MA international development
What are you doing now?
I have completed all of my coursework for my PhD at Johns Hopkins (in public health) in the Health Behavior and Society Department, but have taken a 12-month leave of absence for a phenomenal field experience. I currently work for the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) as a research coordinator in Uganda. We are working on a study to assess the feasibility of introducing rapid diagnostic tests for malaria into the private sector.
That's a mouthful for sure.
Basically, there are two research projects currently underway in Uganda with the single objective of reducing resistance to ACTs (anti-malarials). One project focuses of drug adherence, and the project I am working on aims to increase diagnostics so that people know whether or not they have malaria before taking ACTs, which are more expensive, and so they can get the proper treatment if they do not have malaria, and are encouraged to finish their anti-malarial doses with an accurate diagnosis. More importantly, can RDTs be properly implemented in the private sector as 60 percent of the population relies on drug shops versus public health centers?
How did GHA help prepare you for this position?
This is hard to outline in a few lines. I think the staff diversity is a key part of the department. I had professors who made sure I could read and understand PH data, tear apart indicators and make solid analytical decisions, professors who allowed us, as a department, to be creative with our needs and create student groups that best facilitated our needs/interests, and professors who could help us integrate into the professional world through current experiences.
One thing that stands out in my mind looking back at my time at DU is how much energy and support was provided to GHA students to build their educational experience. We were given a lot of freedom to take our student group to any direction that we felt was valuable.
For me personally, GHA challenged me academically, pushing me to produce work that was thoroughly researched, statistically validated, well-written, and personally invested. Through GHA (Randall specifically), I found the perfect summer internship that shaped and defined my work post-DU. I was able to apply the skills I developed in my first year, and came back with a clear understanding of my role in the greater field of international studies (which can be overwhelming).
GHA staff looks at every student as a single entity, and helped me identify and build my personal strengths. I entered DU knowing that I wanted a career in International Development with a vague understanding of what that meant. I left DU with a much clearer view of where I fit in the world of global health, very specific carer goals, an amazing network of colleagues and friends, and the confidence to reach my personal goals. I sincerely look back on my time at GHA as one of the most important and valuable educational/transitional periods of my professional life.
International medical mission