Each year, the Duke Global Health Institute honors outstanding students and faculty members with several awards. This year, as is commonly the case, the award conferring committees were hard-pressed to select winners, given the abundance of nominations for highly deserving candidates. Award recipients are listed below.
Outstanding Capstone Award
Mary Story, professor and associate director for academic programs, presented the outstanding capstone award. Through the capstone, the culminating experience for the Duke global health major, students execute a team-based project. Consulting with their professor, experts in the field and community members, they apply what they learned in their coursework and fieldwork to design a feasible solution to a real-world global health problem.
Under the mentorship of their professor, Dennis Clements, this year’s winning team developed an obesity prevention intervention in partnership with churches in the local Latino community. Their goal was to increase awareness about healthy eating and increase household access to healthy foods through a food truck. They intend to pilot the program with a large Latino church in Durham, North Carolina, with the hope of establishing a sustainable, scalable program that could be implemented in other U.S. communities.
Team members include Aimee Lansdale, Natalie Lubin, Virginie Marchand, Christina Schmidt and Andrew Wang.
Outstanding Undergraduate Professor Award
Associate professor David Boyd was voted this year’s outstanding undergraduate professor based on student nominations.
“Words don’t do justice to the profound impact Dr. Boyd has had on me and many of my peers during my time at Duke,” one student wrote. “His engaging teaching style is what convinced me to become a global health major, and he has been an incredible mentor and role model ever since.” The student continues: “He constantly challenges students to take full ownership of their research, allowing them to gain first-hand experience with all aspects of the research process, and the trust he puts in us has greatly increased my independence and self-confidence.”
Another student called Boyd “absolutely inspirational” and expressed gratitude for the personal interest Boyd took in his learning and progress.
Outstanding Graduate Student Award
Devon Paul received the outstanding graduate student of the year award, also called the “Madeline Boccuzzi Award” in remembrance of an exceptional Master of Science in Global Health (MSc-GH) graduate who received the award in 2013 and passed away in 2014 after a battle with cancer. The award is presented annually to a student who excels in the classroom and the field and builds community at Duke.
Paul’s thesis examined the correlation of exhaled nitric oxide and asthma diagnoses in Western Kenya. His advisor, Peter Kussin, professor of medicine and a DGHI affiliate, nominated him for the award.
In addition to being a MSc-GH student, Paul is a physician and a global health fellow in pulmonary and critical care through the Global Health Pathway program at DGHI’s Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health. He completed medical school at the University of Kansas and an internal medicine residency at Vanderbilt University before coming to Duke. While at Duke, he has worked closely with Kussin at Moi University Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya, one of DGHI’s priority partners.
Kussin wrote, “Devon has excelled in every aspect of his work in global health. It takes a special intellect and deep intellectual rigor and curiosity to translate the academic skills of our specialty to global health settings. Devon has succeeded admirably in this process.”
He added, “Devon deserves special recognition for his forbearance, patience and vigilance in coping with the myriad of geopolitical obstacles which arose during the planning and conduct of the study. At every turn, Devon’s maturity and focus guided him in overcoming what often seemed like insurmountable travails.”
Outstanding Graduate Professor Award
Associate professor Kearsley Stewart was voted this year’s outstanding graduate professor based on student nominations.
One student wrote, “Professor Stewart is known across the entire global health student body as a professor who truly, truly cares about her students. She is deeply invested in her teaching and mentoring, and she has played an integral and crucial role in my own development as an academic scholar.”
“Dr. Stewart strives to create a balanced experience for students to grow as researchers, particularly in providing a space for learning the importance of qualitative practices in research,” another student commented. “She exemplifies what a teacher and mentor should be through her practices.”
And another student noted Stewart’s wide-ranging impact across the university: “Her collaboration with other faculty members around Duke broadens the entire university's understanding of global health. She is a truly interdisciplinary researcher.”