Bass Connections in Global Health

Bass Connections is a university-wide initiative that provides students with greater exposure to inquiry across the disciplines, partnership with fellow students at a variety of stages in their educational career, sustained mentorship in teams, and the chance to experience the intersections of the academy and the broader world.

bass-connections-icon.jpgThrough Bass Connections in Global Health, students – undergraduate through doctoral – have the opportunity to participate in courses, experiential learning and faculty-led field projects to find solutions to global health challenges. Its education programs and activities help develop participants’ ability to work creatively and collectively to address health disparities worldwide, and cultivate strong mentoring, research and teaching skills of graduate and professional students, and postdoctoral scholars.

How to Participate

Project TeamsGateway CoursesAdvising SheetFAQ


Lysa MacKeen
Assistant Director of Experiental Learning

Theme Director

Mary Story
Professor, Community & Family Medicine and Global Health
Associate Director for Academic Programs


Contact Lysa MacKeen for deadline information specific to each project

Apply Now

Application Form for Open Project Teams

Project Teams

Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation (GANDHI)


Without notice, an acute illness or injury can be life-altering. The most vulnerable and underserved population is those who suffer acutely from loss of functionality and drastic change in social role as they transition home from the hospital. Yet this experience and the transition home receive little attention globally. Most measures quantify death, readmissions and burden without truly considering quality of life and how the surrounding system influences recovery.

Closed Projects

Building Capacity for Surveillance and Diagnosis of Respiratory Viruses in Sarawak, Malaysia (2017-2018)

Countries: Malaysia

In recent history, emerging respiratory viruses have led to considerable human and animal morbidity and mortality across Southeast Asia. The region is considered a hotspot for novel respiratory virus emergence as often dense populations of humans and domestic animals live in close proximity. Some areas have the additional risk of pathogen emergence due to the mixing of pathogens reservoired in wild animals with the human and domestic animal populations.


Cookstoves and Air Pollution in Madagascar: Finding Winning Solutions for Human Health and Biodiversity

Countries: Madagascar

Respiratory health is a major global health challenge, especially in low- and middle-income countries. In urban areas of the developing world, air pollution from automobiles, burning of refuse and under-regulated industry pose significant health risks. In rural areas, open-fire cooking increases exposure to carbon monoxide and small and large particulate matter, which can lead to serious long-term health consequences. These health effects often asymmetrically impact those who do the cooking and are near the cooking fires: women and their dependent children.

Customizing a Tool to Collect Complex Network Data among HIV-positive Youth in South Africa (2017-2018)

Countries: South Africa

HIV-positive youth repeatedly demonstrate lower levels of retention in HIV care and adherence to antiretroviral therapy compared to older adults. Developing evidence-based interventions to improve HIV care and engagement in this population will require an in-depth understanding of factors shaping retention and adherence behaviors from multiple levels of influence.

Decisions on Complex Interdisciplinary Problems of Health and Environmental Risk (D-CIPHER) (2017-2018)

Topics: Climate change
Countries: United States

This project is based on the view that as a society we could be making better decisions to address risks to the environment and human health, be they anthropogenic or naturally occurring stressors and events. An important step in enabling such improvement is to better understand the interconnected physical, social and temporal factors along the life cycle of a set of decisions related to characterizing and managing risks.

Duke Undergraduate International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Team (2017-2018)

Topics: Engineering

Rapid advances in synthetic and systems biology, metabolic and enzyme engineering and nanotechnology are having profound impacts on biotechnology and related engineering fields. The Duke Undergraduate International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Team was founded to stimulate and nurture students' interest in science and engineering and prepare them to be future leaders in these emerging fields. iGEM works to advance the state of synthetic biology both in and out of the lab.


Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America - Leishmania

Countries: Peru

For the past 3 years, we have run a successful Bass program in Peru to train students in field epidemiology and bench-to-field science focused on understanding human health impacts from ongoing environmental change due to gold mining, road construction and heavy metal exposure. This application continues this general theme by focusing on cutaneous leishmaniasis. Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease that is transmitted by a phlebotomine sandfly.

Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America: Impact of an Oil Spill in the Peruvian Amazon (2017-2018)

Countries: Peru

Over the past year, five large-scale oil spills have occurred in the northern Peruvian Amazon region of Loreto, resulting in over 7,000 barrels of oil being spilled into the rain forest, primarily near or in indigenous lands. Over 8,000 people from approximately 30 indigenous communities have been affected by the oil spills.


Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America: Research and Policy Development to Reduce Chemical Exposures

Countries: Ecuador

In September 2015, our team was approached by the Peruvian Government to assist in drafting their strategic plan to reduce heavy metal exposure. As part of this plan, we will help design a rapid assessment of heavy metal exposure in select regions of Peru, consisting of formative interviews, community market surveys, and assessment of potential routes of exposure and obtaining samples from humans and potential environmental sources of exposure.

Further developing the implementation of a distance-based executive style degree completion program for Ghanaian nurse anesthetists

Further developing the implementation of a distance-based executive style degree completion program for Ghanaian nurse anesthetists

Faculty: Sumedha Ariely; Adeyemi Olufolabi Topics:
Countries: Ghana

This proposed project will serve as an extension of the existing Bass Connections Project, and would provide a mechanism for evaluating data collected in association with the implementation of the distance program, as well as align resources to support the development of the non-technology based components of the project.


Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation (GANDHI)


Without notice, an acute illness or injury can be life-altering. The most vulnerable and underserved population is those who suffer acutely from loss of functionality and drastic change in social role as they transition home from the hospital. Yet this experience and the transition home receive little attention globally. Most measures quantify death, readmissions and burden without truly considering quality of life and how the surrounding system influences recovery.

Human Health Risks, Environmental and Ecosystem Damage Associated with Contamination of Used Motor Oil at Auto-mechanic villages in Ghana

Faculty: Fred Boadu; Dennis Clements Topics: Water
Countries: Ghana

In underdeveloped nations, advancement in economic and human development depends on growth in the transportation sector, which is dominated by imported used automobiles. In these nations, usually land%u2014an auto-mechanic village%u2014is allocated strictly for repair and service of automobiles. There are hundreds of such auto-mechanic villages in many cities in Ghana and Africa due to increasing human population and urban growth.

Interculturally Competent Analysis of the Uptake of Routine Vaccination

Interculturally Competent Analysis of the Uptake of Routine Vaccination

Countries: Ghana

In recent years, many public health initiatives promoting vaccination uptake in infants have begun to leverage the growing mobile-cellular subscription base in developing countries — either by sending reminders on upcoming vaccinations to caregivers using inexpensive voice or text messaging services, or via provision of smart digital data collection and management systems on phones that enable frontline community health workers keep track of vaccination histories and coverage indicators.


POCkeT Colposcope: Increased Distribution and Adoption

Countries: Peru

Cervical cancer affects 500,000 women worldwide each year, resulting in more than 270,000 deaths annually. The majority of cases occur in low-income countries that cannot afford the tools commonly used in the United States. To address this challenge, researchers at Duke's Global Women's Health Technologies Center have developed the POCkeT (Point of Care Tampon) Colposcope to screen for cervical cancer.


Spirituality, Self-management and Chronic Disease among Ethnic Groups of Robeson County, North Carolina

Topics: Religion, Culture
Countries: United States

Engagement in self-management skills has been demonstrated to improve health outcomes, yet individual and community-based factors contributing to engagement is less clear. Spirituality, which has been associated with positive effects on mental health including coping, resiliency, and fostering social networks, plays an important role in effective improvement of chronic disease outcomes among minority populations.


Gateway Courses

GLHLTH 101 - Fundamentals of Global Health
Introduces global health issues and challenges, equipping students with an understanding of the key concepts, tools, and frameworks essential for continued study in global health. Course focuses on disease burden, health determinants and disparities, health policy and actors, and the challenges of global health interventions.

GLHLTH 701 - Global Health Challenges
Introduces major global health problems and social, behavioral, economic, biomedical and environmental determinants of health in resource limited settings. Topics include communicable diseases, chronic diseases, and determinants of health associated with these diseases. Other topics may include health promotion, reproductive health, maternal and child health, and disaster preparedness.

View All Courses


Frequently Asked Questions

When do projects begin?
  • There are currently nine project teams accepting student applications. Please visit the project teams detail pages listed above for more information regarding these opportunities. Individual project timelines vary but will include project activities between Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 depending on the individual project structure.
How do I apply?
  • Interested students should complete the general Bass Connections application on the central website and indicate their interest in Global Health projects on that form. Project specific application requirements will be listed on the project detail page of each individual project listed above. If you have any questions, please contact Lysa MacKeen for additional information.

Who is eligible to participate?
  • All students - undergraduate, graduate, and professional students are eligible and encouraged to apply if there is a project team of interest.

Can I get course credit?
  • Gateway courses: There are a number of recommended gateway courses for students interested in the Bass Connections Global Health theme activities. These courses include GH 101 and GH 107. Please see individual project team listings for additional recommended courses.

    Bass Connections GH courses: Individual project teams may offer participants the option of receiving credit for their participation in the Bass Connections GH team. Credit cannot be accorded for project work completed in prior semesters. There are two course numbers available for students registering for these independent studies.

    Global Health 395 should be used by undeclared students.
    Global Health 795 should be used by undergraduate students who have declared their majors and all graduate students.

Is there funding available for Bass Connections projects?
  • Funding in the form of stipends or travel grants may be available for individual Global Health Bass Connections Projects. Students who are accepted to a project team will receive stipends or grants according to the individual project structure. Project funding should not be an incentive or a barrier to student application to a specific project. Students who are receiving funding for their participation in a Bass Connection project may not receive academic credit for the same work or within the same time window.

What is the time commitment required by students?
  • Student time commitment will vary by project. Projects involving fieldwork are likely to have a higher total requirement of engagement over time but interested students should review individual project listings and contact project directors to clarify specific project expectations.

Do Bass Connections projects fulfill the experiential learning requirement for the Major?
  • Under certain circumstances, students may use their Bass Connections participation to fulfill the Global Health Major Experiential Learning Requirement. Select Global Health Bass Connections projects will be pre-approved for completion of this requirement. Students should review the Experiential Learning page to see if an individual project has been pre-approved to meet the major requirement. If the project is not pre-approved, students may submit a request for approval.

Faculty FAQ