International Health Fellowship
Center for Global Health
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
645. N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1058
Chicago, IL 60611
tel: +1 312 503 8829
fax: +1 312 503 8800
The International Health Fellowship was established by the Feinberg School of Medicine to provide support to medical students who wish to conduct international research projects. This year, several first, third, and fourth year Feinberg medical students will be awarded stipends to support their investigation of medical issues, public health systems and health policy, and/or health care delivery methods at an international site. The goal of the program is to gain a deeper understanding of how cultural and economic factors influence health care systems and promote scholarship among medical students in the field of global health.
How to Apply
Review the How to Apply page if you are interested in applying for the International Health Fellowship for the next academic year.
Research and IRB Resources for International Health Fellows
Review the Research & IRB Resouces page for additional information.
2011/2012 Fellows and Projects
This year four Feinberg medical students were awarded an International Health Fellowship.
Health Care Providers' Response to Sexual Violence Survivors: Exploring Local Strategy Compared to International Guidelines
Investigator: Kathryn Fay
Research Site: Uganda
No one denies the universal, devastating impact of sexual violence. And yet accurate estimates of its prevalence and even consensus on its definition remain elusive. Sexual violence research not only increases visibility of the issue and understanding of its dynamics, but also opens to door to the possibility of more coordinated, compassionate responses.
Information has been collected on the prevalence of sexual violence in Uganda and the experiences of sexual violence survivors. Therefore, particularly given the growing responsibilities of health care providers in sexual violence response (eg, they are part of the select few qualified to submit evidence to police), data on their behaviors and attitudes regarding sexual assault is of most utility. While international guidelines exist for sexual violence response in health care settings, there is ample evidence that actual practices vary greatly. For example, a small number of police surgeons perform forensic exams at select locations. This may limit access to exams but perhaps function as a discrete group for uniform response and training. International guidelines suggest that forensic exams and necessary medical care be offered in the same location and be easily accessible. A study of such differences may yield valuable information for a national policy that incorporates both international guidelines and existing strengths.
This project aims to explore sexual violence and the response of health care providers in Uganda.. The intention of this research is to investigate Ugandan health providers’ awareness of and attitudes towards recommended World Health Organization (WHO) and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Task Force on Gender and Humanitarian Assistance guidelines. Collecting information on hospital-specific protocol will elucidate the strengths of existing guidelines and strategies of Ugandan providers in response to sexual violence.
Alcoholism and Smoking in St. Petersburg, Russia: A Qualitative Study of Behavior, Views, and Possibilities for the Future
Investigator: Stanley Ilya Gutiontov
Research Site: Saint Petersburg, Russia
In the Russian Federation (RF), the life expectancy of men is a dismal 59.8 years: even when averaged with the 73.2 year life expectancy of Russian women, the RF average life expectancy is worse than that of Iraq and North Korea. This statistic is due in large part to alcohol and tobacco use, which together account for nearly 50% of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in the country. In spite of this and the fact that the death rate in the RF is 5th in the world, the RF’s sparse legislative (beer is now officially an alcoholic beverage), medical (much treatment is based on narcology, an outdated Soviet methodology), and economic (the RF’s tax on cigarettes is the lowest in Europe) responses targeting alcohol and tobacco have been largely ineffective. Though much work has been done accumulating quantitative data regarding alcohol and tobacco use, qualitative studies regarding the Russian people’s views and ideas for moving forward are difficult to find. Through a series of interviews to be conducted at Pavlov State Medical University in St. Petersburg, this study will seek to begin to answer the following primary question: how do the Russian people view the tobacco and alcohol epidemics in their country and do they have ideas for improving the situation? The information thus collected should be of use generating novel paths forward in what appears, by all measures, to be a bleak public health situation in the RF.
Comparison of Beliefs and Stigma Associated with Chagas Disease amongst Bolivian Highlander Yapacanis and Lowlanders
Investigator: Karina Nieto
Research Site: Palacios, Bolivia
Chagas is a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) that afflicts nearly 10 million people worldwide. The Centro Medico Humberto Parra Clinic, located in the rural rain forest on the Eastern part of Bolivia, estimates that over 50% of the patients are affected by the disease. The patient population is for the most part rural and has limited access to healthcare. Since there is no effective cure for Chagas, the remedy lies in continued preventative measures. In order to obtain patient compliance, it is crucial that we understand the social context and belief system present. In Bolivia there are dramatic cultural differences between the Highlanders and the Lowlanders given that Highlanders remained an autonomous population much longer. The Highlanders’ long autonomy resulted in limited Westernization. Many Highlanders continue to resort to Jampiris and other traditional healers who often times diagnose Chagas patients as having contaminated inner fluids. The primary objective of this research project is to gain a better understanding of Highlanders’ and Lowlanders’ cultural attitudes, stigmas and beliefs towards Chagas, in order to modify as necessary the way preventative measures are taught and the way the chronic disease is managed.
Disability and Quality of Life in Patients with Lyphatic Filariasis in Rural Southern India
Investigator: Cristina Thomas
Research Site: India
According to the World Health Organization, lymphatic filariasis, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, is the second leading cause of disability worldwide. Across 81 countries, approximately 120 million people are infected with the disease, and of those infected, an estimated 40% reside in India alone. The most disfiguring symptoms of lymphatic filariasis, elephantiasis and lymphedema, cause long-term suffering in patients who are then often embarrassed or even rejected from their communities. Because of the disease’s debilitating physical and social effects on patients, this study will explore the intersection of disability and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in lymphatic filariasis patients in India. Specifically, HRQoL and disability in lymphatic filariasis subjects and age- and gender- matched control subjects will be compared. Two HRQoL tools , the general Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) and a disease-specific instrument developed by a dermatology group in India will be used to gauge HRQol. In addition, the demographic and disease-specific factors associated with HRQoL and disability in filarial lymphedema subjects will be identified
2010/2011 Fellows and Projects
This page last updated May 11, 2012