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Meet Health Grand Challenge Past Interns: 2011

Hilary Bartlett, 2012, Woodrow Wilson School


Project: Common Property Problems in Health

Organization/Location: Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy, India

Advisers: Kristina M. Graff, Associate Director, Center for Health and Wellbeing, Woodrow Wilson School; Ramanan Laxminarayan, Research Scholar, Princeton Environmental Institute

This summer I spent nearly three months in Delhi, India working for the Center for ­Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP) and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). As part of my work for PHFI, I wrote a 16-country survey that details the health ­systems of a range of different countries around the world. My survey will be ­published and submitted to the Indian government as part of a larger report that offers an ­implementation strategy for achieving Universal Health Coverage. In addition to the 16-country survey, I also helped to edit and shape several chapters of the larger report. With CDDEP, I helped write planning documents, and assisted with the budget, for a large-scale study on the effect of health insurance on various health-seeking behaviors among Indian households just above the poverty line. I also undertook small research projects including two literature reviews--the first on the impact of various nutritional ­programs on low birth weight, stunting and anemia, and the second on the economic benefits of reducing the prevalence of those conditions. (See presentation.)


Kevin Bors, 2013, Electrical Engineering


Project: Development of High Performance Quantum Cascade Lasers

Organization/Location: Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

Adviser: Claire Gmachl, Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering

The goal of this project was to develop a method for non-invasive glucose sensing. This would be particularly useful for those afflicted with diabetes, who need to test their blood glucose levels often. In Professor Claire Gmachl’s laboratory, experiments explored the possibility of using powerful and tunable lasers known as Quantum Cascade Lasers, or QCLs, for such sensing purposes. I spent the summer programming in a language called Labview, in order to control laboratory equipment via computer. My program controlled both a QCL and a bi-axial rotation device (BARD), capable of rotating two axes – in this case usually the sample and a detector for taking light intensity ­measurements. The ­program enabled the production of extremely high resolution graphs exploring the ­interactions of mid-infrared light with skin, while decreasing the amount of human ­involvement, and thus human error, needed in the experiment. I learned a lot about ­visual programming languages, along with the applications of such languages. I will continue to work on this project into the fall semester. (See presentation.)


Courtney Crumpler, 2013, Anthropology


Project: The Future of Global AIDS Treatment and the Social Determinants of Health

Organization/Location: Africare, Mozambique

Adviser: João Biehl, Susan Dod Brown Professor of Anthropology, Co-Director, Program in Global Health and Health Policy

In Mozambique this summer, I conducted an independent research project and worked as an intern at Africare, a US-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). My goals were to investigate cooperation between Brazil and Mozambique around HIV/AIDS care and treatment, and to learn more about how foreign NGOs operate in ­developing ­countries. I worked part-time with the Country Director for a Africare, ­sitting in on ­meetings, asking questions, and assisting him with program planning and ­management. Outside the ­office, I conducted interviews with professionals working in other NGOs in the ­Mozambican government and in the United States and Brazilian ­foreign ­service. We spoke about health interventions presently being facilitated by ­Brazilians or ­Brazilian-affiliated organizations and about objectives for the future. As an intern, I was exposed to ­realities of aid delivery as well as ­observed the ­challenges and rewards of directing an NGO. Through my ­research, I gained firsthand information about the Brazilian influences in Mozambique that are changing the landscape of healthcare there. As I continue to work on this ­project, I hope to situate all that I learned over the summer within a broad understanding of global health and to learn more through writing my Junior Paper and Senior Thesis in the anthropology department. (See presentation.)


Annette Dekker, 2012, Woodrow Wilson School


Project: Palliative Care and Pain Treatment in Zithulele Hospital

Organization/Location: Jabulani Rural Health Foundation, South Africa

Advisers: Joseph Amon, Lecturer in Public and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School; Georges Reniers, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Woodrow WIlson School; Benjamin Gaunt, Jabulani Rural Health Foundation; Karl le Roux, Jabulani Rural Health Foundation

I interned at the Jabulani Rural Health Foundation, which works closely with ­Zithulele ­Hospital and is located in a remote area along the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Through the use of both quantitative and qualitative interviews, I conducted ­research on the ­availability and use of pain medication and palliative care at Zithulele ­Hospital, ­specifically in relation to infectious diseases such as HIV and TB. Conducting ­approximately fifty ­patient interviews, I was able to establish a crucial insight into what level of pain ­patients were suffering from, how patients perceived their pain, what they believed was the cause, and what path they typically followed in seeking out treatment. Interviews with ­doctors, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists at Zithulele Hospital, and nurses in the surrounding clinics, shed light on typical clinical practices and what inhibitions ­exist in proper implementation of palliative care. It is clear both that there is a ­significant need for pain treatment and palliative care and that limited resources of health professionals make implementation of such care challenging. I will continue with a more in-depth analysis of the data as I work with the research for my senior thesis. (See presentation.)


Raphael Frankfurter, 2013, Anthropology


Project: The Future of Global AIDS Treatment and the Social Determinants of Health

Organization/Location: Wellbody Alliance, Sierra Leone

Adviser: João Biehl, Susan Dod Brown Professor of Anthropology. Co-Director, Program in Global Health and Health Policy

In my second summer researching in resettlement camps for civilian war-wounded and amputees in Kono, Sierra Leone, I worked with the NGO Wellbody Alliance to ­develop and implement a new community health project. I began the summer conducting ­ethnographic research in the camps to gain a thorough understanding of the needs of the amputees, and determined that food insecurity, nonadherence to medications, and lack of access to prostheses were major problems affecting the health of the ­community members. I then worked to design a community health intervention in which Wellbody Alliance would hire community members to monitor amputees taking medications, ­assess community-members who seem sick, bring amputees into the district prostheses workshop for refittings and physio therapy, and provide daily salaries to amputees who work in livestock farms run by Welbody Alliance. When I left, we had implemented this project in four camps, and within one year community healthworkers should be working in all nine of Kono’s resettlement camps. (See presentation.)


M. Derek Gideon, 2012, Comparative Literature


Project: Assessing HIV/AIDS & Health Literacy/Access in Rural Villages

Organization/Location: REPACTED, Kenya

Advisers: Mahiri Mwita, Lecturer in Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies; Collins Odu Odour, REPACTED Youth Group

My project in Kenya was twofold: to produce an assessment report for the ­theatre-against-AIDS organization REPACTED in Nakuru, Rift Valley Province, and to ­facilitate the creation of new theatre-against-AIDS troupes in the rural area around ­Isebania Town, Southern Nyanza Province. In Nakuru, I conducted a follow-up to the survey I had implemented the previous year. I then used that data to produce a ­report examining the organization’s impact in the community and outlining ­opportunities for future outreaches. In Isebania, I helped two new theatre-against-AIDS troupes to ­assess their performances and produce their first organization profiles and grant ­proposals. From this experience, I gained valuable insight into the process of creating a sustainable community organization as well as into the ways in which the arts can play a crucial role in solving community problems. The latter insight will be central to my independent work and future graduate study in oral poetry. (See presentation.)


Florence Hsiao, 2013, Molecular Biology


Project: Waterborne Diseases: Public Education

Organization/Location: Soboyejo Research Group, Kenya

Advisers: Winston Soboyejo, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials; Mahiri Mwita, Lecturer in Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

The overarching goal of my summer internship was to determine people’s access to ­potable water in the Kuria region of Kenya and to implement household water ­treatment systems as needed. During my time in Kuria, I conducted 60 household surveys and ­bacterial tests on drinking water in four neighboring villages. Through the surveys, I gained an understanding of how lack of access to potable water affects nearly all aspects of life, due to the constant recurrences of waterborne diseases such as typhoid. Moreover, my research indicated that there is a great need for an affordable water treatment solution such as the ceramic water filter. With the aid of the data I collected, I hope to continue my project and fulfill the second part of my goal by developing a sustainable solution. In addition to my research, I also helped install a rainwater collection system at a rural primary school. (See presentation.)


Dora Huang, 2013, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Project: The Naz Foundation

Organization/Location: Naz Foundation, India

Adviser: Anastasia Vrachnos, Princeton in Asia

The Naz Foundation (India) Trust works on a variety of advocacy and care programs for both the HIV/AIDS infected and affected. As an office and care home, Naz India deals with not only the legal and administrative side of HIV/AIDS care, but also the ­everyday medical and psychological consequences of the illness. Through a variety of programs, Naz works to address the high level of stigma and discrimination associated with the disease, develop and train aspiring care homes and counselors, and provide daily ­emotional and medical support to any and all affected. While there, I collaborated with many of the existing programs to produce a tri-monthly newsletter and a training manual for developing care homes. I also spent a large amount of my time with the kids, whether in “formal” event settings or in the everyday context of the care home (where the office is located). I learned so much about the community context of HIV/AIDS, outside of a textbook or a classroom, and how its presence impacts and shapes everyday life and behavior (of not just those infected). Through this internship, I know now that I do wish to pursue a career in public health – and one in a community, face-to-face setting. (See presentation.)


Moses Icyishaka, 2013, Economics


Project: The Future of Global AIDS Treatment and the Social Determinants of Health

Organization/Location: The Future of Global AIDS Treatment and the Social Determinants of Health, Rwanda

Adviser: João Biehl, Susan Dod Brown Professor of Anthropology, Co-Director, Program in Global Health and Health Policy

My internship afforded me the opportunity to travel all around the country of ­Rwanda to observe and learn from an array of NGOs and associations working on behalf of HIV-positive adults and young adults. I spent the majority of my time in Kigali, where I worked with three very different organizations. The first was an umbrella ­organization that mobilizes and supports a variety of smaller associations comprised of, or aimed to, support HIV-positive individuals. The second was a small association of ­HIV-positive middle class women, and the last was an organization that trains lay ­counselors and provides professional counseling to a wide variety of individuals that need ­counseling but cannot afford it. I was also able to explore the organizations ­working in the more rural regions of the country, including OJEPAC, an organization that ­raises awareness and helps educate teenagers on the subject of HIV in the ­northeast province of Gisenyi, a small health center in a remote village towards the western part of the country, and a cooperative in the south. (See presentation.)


Sophia Jih, 2012, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Project: Common Property Problems in Health

Organization/Location: The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, India

Adviser: Ramanan Laxminarayan, Research Scholar, Princeton Environmental Institute

I went to Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in Delhi, India with the general goal of finding data for my tentative thesis project on measles dynamics within India. Aside from this goal—and changing my topic several times when data proved nonexistent or difficult to obtain,—I also helped with various projects at CDDEP. I was mostly involved with planning for the first Global ­Forum on antibiotic resistance in developing countries, a conference that will take place in October in New Delhi. Aside from this and helping with data requests and analysis, I also worked on a paper about antibiotic resistance in infants with neonatal sepsis. Hopefully this work will help provide an incentive to fund future studies targeting less-researched subjects such as the burden of sepsis. Through my travels and work experiences, I was able to understand the state of the Indian health system and how non-governmental organizations can interact with the community and with the government. I also learned a lot from listening to my coworkers discuss the various career and academic paths they’ve taken. I hope my newfound knowledge from this summer will help me decide what future schooling to pursue after graduation.


Jamie Joseph, 2013, Woodrow Wilson School


Project: Ubuntu Africa

Organization/Location: Ubuntu, South Africa

Adviser: Mallory Sheff, Ubuntu Africa

This summer I worked for Ubuntu Africa (UBA), a South African NGO that works to ­provide comprehensive care to HIV-positive children and teens. UBA is based in ­Khayelitsha, a township based just outside of Cape Town that has high rates of ­poverty, ­unemployment, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. For my main project, I put together an ­Ubuntu Africa ­Chapter Package. In an effort to raise awareness about the ­organization and its ­mission, UBA ­wanted to offer motivated college students a set of resources to help them start ­on-campus groups that would support the organization. I created a “chapter ­package,” a ­combination of checklists, letter templates, and organizational guides to educate ­students about Ubuntu Africa, and to help them as they work to advocate for the ­organization. These materials will soon be modified by the organization for use by other potential support groups, such as high school students or adults. I also assisted UBA with outreach, through research, social media outlets, and through my personal blog. My ­fellow interns and I researched numerous organizations, both South-African based and international, looking for NGO’s that UBA could forge partnerships with in the future. Then, we used social media—especially Twitter and Facebook—to reach out to these groups. Finally, my blog became an additional publicity tool for the organization; it can be found at ubuntuintern.tumblr.com. (See presentation.)


Erick Kazarian, 2012, Molecular Biology


Project: Infections During and After Surgery

Organization/Location: Rothman Institute, Pennsylvania

Adviser: Carl Deirmengian, Rothman Institute

My internship at the Rothman institute focused primarily on the clinical study of ­infection in patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty. Specifically, we were interested in ­identifying whether or not patients were more likely to contract infections with the use of latex-free gloves, which have been shown to demonstrate a significantly higher puncture rate than the standard latex glove. Thus, my responsibilities were to attend patient operations, ­record surgical information, and log long-term patient wellness into a patient database that I had programmed during the previous summer. This database allows us to store the patient information in a unified system which will ultimately allow us to investigate any potential correlation between glove type and infection rates. Given the nature of my ­responsibilities, and the incredible amount of personal contact that I had with the patients, I was able to gain a rare insight into the medical world, particularly in regards to the doctor/patient relationship. I believe these skills will serve me very well as I plan to pursue my own career in medicine.


Thomas Letchford, 2014, Undeclared


Project: AIC Kijabe Hospital in Kenya

Organization/Location: AIC Kijabe Hospital, Kenya

Adviser: Jennifer Myhre, AIC Kijabe Hospital

Working with the Africa Inland Church (AIC) Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya, and with an ­undergraduate student from Yale University, I researched the extent of Maasai ­community knowledge regarding the potential toxicities of the traditional medicine. AIC Kijabe ­Hospital and hospitals throughout East Africa have often struggled to treat patients that have taken some form of traditional medicine and been ­accidentally ­poisoned. My ­colleague and I travelled through two different areas, administering ­surveys we had drafted to both traditional healers and general community members. We investigated specific herbs with known potential toxicities, as well as various pieces of other ­demographic information, in an attempt to understand the thinking behind the continued use of traditional medicine among 21st century Maasai. Under the guidance of several physicians at the hospital, we put our findings into a paper, which we hope will provide a platform for further work in this field. The project exposed me to study design and field research, and has continued to feed my desire to be involved in healthcare in the developing world. (See presentation.)


Carmina Mancenon, 2014, Operations Research and Financial Engineering


Project: Child Mortality and its Effects on Family Planning in Zithulele Village

Organization/Location: Jabulani Rural Health Foundation, South Africa

Adviser: Joseph Amon, Lecturer in Public and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School; Georges Reniers, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Woodrow WIlson School; Benjamin Gaunt, Jabulani Rural Health Foundation; Karl le Roux, Jabulani Rural Health Foundation

Over nine weeks this summer, I implemented a rural healthcare research project in Zithulele Village, South Africa. One of the founding doctors of the hospital estimated that around a third of the Xhosan women in the hospital’s maternity ward had lost a child. ­Using this as a starting point, my research focused on the effect of child ­mortality on ­women’s ­fertility choices within the Zithulele Hospital patient base. My research ­involved both quantitative and ethnographic approaches. I collected and processed data from ­maternity case records, then built on these statistics by learning more about the ­surrounding culture (eg. Xhosa medication, family planning ideals, etc.). This was done by interviewing people in the community: mothers, fathers, doctors, and ­traditional ­healers. The culmination of my research was a presentation I gave to the hospital ­doctors and staff, a written summary, and a working academic paper. Being immersed the ­Xhosan lifestyle and people, with all the resources and time to complete a research project, ­was, for me, the best way to understand a new culture, learn first-hand about the ­research process, and add a new dimension to my perceptions on rural health.


Megan Orlando, 2012, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Project: Cultural and Socioeconomic Determinants of Antibiotic Consumption in the U.S.

Organization/Location: Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, Washington, D.C.

Adviser: Ramanan Laxminarayan, Research Scholar, Princeton Environmental Institute

During the course of my internship, I began an independent research project that I plan to develop into my senior thesis. I worked with a Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) Research Analyst to ­investigate cultural and socioeconomic determinants of antibiotic consumption in the United States. I used statistical analysis to examine county-level antibiotic use patterns and produce a consumption function. This project allowed me to research factors that influence ­antibiotic use at both regional and international levels. I also performed ­cross-cultural comparisons across Europe with a thorough literature review and then moved the ­discussion to the United States. Through this experience, I developed my own research question and ­determined the best methods for analysis. This was my first long-term global health research project, and it allowed me to investigate cultural and social norms that transcend nationality. I also attended events hosted by CDDEP and became ­acquainted with the office staff and my co-workers. I thoroughly enjoyed this look into the careers of global health researchers, though I plan to pursue a career in clinical medicine. (See presentation.)>


Megan Partridge, 2014, Civil and Environmental Engineering


Project: Just a Drop in the Bucket: Ceramic Water Filters for Global Health

Organization/Location: The Soboyejo Research Group, Mpala Research Centre, Kenya & Princeton University, New Jersey

Advisers: Mahiri Mwita, Lecturer in Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies; Winston Soboyejo, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials; Tiffany Tong, Graduate Student, Electrical Engineering

I spent the summer introducing point-of-use colloidal silver impregnated ceramic ­water filtration technology to communities in Kenya, with the ultimate goal of ­reducing ­water-borne disease and stimulating economic development. After conducting ­laboratory tests at Princeton to determine the microbial removal and flow rate of the filter ­technology and designing a baseline survey and follow-up assessments to ­analyze the ­filter’s practical effect on user health and wealth, I initiated a six-month pilot ­project in ­Kenya. My work in Kenya provided insight into the design, distribution, and ­implementation of low-cost ceramic water filtration technology in a rural village. I conducted laboratory and field testing to begin identifying and evaluating customer ­benefits and opportunities for product refinement and a marketing entry strategy. I also ­developed community outreach programs for health and sanitation education. I hope to see the pilot project develop into a sustainable private sector supply chain for ­ceramic water filters in Kenya. (See presentation.)


Hana Passen, 2012, Classics


Project: Liberian National Malaria Control Program

Organization/Location: Liberian National Malaria Control Program, Liberia

Advisers: Kristina M. Graff, Associate Director, Center for Health and Wellbeing, Woodrow Wilson School; Joel Jones, National Malaria Control Program

My summer internship working for the Liberian National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) was focused on efforts to cut the transmission of malaria within Liberia in half, with ­special focus on at-risk populations such as pregnant women and children under 5 years of age. While at the NMCP, I helped write a funding proposal to UNICEF to support ­projects on child survival and its associated budget, and a centralized report on community case management of malaria, detailing the procedures and lessons learned. I produced three newsletters on different aspects of malaria and the NMCP’s role in combatting ­malaria, and worked with a team developing a monitoring and evaluation ­strategy for the use of insecticide treated nets. Finally, I was privileged to sit in on meetings ­discussing the private sector’s purchase of subsidized malaria treatment drugs for low cost sales, and meetings on the two-year operational plan for the NMCP and other curative ­medicine programs in Liberia’s Ministry of Health, both at the national and county level. I learned a great deal about malaria prevention activities, and even more about the ­tensions and ­complexities within a public healthcare system functioning at different ­levels of ­governance. It was particularly interesting to observe the interaction of policy and ­implementation. This internship has solidified my interest in public health as a discipline, and I am considering pursuing a career in the field. (See presentation.)


Tristan Perez, 2014, Molecular Biology


Project: Economic Burden of Enteric Fever

Organization/Location: Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Nepal

Adviser: Jeremy Farrar, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit and Princeton Global Scholars

I interned at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) in Nepal, working on an independent research project focused on the economic burden of Enteric Fever, which is endemic within the country. Information on the cost of treatment could affect public policy and could provide a reason to implement a vaccination program. I was focused on finding an approximate dollar amount spent on direct medical costs as well as ­indirect costs - which includes money lost by taking time off work - to ­household ­during the course of the illness. This would give a general picture of how much a family is impacted by a family member with Typhoid Fever. In order to collect data I ­interviewed follow-up patients in the Outpatient Department (OPD) using a questionnaire I had ­designed. I was also able to observe the OPD and visit patients in their homes in the ­impoverished sectors of Kathmandu. I learned a lot about how the health system in ­underdeveloped countries functions and how public policy is determined. I hope to continue to study infectious diseases and how they affect populations. (See presentation.)


Stefanie Siller, 2013, Anthropology


Project: Assessing HIV/AIDS & Health Literacy/Access in Rural Villages

Organization/Location: REPACTED Youth Group, Kenya

Adviser: Mahiri Mwita, Lecturer in Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies; Collins Odu Odour, REPACTED Youth Group

This summer, I worked with REPACTED, a Magnet Theater group based in Nakuru, ­Kenya, that focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention. Magnet Theater uses performance to create a ­forum for communities to discuss health and social issues in the ­developing world, such as HIV/AIDS, female circumcision, and alcoholism. Magnet Theater helps ­audiences to ­analyze the factors contributing to risky health behaviors by ­dramatizing a ­situation in which a character needs to choose whether or not to engage in a risky behavior. The audience is asked to advise the character and the troupe ­facilitates the ­discussion, ­providing ­information and allowing the audience to analyze the ­issue as a ­community. My specific project was to work with REPACTED to train two youth groups from the rural Kuria West District of Kenya to perform Magnet Theater ­outreaches in their own ­communities. Together with a few other interns, I assisted ­actors from REPACTED with a three-day ­training workshop for these youth groups. ­Specifically, I ran a voice ­projection workshop to help the actors be heard in the outdoor marketplaces where Magnet ­Theater is typically performed.


Joongyu Song, 2013, Woodrow Wilson School


Project: Assessing HIV/AIDS & Health Literacy/Access in Rural Villages

Organization/Location: REPACTED Kenya, Kenya

Adviser: Mahiri Mwita, Lecturer in Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies; Collins Odu Odour, REPACTED Youth Group

I interned with REPACTED Kenya, theater group in Kenya that uses Magnet Theater, a form of street theater, to raise awareness and educate the community, about issues regarding sexual health. I conducted surveys in the regions they are targeting to gauge public opinion about a range of issues about sexual health. The data we collected and analyzed will be used by REPACTED in the future to tailor their theater outreach efforts.


Camila Vega, 2012, Comparative Literature


Project: Common Property Problems in Health

Organization/Location: The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy, India

Advisers: Kristina M. Graff, Associate Director, Center for Health and Wellbeing, Woodrow Wilson School; Ramanan Laxminarayan, Research Scholar, Princeton Environmental Institute

I was an intern at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy (CDDEP) in New Delhi, India. There, I was able to learn not only about the general workings of health care and public policy in India, but also about antibiotic resistance and the necessity to recognize antibiotics as shared international resources. I assisted with writing policy briefs and content for the HealthyIndia.org website on topics ranging from cancer to staying healthy during the monsoon season. I also helped plan for the 1st Global Forum on Bacterial Infections: Balancing Treatment Access and Antibiotic Resistance, which CDDEP is hosting. Additionally, as part of my thesis research, I studied public responses to outbreak situations, such as the recent emergence of New Delhi Metallo-ß-Lactamase 1 (NDM-1) in India and abroad. Working with CDDEP broadened my overall concept of healthcare; helped me to think more critically about global issues, such as antibiotic resistance; and allowed me to develop a more nuanced understanding of public health policy in developing countries.


Emma Watt, 2013, Comparative Literature


Project: Assessing HIV/AIDS & Health Literacy/Access in Rural Villages

Organization/Location: REPACTED, Kenya

Advisers: Mahiri Mwita, Lecturer in Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies; Collins Odu Odour, REPACTED Youth Group

This summer, I worked with REPACTED, a Magnet Theater group based in Nakuru, ­Kenya, that focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention. Magnet Theater uses performance to create a ­forum for communities to discuss health and social issues in the developing world, such as HIV/AIDS, female circumcision, and alcoholism. Magnet Theater helps ­audiences to ­analyze the factors contributing to risky health behaviors by dramatizing a ­situation in which a character needs to choose whether or not to engage in a risky behavior. The audience is asked to advise the character and the troupe facilitates the ­discussion, ­providing information and allowing the audience to analyze the issue as a ­community. My specific project was to work with REPACTED to train two youth groups from the rural Kuria West District of Kenya to perform Magnet Theater ­outreaches in their own ­communities. Together with a few other interns, I assisted actors from ­REPACTED with a three-day training workshop for these youth groups. Specifically, I ran a voice projection ­workshop to help the actors be heard in the outdoor ­marketplaces where Magnet Theater is typically performed. I also observed several outreaches each week and helped the groups to reflect on their progress.


James Williams, 2013, Chemistry


Project: The Dynamics of Japanese Encephalitis Virus Transmission

Organization/Location: Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam

Adviser: Jeremy Farrar, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit and Princeton Global Scholars

The Oxford University Clinical Research Unit aims to positively impact the ­prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a variety of infectious and tropical diseases through ­clinical and laboratory research. My particular project at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) focused on ­evaluating the ecological role of pigs in the transmission of Japanese Encephalitis ­Virus (JEV), a mosquito-borne pathogen that causes severe encephalitis in about 30,000-50,000 people each year. As part of my internship, I reviewed and analyzed over 40 years’ worth of epidemiological data on JEV in both pigs and humans, much of which had not been published in English. My project culminated with a thorough report on the differences in JEV transmission between northern and southern Vietnam. ­Ultimately, the data I collected will help build an extensive mathematical model that ­explores the causes and implications of these regional differences as Vietnam moves ­towards the successful control of JEV through vaccination. Seeing firsthand how ­laboratory research could have a substantive clinical impact proved very ­rewarding, and I’ll take the insights gained at OUCRU with me as I complete my independent work in the Chemistry department. (See presentation.)



Project: Liberian National Malaria Control Program

Organization/Location: National Malaria Control Program, Liberia

Advisers: Kristina M. Graff, Associate Director, Center for Health and Wellbeing, Woodrow Wilson School; Joel Jones, National Malaria Control Program

Interested in learning more about public health delivery, I spent two months ­interning with Liberia’s National Malaria Control Program. I participated in a weeklong ­training program about malaria for nurses and also sat in at various public health ­policy ­setting and evaluation meetings. I also worked with the Clinton Health Access ­Initiative in ­Monrovia, the Montserrado County Health Pharmacist’s Office and Derek ­Willis, a ­researcher at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, to create a digital map of all health facilities in Montserrado County of Liberia. This map will be used for future ­research and monitoring work by various health organizations in Monrovia. In ­addition, I had an on–the-ground experience of public health delivery by travelling with a team to ­assist with monitoring and evaluation of mosquito net distribution and ­insecticide ­spraying programs in very remote areas of Liberia. This internship taught me a great deal about malaria and other tropical diseases. It also taught me more about the complexities inherent in tackling them, and cost-effective prevention and ­treatment techniques that have been adopted to suit the culture and low-income status of developing countries like Liberia, Ghana, and Ethiopia.