Duke PhD students Sarah Diringer and Jenny Orgill from the Pratt School of Engineering and Nicholas School of the Environment respectively have been selected as Global Health Doctoral Scholars. Through the Duke Global Health Institute, the Global Health Doctoral Scholars program offers PhD students the opportunity to explore their work from other areas of study through the lens of addressing health disparities.
Diringer, a PhD student in civil and environmental engineering at the Pratt School, is working with Helen Hsu-Kim and William Pan to study the impacts of mercury contamination from small-scale gold mining in the Madre de Dios Watershed of Peru. Small-scale mining now represents the second largest contributor to atmospheric mercury pollution, after fossil fuel combustion. The project team will collect sediment, fish, and human hair and blood samples and administer a questionnaire with community members in the region. Diringer recently traveled to Peru. Read more in her blog.
“I am very excited to work with Dr. Pan to examine both the human and environmental health of the Madre de Dios watershed in Peru,” said Diringer. “We hope to provide a more comprehensive look at the impacts of small-scale artisanal gold mining on both indigenous and non-indigenous communities. This project would not be nearly as meaningful without research collaboration from Pratt, Nicholas and the Duke Global Health Institute.”
Orgill is a PhD student in environmental economics at the Nicholas School. Last year, she completed a Master of Public Policy at Duke during which time she implemented a household survey on drinking water quality, water treatment, storage and handling practices in rural Cambodia, under the direction of DGHI faculty member Marc Jeuland. As a Global Health Scholar, she will continue to work with Jeuland and Subhrendu Pattanayak on global environmental health research.
“In Cambodia, I learned how valuable it was to have the input of environmental engineers, public health specialists, and epidemiologists as I designed and conducted my study. While I approach research from an economist’s background, I hope that through collaboration with DGHI faculty and students, I will be able to improve the quality of my research and widen its impact on the global health community,” wrote Orgill in her proposal. “Similarly, I also hope to bring a unique perspective, combining water, economics, and health sectors, to contribute to the learning and research of the global health community at Duke.”
Diringer and Orgill join four other Global Health Doctoral Scholars at DGHI.