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

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Project Teams

Closed Projects

Addressing Global Health Needs among Refugee Children and Families in Durham County

Countries: United States

In September 2016, UNICEF released a report estimating that 50 million child refugees and migrants worldwide have been displaced from their countries of origin. The U.S. receives 70,000 refugees annually. From July 2015 to June 2016, Durham received roughly 14% of the 3,000 refugee families resettled to North Carolina.

Developing a Mobile Phone-based Community Health Program for Hypertension Control in Nepal

Countries: Nepal

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of deaths and disability in many low-and middle-income countries, including Nepal. Prevention of cardiovascular diseases demands innovative solutions through multidisciplinary and multifaceted approaches.

Nepal's female community health volunteer program has been in place for three decades. Duke researchers have conducted a trial to successfully extend the roles of these volunteers from primarily maternal and child health interventions to include hypertension, a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.

Developing Data Tools for Natural Disasters: Implementing Best Practices for Electricity-dependent Medicaid Enrollees (2019-2020)

Faculty: Donald H. Taylor, Jr. Topics:
Countries: United States

The Medicaid program provides basic health care services for 2 million low-income and/or disabled people in North Carolina, representing 2 in 5 people in the state. Medicaid beneficiaries are among the hardest hit by hurricanes as low-income individuals are more likely to live in flood-prone areas and have primary dwellings that are less structurally sound, and they are less likely to have flood insurance.

Help Desk: A Student Initiative to Help Address the Social Determinants of Health (2019-2020)

Faculty: Janet Prvu Bettger; Jen'nan Read Topics:

Addressing the social determinants of health (SDOH) is a critical step in reducing health disparities. Leading health agencies have organized SDOH into six groups: food security, economic stability, education, neighborhood and physical environment, community and social context and the healthcare system. Studies indicate that SDOH account for nearly 70% of all health outcomes.

Mapping Legacy Lead in Urban Soils to Help Improve Children's Health (2019-2020)

Faculty: Joel Meyer Topics: Child health
Countries: United States

Lead poses a serious threat to urban communities, especially among children. For decades, the World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency have raised awareness about risks of lead poisoning, while researchers continue to lower "safe" levels of lead exposure. Despite the removal of lead from paint and gasoline, children will continue to be exposed to lead for many decades to come.

mHealth for Better Routine Immunization Data in Honduras

Countries: Honduras

Vaccinations are a highly cost-effective public health intervention. They prevent over 2.5 million childhood deaths each year. Despite the availability of these life-saving interventions through national routine immunization programs, children in resource-limited settings remain susceptible to preventable infections due to delays in, refusal to accept or lack of access to vaccinations.

Social-ecological Networks and Zoonotic Disease in Rural Madagascar (2019-2020)

Faculty: Charles Nunn Topics:
Countries: Madagascar

This project will investigate the links between biodiversity, infectious disease and human health in a rural community in Madagascar. Research has documented conflicting associations between land use change and infectious disease risk, with some studies finding that deforestation increases disease risk for humans, while other studies find the opposite pattern. It is critically important to make sense of these conflicting patterns.

Understanding Men’s Involvement in Family Planning Care in the Philippines (2019-2020)

Faculty: Sumedha Ariely Topics:
Countries: Philippines

Globally, family planning is primarily female-centered, even though male preferences around family planning are important drivers for reproductive behavior and contraceptive use. In low- and middle-income countries, the presence of men in most family planning clinics is negligible, with significant social and cultural barriers to access and acceptance of services.

Vaccine Misinformation and Its Link to Vaccine Hesitancy and Uptake in Durham

Topics: Immunization
Countries: United States

Vaccinations administered during pregnancy and the first year of a child’s life are crucial for preventing a myriad of potentially deadly and debilitating infections such as polio, pertussis, measles, influenza and tetanus. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence on the benefits of vaccinations, pregnant women and parents of young children often refuse to accept, or choose to space out, vaccinations for themselves or their children.


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.

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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