The Department of Global Health awarded fifteen international travel fellowships to support the projects and research of graduate students and medical residents at UW for the next academic year. Students from varied disciplines across the University, including global health, epidemiology, nursing, psychology, architecture, and environmental health, will travel to eight countries to engage with local communities and pursue fieldwork experience. Projects range from expanding equitable access to family planning in Tanzania to examining the impact of urban green space on mental and public health in Peru.
The Department’s travel fellowships are funded through the generous donations of private individuals and organizations, as well as support from the Department of Global Health. Learn more about Department for Global Health fellowships for fieldwork here.
Emilia Cardenas, MPH Student, Department of Global Health | Colombia
Emilia is an MPH student in the Department of Global Health. With support from the Warren G. Povey Endowed Fund, Emilia will travel to Mitú, Vaupés, a department located in the Amazon region of Colombia. Her project will focus on understanding and documenting obstetric experiences of indigenous communities and biomedical providers in the suburban area of Mitú. This includes researching the local cosmologies of health and reproductive processes, gathering qualitative reproductive health data, and understanding the different agendas (indigenous and biomedical) around obstetric care. Throughout the project, Emilia hopes to continue learning about how other cultures understand sexual and reproductive health, which is embedded in broader notions of socioecological wellbeing that differ greatly from the Western perspective. She also hopes to continue building bridges between the indigenous communities and the local hospital of Mitú and collaborating to improve the obstetric health landscape.
Jorge ‘Coco’ Alarcon, PhD Student, Department of Global Health | Peru
Coco is a PhD student in the Department of Global Health, who will be traveling to Iquitos, Peru with support from the GO Health Fellowship. Coco’s project is to assess the health impacts and implementation outcomes of the “Healthy Amazonian Green Cities” program. The program consists of educational packages on health and ecology, and design and construction of residential green spaces to promote the construction and maintenance of green spaces to address several health and environmental concerns in the city, including dengue, leptospirosis, mental health and wellbeing, urban heat island effect, water, and air quality, abundance and biodiversity of local species. The lack of green infrastructure in Amazonian cities like Iquitos undermines resiliency in the face of climate change and disproportionately affects systematically marginalized people locally and globally. Lack of green space is linked to myriad human health problems, as well as ecological health problems. Iquitos community and governmental organizations have expressed interest in applying urban ecological design and implementation science methods to address environmental and public health issues. Coco hopes to strengthen partnerships with local stakeholders, refine methods and tools of the program evaluation, and refine intervention for future phases.
Nada Ali, MPH Student, Department of Global Health | Kenya
Nada is an MPH student in the Department of Global Health. Her project is a qualitative assessment of opportunities and barriers to improve hearing care access for young children. Hearing health has garnered increasing attention as a neglected global health problem over the last several years. The GO Health Fellowship will enable her to pursue this project in Kenya, an ideal setting to do this formative work because of the recent commitment from policymakers to address hearing loss through the development of a national strategy for ear and hearing care. She is very excited about the opportunity to learn about Kenya, its people, and its culture. Nada hopes to continue honing her qualitative research skills and learning how to advocate for children with hearing impairment as a future global health-focused otolaryngologist. She also hopes to one day use the lessons she learns from working in Kenya to strengthen the health system in Sudan, her birth country.
Nicole Ayamanjemi, MPH Student, Department of Global Health | Democratic Republic of Congo
Nicole is an MPH student in the Department of Global Health. With support from the GO Health Fellowship, she will be traveling to Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. The goal of her project is to conduct a needs assessment to determine the extent to which key newborn care approaches are being implemented in selected health facilities in the Lubumbashi region of DRC to provide guidance for reducing newborn mortality. Through this project, Nicole hopes to uncover answers to the following research questions: What are the current norms and practices for care of preterm and low-birth-weight newborns? To what extent are components of the national “1000 days of Life” policy, and components of the WHO-recommended Family Centered Care (FCC) policies being implemented? What are the perspectives of maternal and child health care MOH leadership, providers, mothers and family members on FCC? This project aligns with Nicole’s research interests and will also enable her to complete her thesis/capstone.
Megan Coe, PhD Student, School of Nursing | Kenya
Megan is a PhD student in the School of Nursing, with a keen interest in the use of Implementation Science to improve care for children. Throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, Megan was engaged with the Lishe Bora Study through a research practicum. The Lishe Bora Study is an ongoing mixed-methods study that aims to understand the current experience of linking patients between HIV and nutrition services in Migori and Homa Bay Counties of Kenya and takes a participatory approach to identifying solutions. This fieldwork project is a continuation of that work, made possible by the GO Health Fellowship. Megan hopes to collaborate with others to identify, develop, and scale strategies to improve quality of care for children in low-resource settings. Through coursework in both Nursing and Implementation Science, she has explored various theoretical frameworks and methods that can be used to guide intervention development. This project will provide an opportunity to put this learning into practice and gain experience in the member-checking phase of rigorous qualitative research and in moving from the identification of barriers and facilitators to developing an intervention. She is also excited about the opportunity to engage with the research team at KEMRI to develop relationships that she hopes to continue in future collaborations.
Rebecca Kann, PhD Student, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences | Mozambique
Rebecca is a PhD student within the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. She will be traveling to Beira, Mozambique with the support of the GO Health Fellowship. Her primary role will be to perform water quality sampling and analysis at various points in the drinking water distribution system to characterize exposure to microbial and chemical contamination in the water supply. The water quality data will contribute to the interpretation of any findings of the health impact of the improved piped water network in the area and allow for further studies investigating a critical exposure pathway affected by water supply. Through this project, Rebecca hopes to gain a better understanding of people’s lived experiences and how they interact with their drinking water sources. Additionally, she hopes to expand her methodological skills, both in collecting water samples in the field and analyzing them in the lab. With more personal knowledge of the project and study area, she will be better equipped to form more impactful research questions and produce more valuable findings from future research.
Dorlim Uetela, PhD Student, Department of Global Health | Mozambique
Dorlim is a PhD student in the Department of Global Health. As a recipient of the GO Health Fellowship in 2020, Dorlim will be pursuing her project on a process, impact, and economic evaluation of differentiated service delivery models of HIV treatment in Mozambique. Through this experience, she hopes to collect cost data for economic evaluation. HIV is her primary area of interest. The implementation of differentiated service delivery models is expected to respond to many challenges related to HIV service provision in Mozambique. Therefore, evaluating this implementation is relevant and opportune.
Liying Wang, PhD Student, Department of Psychology | Uganda
Liying is a PhD student in the Department of Psychology. With support from the GO Health Fellowship, she will be traveling to Kampala, Uganda to pursue her project on integrated PrEP and ART delivered in Ugandan public health clinics to improve HIV and ART outcomes for HIV serodiscordant couples. Liying has always been interested in peer support, modeling behavior, and how this dynamic plays out in different cultural contexts. This project will allow her to empirically analyze how one partner's medication adherence behavior may impact the other person's behavior among couples in Kampala, Uganda. Liying hopes to contextualize analysis results and interpret the results together with the local research team.
Nok Chhun, PhD Student, Department of Global Health | Kenya
Nok is a PhD student in the Department of Global Health Implementation Science Track program. As a recipient of the Thomas Francis, Jr. Global Health Fellowship, Nok plans to engage in her dissertation work, evaluating early phase implementation outcomes of a Stepped Care intervention among adolescents and young adults with HIV (YWHIV) in western Kenya. Appropriately prioritizing YWHIV needs can simultaneously optimize health services resource utilization, helping mitigate healthcare worker burden in already strained resource-limited settings. Nok hopes to identify adaptations made to the Stepped Care intervention that influence acceptability, feasibility, and appropriateness. She is also interested in learning about the barriers and facilitators influencing intervention implementation. This project offers an opportunity for her to collaborate with and learn from Seattle and Kenya-based research teams about what interventions work to support retention in care to improve health outcomes in this population.
Elizabeth Gulleen, MS Student, Department of Epidemiology | Uganda
Elizabeth is an MS Student in the Department of Epidemiology, who will be working at the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) in Kampala, Uganda, with support from the Thomas Francis, Jr. Global Health Fellowship. As an infectious disease physician, she is particularly interested in partnering with local clinicians to improve the diagnosis and treatment of infections among patients who are receiving cancer treatment in resource-limited settings. Her project is titled: “Factors that affect the timely diagnosis and treatment of neutropenic fever in Ugandan patients with cancer.” In this project, Elizabeth will work with UCI staff to identify the factors that affect the ability to rapidly start the appropriate antibiotics for patients with cancer who develop fevers during their treatment. Their goal is to identify which barriers to antibiotic delivery most frequently occur and can be readily modified. She hopes to work together to design and test strategies to improve timely antibiotic delivery and ultimately decrease infection-related deaths among patients receiving cancer treatment in resource-limited settings.
Erin Ingle, MPH Student, Department of Global Health | Tanzania
Erin is an MPH student in the Department of Global Health. Through the Thomas Francis, Jr. Global Health Fellowship, Erin will be traveling to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to work with Health Tanzania Foundation to build up a family planning aspect of their existing primary healthcare insurance system. The people served by this program are primarily those who are living in extreme poverty, are living with HIV, and/or are orphaned or widowed. She believes family planning is an essential aspect of primary healthcare and she wants to learn how to expand equitable access to family planning for those who are most marginalized in Tanzanian society. Erin hopes to learn more about family planning in resource limited settings, as well as stakeholder engagement and community centered design. Having previously worked in Tanzania, she also hopes to continue building relationships with the community there and learning about the rich culture of Tanzania.
Hedieh Mehrtash, PhD Student, Department of Global Health | Lebanon
Hedieh is a PhD student in the Department of Global Health. She will be traveling to Beirut, Lebanon to pursue her project with support from the Thomas Francis, Jr. Global Health Fellowship. Hedieh is interested in the quality of maternal and newborn care, especially in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Therefore, her project centers on improving respectful maternity care in this understudied region. Using qualitative data analysis as part of her PhD dissertation, Hedieh hopes to better understand health providers' perceptions towards implementation of labor companionship across 3 MENA countries.
Caitlin Moe, PhD Student, Department of Epidemiology | Colombia
Caitlin is a PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology, who was awarded the Thomas Francis, Jr. Global Health Fellowship in 2020. This year, Caitlin will be engaged in her project regarding the epidemiology of violence in Colombia. She decided to pursue this topic because armed conflict is an under-recognized problem in global child health, and Colombia's armed conflict across space and time allows application of robust epidemiology methods to assess effects. Through this project, Caitlin hopes to learn more about access to data, as well as the experiences of people who have survived armed conflict or were forcibly displaced.
Natalie Weiss, MLA Student, College of Built Environments | Peru
Natalie is an MLA student within the College of Built Environments, who will be traveling to Iquitos, Peru, with support from the Thomas Francis, Jr. Global Health Fellowship. Her project is focused on addressing human and ecological health impacts caused by the lack of green space in Amazonian cities through community education, community workshops, and the creation of demonstration gardens. Through the dissemination of educational material and participation in community workshops, the project will engage the Calle Yavari community and other local stakeholders on the value of urban green space for mental and public health, while providing tangible tools to design and implement green spaces that reduce vector-borne diseases. Natalie chose to pursue her project in Peru because of the unique consideration of multiple health, social, and ecological factors that impact Amazonian cities' built environments. Natalie hopes to learn more about interdisciplinary collaboration between landscape architects, policymakers, and public health officials when creating, designing, and constructing green spaces. She is excited to learn more specifically the types of design decisions that can positively impact public health and the process of bringing a design from concept phase to construction. Lastly, she hopes to learn successful strategies for community engagement that she will carry throughout her career in landscape architecture.
Kidist Zewdie, PhD Student, Department of Epidemiology | Uganda
Kidist will be going to Uganda and focusing on reproductive health of young women in East Africa.