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Drexel Making a Difference in Cambodia

March 9, 2015

A project entitled Expanding Education and Research Capacity in Cambodia: A situational analysis project to stimulate new partnerships in global health and nutrition began in December of 2014 with an exploratory trip to Cambodia. Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD, an Assistant Professor in the Nutrition Sciences Department, and Silpa Reddy, an MS Candidate in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, traveled to Cambodia to meet with organizations that are engaged in community-driven programming aimed at reducing poverty and malnutrition through diversifying and increasing food production and income. The long-term goal of this project is to develop mutually beneficial education and research partnerships between Drexel University and health-related organizations in Cambodia.

The primary objective was to determine the feasibility of developing mutually beneficial relationships to expand international education and research capacity, co-curricular development, as well as civic engagement among Drexel University and organizations with field offices in one municipality (Phnom Penh) and two Cambodian provinces (Battambang and Siem Reap). Geographic locations were selected based on proximity to the Tonle Sap Lake, an area with some of the highest rates of food insecurity. Milliron and Reddy met with USAID, OXFAM, and PADEK, to name a few organizations, and visited field sites in remote rural villages to observe some of the community education components of Cambodia HARVEST, one of the USAID-lead projects that has been particularly successful Additional objectives were accomplished by visiting local markets and collecting observational data on food availability, access, cost and location. This project will also lead to the development of a preliminary draft of Reddy's plan of study in preparation for pursuit of her doctoral degree in the Department of Nutrition Sciences.

Still underway, this project will result in mutually beneficial collaborations among faculty, researchers and students. Those who are interested in getting involved are encouraged to contact Milliron at Milliron is also exploring innovative sponsorship solutions to support study abroad opportunities for students who are studying in Cambodia and Vietnam.