While most of us at DGHI are spending our summer days on campus in Durham, more than 130 global health undergraduate and master’s students are applying their classroom learning to the real world in low-resource settings across the globe. We reached out to a few of these students and asked them to share their thoughts about their fieldwork experience so far.
It’s a given that medical providers think about patient safety, but as Duke pediatric surgeon Henry Rice has discovered through his international research, many healthcare facilities fail to establish a safety culture—leading to preventable medical errors, complications and poor patient outcomes.
Twenty-five DGHI-affiliated authors—including faculty, staff and alumni—recently shared new discoveries on a variety of global health topics in peer-reviewed publications.
This past summer, five undergraduate Duke students traveled to five different countries to conduct research, thanks in large part to the generous donors behind two funds established to support undergraduate global health fieldwork.
According to a 2016 report by the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery, two out of every three people in the world lack access to surgical care. To bridge this gap, Duke Surgery has extended its reach beyond the City of Medicine and onto the global stage, with several initiatives combining research, training and collaboration to establish sustainable healthcare in areas of need.
“I wanted to work with communities internationally to learn about their culture, understand who they are, while at the same time providing service and advocacy,” said Okechi Boms, a 2016 alumnus. “DGHI has allowed me to seamlessly combine my interests in understanding peoples’ stories and working to improve their lives.”
According to David Boyd, associate professor of global health, millions of dollars have been spent in Guatemala to fight stunted growth, and yet the funding and interventions have had virtually no impact. That’s why he’s leading the development of a research-based, culturally appropriate nutrition intervention to address this prevalent and persistent issue in the poorer communities surrounding Lake Atitlán in Guatemala.
Several faculty members at Duke are collaborating with the Roosevelt Hospital in Guatemala City on a new clinical training initiative to improve the surgical care of children in Guatemala. In October, Gustavo Perez and Daniela Palencian, clinical residents at the Roosevelt Hospital, were the first visiting scholars in a new program for international trainees to rotate at Duke and University of North Carolina (UNC) hospitals to learn advanced pediatric surgical and anesthesia skills.
Each summer, dozens of Duke students embark on fieldwork projects in places like Africa, South America and Southeast Asia through the DGHI Student Research Training (SRT) Program. It’s an experiential learning program for sophomores and juniors that distinguishes itself by its yearlong commitment to global health research. Students returning from the field say the SRT program is an invaluable experience that is broadening their perspectives and preparing them for their careers.
More than 20 Duke undergraduates have been selected for DGHI’s signature undergraduate fieldwork program, the Student Research Training (SRT) program.