Victoria Wilson, author on Research Blog

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Last Monday, October 17, Duke University students who had conducted research in global health had the opportunity to present their work. From North Carolina to sub-Saharan Africa, the 2022 Global Health Research Showcase showcased work that tackles some of the world’s most pressing health issues. More than 40 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral student projects examined a wide range of issues, determinants and phenomena in countries on almost every continent. Here are some highlights from the project, in case you missed them:

Maeve Salm, pursuing her Masters in Global Health Sciences, traveled to Tanzania to study the use of contraceptives. Young Tanzanians are heavily impacted by teenage pregnancies, and Salm wanted to understand the desires for contraceptive use among HIV-affected adolescents. She learned that, just like in the United States, stigma influences access to sexual health care for adolescents. This qualitative study aimed to help young people achieve desired health outcomes and reduce HIV transmission by examining barriers and facilitators to family planning. The results indicate that youth action on reproductive health is of the utmost importance.

Maeve Salm presenting her poster at the 2022 Global Health Research Symposium.

Wondering about the Covid-19 response in other countries? Stephanie Stan, Master of Science candidate in Global Health, explored barriers and enablers to the pandemic response in Peru. Per capita, Peru has had the highest death rate from the disease of any other country. Due to several challenging factors, they have been slow to receive COVID-19 vaccines. However, they set up very successful vaccination campaigns once the vaccines were obtained. What can we learn from Peru’s response to the pandemic? Extended and proactive collaborations across sectors (healthcare, academia, and government) enable rapid public health responses to crises. It is important to have elected officials empowered to make decisions to promote science.

“I certainly met all the amazing people I interviewed and learned about their work and their involvement in Peru’s response to the pandemic. Learn what is happening by advancing from their point of view.

Stephanie Stan, when asked about her experience in global health research

Winner of the first place Graduate Student Research Award, Judith Mwobobia’s project examined cancer stigma in sub-Saharan Africa. Stigma is a huge barrier to getting treatment, which is a problem given that 70% of cancer deaths worldwide are from Africa. Perceptions of financial stress, misconceptions about cancer, and fear of death were common attitudes driving cancer-related stigma. Proposed interventions included education and policy recommendations for low-resource communities. Mwobobia is pursuing her Masters of Science in Global Health. Clearly a support group, her classmates burst into joy when the award was announced.

By Victoria Wilson, Class of 2023

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