New Pilot Projects Unite Global Health and Humanities

The research, supported by funding from DGHI and the Kenan Institute for Ethics, explores social, moral and ethical dimensions of global health issues.

Harris Solomon and Kay Jowers

Published June 5, 2024, last updated on June 7, 2024 under Research News

Two Duke faculty have received pilot grants to support new projects  at the intersection of global health and the humanities. 

The grants, supported by the Duke Global Health Institute and the Duke Kenan Institute for Ethics, provide $50,000 of funding to jumpstart projects that explore global health issues from the perspective of the humanities. While DGHI has awarded pilot grants since 2009, this is the first time the two institutes have jointly funded projects, part of an effort to promote interdisciplinary research into the social, moral and ethical aspects of health inequities experienced by vulnerable communities around the world.

One project will involve ethnographic research with health workers in India to understand the impact of second-victim syndrome, a term that describes the trauma and anxiety experienced by healthcare workers after an adverse patient outcome. The research will be led by Harris Solomon, Ph.D., the Fred W. Shaffer Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Global Health.

The second project will examine how structural racism affects health disparities in and around Durham. It will be led by Kay Jowers, Ph.D., director of Just Environments, a joint endeavor of the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainability and the Kenan Institute, where Jowers is a faculty member

Pilot grants enable researchers to initiate early phases of a new investigation and collect preliminary findings and data to obtain external grants. According to the call for proposals issued earlier in the spring, the joint funding effort between DGHI and Kenan reflects “our mutual mission to combat health inequities, which are an affront to a just society and stand as one of the greatest moral challenges of our time.”