What do environmental health, energy consumption, art restoration, music therapy and concussions have in common? They’re all topics Duke undergraduates, graduate students and faculty members studied together over the past year as part of Bass Connections, an interdisciplinary research program that explores big, unanswered questions about major societal challenges.
These projects and many others were on display in the form of poster presentations and “lightning talks” at the program’s first-ever Bass Connections Showcase on April 20. The event highlighted projects from all five of the program’s themes: Brain and Society; Information, Society and Culture; Global Health; Education and Human Development; and Energy.
“The students wanted an opportunity to learn from one another about what they had been working on across all the different themes over the course of the year,” said Lori Bennear, associate professor of environmental economics and policy at the Nicholas School, during the opening remarks.
The Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) was well-represented at the event. Global health doctoral scholar Justin Lana and global health major Luiza Perez gave a talk about their research in the Peruvian Amazon, a few global health-themed teams presented posters, and several students and teams with ties to DGHI received awards.
Global Health Teams and Individuals Honored with Awards
Bass Connections Award for Outstanding Mentorship
Fourth-year Duke medical student and Master of Science in Global Health alumnus Tony Fuller was one of two recipients of the Bass Connections Award for Outstanding Mentorship.
Bass Connections Follow-on Student Research Awards
Kira Battle, a student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, is a member of the Bass Connections project team Global Alliance on Disability and health Innovation (GANDHI). Her follow-on project is to establish a baseline understanding of the rehabilitation services provided at Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. Her mentors are DGHI faculty member Michael Haglund and DGHI affiliate Janet Prvu Bettger.
Luiza Perez, a sociology and global health major, is a member of the a member of the project team Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America, mentored by assistant professor of global environmental health William Pan. As a member of the team, Perez developed a study on the efficacy of different insecticide-treated bed nets in repelling anopheles mosquitoes and the occupational risk factors associated with leishmaniasis in the Peruvian Amazon. In her follow-on project, she’ll investigate differential gene expression in migrants and non-migrants of Madre de Dios, Peru.
Kushal Kadakia, a global health minor, is part of the Bass Connections NC Medicaid Reform Advisory Team, which studied the challenges facing the state’s current Medicaid program and provided recommendations for state-level policy action. Kadakia and three other students from the team will take their work further through a project called “Reforming North Carolina Medicaid.” Their mentors are Barak Richman, professor of law and business administration, and Allison Rice, clinical professor of law and director of the Health Justice Clinic at the Duke School of Law.
Bass Connections Award for Best Poster
The poster, “Identifying the Needs and Barriers to Patient-Family Education to Improve Neurosurgery Patient Outcomes in Mulago National Referral Hospital, Uganda,” won the award for best poster. The team was led by DGHI faculty member Michael Haglund, DGHI researchers Joao Ricardo Vissoci and Emily Smith, and Duke medical student and Master of Science in Global Health alumnus Tony Fuller.