Exploring the world to make a difference: 2016 CGPH Fellows embark on new adventures

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Exploring the world to make a difference: CGPH Fellows embark on new adventures

By: Amie Zhangada, Center for Global Public Health

As the school year winds down to a close and summer edges closer, students across UC Berkeley anticipate traveling overseas. Whether it be an academic, personal, or adventurous endeavor, many hope to explore the world, immerse themselves in new cultures, and create lifelong memories. For some, the prospect of improving the lives of the less fortunate is alluring. This summer, UC Berkeley’s 2016 fellows plan to leave the comfort and convenience of home to serve those in resource-poor communities.

Annually, the UC Berkeley Center for Global Public Health (CGPH/SPH) awards summer fellowships to graduate students to pursue their passion for global health. This summer, eight fellows will travel far and wide to international sites and universities in 7 different countries for faculty-mentored global health opportunities tied to large, collaborative global studies. Bay Area global health faculty and researcher mentors who support the students from day one hail mainly from UC Berkeley School of Public Health, as well a handful of faculty from UCSF Global Health Sciences; though many students also find mentorship in-country with local collaborators. CGPH Fellows will explore research in Costa Rica, Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania, Mexico, Thailand, and Cameroon. Each fellow is interested in various fields and collectively their research covers a span of health efforts aimed at improving communities worldwide.

First year MPH student Jillian Kadota plans to spend her summer in Shinyaga, Tanzania researching the health impacts of heavy load carrying in Tanzanian women. In expressing her motivations and goals, Kadota said, “One of my main objectives coming into my MPH program was to gain a meaningful summer internship experience that would allow me to both put into practice the public health skills I have learned thus far at Berkeley, as well as expand my horizons as a public health professional interested in doing fieldwork in women’s health on a global scale. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to study the health effects of heavy load carrying in women in Tanzania, and anticipate this experience to be a defining aspect of my time as an MPH student here at Cal.”

In Costa Rica, Carly Barker, a first year student in the MS Global Health and Environment program plans to assess occupational pesticide exposures and adverse health outcomes among conventional and organic farmworkers. Folasade Wilson-Anumudu focuses on child malnutrition and she anticipates studying nutrition programs in Mfangano Island, Kenya. As a first-year MPH student in the Public Health Nutrition program, she hopes to take her knowledge and skills to dedicate a career in developing the nutritional status of communities in Nigeria.

From her experience working in Lee Riley’s Lab, Emily Pearman will spend her summer in Niterói, Rio Janerio State focusing on NCDs in slums. Samuel Schildhauer is in the process of acquiring his masters in hopes of working in infectious diseases, epidemiology, surveillance and control. He will investigate the epidemiology of influenza in Bangkok, Thailand. “I am very excited to gain experience in the field of infectious disease epidemiology this summer at the Thai Ministry of Public Health in Nonthaburi, Thailand. In the future I would like to focus my work in Southeast Asia, and feel that interning in Thailand will provide me with valuable hands on public health experience in the region.”

Claire Boone has worked in Malaysia, Ghana and Montreal on projects relating to infectious diseases, and will expand her endeavors to Brazil this summer. She is interested in implementing and evaluating public health programs aimed at reducing diseases related to poverty. As a Doctor of Public health student at UC Berkeley, Lisa DeMaria will use a mixed methods approach to assess the quality of care and policy evidence from Mexico.

Every summer, CGPH also sends Global Health Reporting Fellows into the field every summer to create a work of journalism investigating issues related to health equity. This year, Shane Fallon, who is an MPH who in her spare time heads up a popular blog SF Eats in SF, will explore the sociocultural and behavioral relationships between food, nutrition, and the obesity epidemic in Peru. She has dreams of exploring public health, culture, and food the way Anthony Bourdain has explored travel and food.

Brian Rinker, a dual master’s degree in journalism and public health at UC Berkeley, was selected to report on the eradication of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis in Cameroon. Brian expresses his excitement to be a part of this opportunity: “I’ve never been anywhere in Africa before and had no idea my first trip would be traveling to Cameroon for a journalism project on such a significant issue— one that could affect the millions of people suffering from infectious diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa. I can’t wait to hit the ground in Yaoundé and begin reporting on a new mobile technology that has reinvigorated global public health efforts to eradicate River Blindness and elephantiasis.”

Together, these summer fellows take their extensive experience and research abroad to impact those living in areas of need. With the support of CGPH, they work towards advancing the community both at home and overseas.

If you are interested in learning more about their summer research and experiences, the global health fellows will be showcasing in a UC Berkeley Global Health Fellows Symposium in the Fall. Details will be posted on the CGPH website in the summer. See CGPH Fellows bios here