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Students learn from local leaders, faculty teach abroad. Drexel makes a global impact on community health.

September 15, 2015

This summer, our faculty, scholars, and students were actively engaged in a variety of global health and international development projects.

Associate Vice Provost Shannon Marquez, MEng, PhD, alongside co-facilitator Yanick Vibert, DO, assistant professor of Pediatrics with the College of Medicine, led a vibrant group of 21 MPH, Executive MPH, MD/MPH, MSN, and Global Health Certificate students throughout Senegal and The Gambia, in West Africa, on the Global Health Field Experience, to witness firsthand the healthcare structure of the two communities. The group met with healthcare workers and leaders in local communities, and received personal thanks from the President of The Gambia, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Dr. Alhaji Yahya J. J. Jammeh, for Drexel¹s commitments to improving health outcomes for the citizens of his country. (Photograph by Larissa Mogano).

Meanwhile, a dozen Dornsife Global Development Scholars from across the university took skills learned in campus classrooms and put them to the test in eight African communities where World Vision partners are on the ground. Undergraduate and graduate students from Public Health, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine worked alongside local experts on various Water, Sanitation and Hygiene projects.

  • Heidi Elnathan (Graduate, School of Public Health) worked in Lugazi, Uganda helping the World Vision Mukono/Buikwe Cluster office assess hand hygiene among health workers and the provision of hygiene and sanitation training to new mothers in Health facilities that provide MNCH (Maternal, New Born and Child Health) services.
  • Meinkeng Stephannie Acha-Morfaw (Graduate, College of Medicine) worked in Karongi, Rwanda within the Byiringiro Area Development Program, which is in the Western Zone. Stephannie conducted surveys within households, at schools, health centers and community hygiene clubs to measure the impact of WASH on children's health, children's education, and the economic impact to the children's families. She focused on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) where she compiled reports on existing resources for the community and how WASH can formally integrate MHM into its program.
  • Mom "Nini" Tatah Mentan (Graduate, School of Public Health) was located in the Karongi District, in the Western Province of Rwanda and worked within the Byiringiro Area Development Program. Nini used survey questionnaires to assess, the health, economic, educational impact of WASH on orphans and vulnerable children. She used survey questionnaires to evaluate management of water and sanitation infrastructures, community based environmental health programs and WASH in schools.
  • Christina Bowles (Graduate, School of Public Health) worked in Chipinge, Zimbabwe helping the Chipinge Area Development Program, evaluating ways to increase the sustainability of the functionality of water points with an emphasis on improving the functionality of water point committees.
  • Itoro Inoyo (Graduate, School of Public Health) worked in Balaka, Malawi where she supported the World Vision Malawi office, working with both the Ntcheu and Balaka Area Development Programs. Itoro facilitated and assisted in the monitoring and evaluation of ongoing MNCH projects under World Vision's Malawi's WASH office, which focus on improving health outcomes related to diarrhea, HIV/AIDs, acute respiratory diseases and malaria.
  • Gregory Kunkel (Undergraduate, College of Arts and Sciences) worked in Tamale, Ghana with the World Vision team in one of the most advanced water treatment labs in the entire continent. At the Regional Water Quality Lab, Greg supported a variety of initiatives that the World Vision Tamale Area Development Program currently has underway.
  • Andy Fox (Graduate, School of Public Health) worked out of the World Vision office in Savelugu, in Northern Ghana. Andy worked on a project called ³Software" where a team of World Vision personnel go into local communities and talk with people about hygiene behavior and the use of latrines, water stations, and other WASH programs.
  • Ruth Boansi (Graduate, School of Public Health) and Leah Popek (Undergraduate, School of Public Health) both worked within the Southern Africa Region in Zambia. The two assisted the Sinazongwe Area Development Program with several of their initiatives. Most notably, Leah and Ruth evaluated the health and social markers of communities with successful Mechanized Water Systems.
  • Oyinkansola Aderele (Undergraduate, College of Engineering) spent her 6-month co-op working with the Mazabuka community in Zambia. Oyin worked with the Mazabuka Area Development Program improving boreholes. She also worked on suggestions for more efficient drilling practices, while educating the communities on rehabilitation and maintenance.
  • Tara Tobin (Undergraduate, College of Arts and Sciences) completed a successful 6 month co-op placement in Zambia. Tara worked with the World Vision Choongo Area Development Program leading several projects including improving WASH in schools and WASH education in local communities.
  • Beatrice Mwonga (BS/MS, College of Engineering) returned to her home country of Kenya, to assist the World Vision WASH team in Nairobi on infrastructure enhancements. Her worked directly benefitted communities that she has grown up in witnessing firsthand the importance of proper WASH infrastructure.
  • In mid-October, two scholars will be departing for field work: Ben Hertford (Undergraduate, College of Engineering) and Felix Weffer (Undergraduate, LeBow College of Business) will be spending their fall/winter co-ops working with the World Vision Mozambique Office.

Dornsife School of Public Health faculty members also spent their summers abroad, teaching in international exchange programs including:

  • Darryl Brown, PhD, MPA, assistant professor in Health Management and Policy, served as a visiting professor for the Europubhealth European MPH program this summer, teaching classes during an integration module which joins first and second year students in Rennes, France for three weeks. Robert Field, PhD, MPH, JD, also taught with the Europubhealth program.
  • Ana V. Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, taught multilevel analysis  at the National University of Lanus in Buenos Aires Argentina in the context of a Fogarty Institute funded collaboration with the University of Michigan, the National University of Lanus, and INCAP from Guatemala. Students attended from several countries in Central and South America. She also spoke on urban health at the Universidad Federal de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil as part of an ongoing collaboration with the Urban Health Observatory of Belo Horizonte led by Dr. Waleska Caiffa.
  • Arthur L. Frank, MD, PhD, professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, was co-chair of a conference on Safety in the Mining and Construction Sectors held at the School of Public Health of the National University of Medical Sciences in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where discussions covered data on mining and construction safety in Mongolia, medical issues such as dust diseases of the lung, workplace assessment, and work done in Africa on mining safety.

Faculty and students, regardless of where they spent their summers, continued to focus on community-based learning and application of innovative science and methods to improve health in communities around the globe.