeton makes it easy for students to start their own organizations, so Leroux was able to recruit some like-minded friends and established the Princeton World Health Initiative. The group visited local hospitals asking for any overstocked medical supplies, and ended up recovering $30,000 worth of stethoscopes, syringes and surgical tools that would otherwise have been discarded.

For Leroux, “This is a huge part of what makes Princeton what it is: giving students opportunities to pursue their passions and curiosity.”

Not all of that support comes solely from the administration through grants and fellowships. So much of his inspiration to follow his heart, Leroux says, came directly from faculty members, several of whom he counts among his good friends.

Leroux’s senior thesis adviser in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Andy Dobson, was one of his major influences. “He brought a real youthful enthusiasm to any idea that you had and any idea that he had,” says Leroux, “and was always chasing his curiosities and ideas in different directions.”

It was his work with Dobson that inspired him to apply for the Princeton in Africa fellowship, which helped set him on his current course in medicine.