Global Health Student Wins Career Development Award


Libby MacFarlane's MSc-GH thesis research used photography as a way to understand how climate change and a changing environment impacts the mental health of Nepalese women farmers.

Published September 4, 2014, last updated on April 6, 2020 under Education News

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) awarded a 2014-15 Career Development Grant to Master of Science in Global Health student Libby King MacFarlane. She's also pursuing a Master of Business Administration at the Fuqua School of Business with a focus on social entrepreneurship and global health.  

Career Development Grants help women advance in their careers. AAUW originally designed these awards to offer funding to AAUW members who were seeking to renew or resume academic work for career or employment advancement. The grants now assist women who are preparing to advance or change careers or to re-enter the workforce. One recipient used the grant to pursue advanced certification in auto mechanics at a community college. While there, she helped start a club to support female mechanic students. She’s just one of countless examples of how AAUW awardees work to empower women and girls.

"My career trajectory focuses on working and ultimately leading organizations that serve communities which are in need of planning interventions to address the chronic and acute effects of climate change, specifically mental health of women and girls," said MacFarlane. "This generous grant will help support my career goals by providing a foundation in global health and social entrepreneurship. The MBA in tandem with the MSc-GH at the Duke Global Health Institute will hone and extend my skills to best lead this type of organization.”

MacFarlane graduated from Wellesley College in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in Environmental Studies. She has a foundation in global management consulting, product innovation and change leadership. At Duke, her MSc-GH thesis research investigates the psychosocial impacts of climate change and a changing environment on rural farmers in Nepal. (Follow her blog.) She has also helped with a program evaluation of Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke, which helps social entrepreneurs in global health scale innovative solutions to solve complex problems. In addition, she was a member of the Displacement, Resettlement and Global Mental Health Bass Connections in Global Health team and was funded to conduct life-story interviews with refugees in Amman, Jordan.  

Another differentiator is her background as a social entrepreneur. She was a catalyst and leader of several key internal ventures at Infosys Consulting; She launched the green initiatives (US) and helped lead the Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF). Before coming to Duke University, She was a Global Health Trustees Fellow with International Honors Program comparing health systems in India, Argentina and South Africa. She is currently the Vice President and Founding Board Member of HeartMind International, a 501(c)3 dedicated to providing culturally-appropriate and sustainable mental health care to the most vulnerable populations in Nepal and around the world. DGHI faculty member Brandon Kohrt is the president and also a founding board member of HeartMind International.

“We’re so proud to continue this wonderful legacy and to salute this new class of fellows and grantees,” said Gloria Blackwell, AAUW vice president of fellowships, grants, and global programs. “They now join the ranks of Nobel Prize winners, celebrated authors, social entrepreneurs, and prominent scholars who have used AAUW funding to advance equality for women and girls.”

For the 2014-15 academic year, AAUW awarded a total of $3.7 million to 244 scholars, research projects, and programs promoting education and equity for women and girls through six fellowships and grants. AAUW is one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education, having awarded nearly $100 million in fellowships, grants, and awards to more than 12,000 women from more than 130 countries since 1888.