Three Students Awarded Grants for Summer Fieldwork in Africa

Published April 16, 2013 under Education News


From left: Carlton Lawrence, Nash Mepukori and Samantha Truong

The Duke Global Health Institute is pleased to announce undergraduate students Carlton Lawrence, Nash Mepukori and Samantha Truong have been awarded grants to support global health fieldwork in Uganda and Togo this summer.

The three undergraduates will join more than 60 other Duke students, from undergraduates to postdoctoral trainees, who will be conducting global health fieldwork and research around the globe this summer and fall.

Carlton Lawrence, a sophomore pursuing a major in cultural anthropology, has received a grant from the Paul Farmer Global Health Fund to uncover ethical dilemmas faced by community advisory boards in Kampala, Uganda. Community advisory boards are the liaison between researchers and the community, working to advance research while protecting its participants. Ethical dilemmas might emerge in which members must balance research goals with community interests. Lawrence will work with mentor and DGHI faculty member Kearsley Stewart and partners at Makerere University School of Public Health to explore the question of whose interests these boards ultimately serve, the researchers or the community.

Nash Mepukori, a freshman and Baldwin Scholar who plans to pursue the global health major in the Fall, was awarded funding from the Bains Family Research Grant to study the effects of cultural practices on the diet of pregnant women in Lome, Togo. She will interview women in Lome and document differences and similarities in food preparation and consumption. Food taboos may have a negative impact on the health of women when pregnant women have fewer nutrition options. Mepukori’s project mentor is Duke anthropology professor Charles Piot, and she’s received guidance from DGHI faculty member Harris Solomon.

Samantha Truong, a sophomore and Program II major in global health, has been awarded a grant from the Aalok S. Modi Global Health Fieldwork Fund to explore malnutrition-related risks of women and children in the rural village of Naama in the Mityana District of Uganda. Truong will assess the general nutritional status and dietary habits of women and children, breastfeeding practices among new mothers, and the prevalence and possible causes of anemia in pregnant women and school-aged children.  As inadequate nutrition negatively impacts immune function, development and educational performance, addressing nutritional deficiencies is essential to improve the health of the Naama community. Truong’s project mentor will be DGHI faculty member Sumi Ariely. The project ties into a the larger Naama Community Health Collaboration, of which three more undergraduate students will be part of this summer through the DGHI Student Research Training Program.

Students will begin their fieldwork projects in May and June. To keep up with the projects and experiences of these and other students in the field this summer, subscribe to the DGHI Blog “Diaries from the Field.

More than 60 Duke students, from undergraduates to postdoctoral trainees, will be conducting global health fieldwork and research around the globe this summer and fall.