Physical and Mental Health Support and Outcomes for Children in Residential Care Programs

Past SRT Udayan Students Smiling

Past SRT Udayan Care Students

Application Deadline:

Project Status:

  • Filled


  • Pediatrics


  • India


  • New Delhi

Start Date:

End Date:

Project Type:

  • Student Research Training Program


  • Yes

Placements Available:

  • 04

Physical and Mental Health Support and Outcomes for Children in Residential Care Programs

Important COVID-19 Update:

Duke University currently has a travel policy in place that currently prohibits non-essential travel for students ( due to COVID-19. Because of the uncertainty regarding the ability for students to be able to travel during summer 2021, the SRT projects for summer 2021 are designed for remote engagement. There are many logistical and ethical considerations for travel during a pandemic, so it may be that while it is possible to travel to the SRT site location the team may decide not to travel and continue the project as a remote engagement. If travel is advisable and beneficial, teams will be informed and plan for summer travel during the spring semester. Students are strongly encouraged to apply anticipating remote engagement with their project site.

Project Objectives
As explained by Dr, Kiran Modi, Managing Trustee of Udayan Care, “Udayan” is a Sanskrit word meaning “Eternal Sunshine”. Udayan Care aims to bring support and hope into the lives of underserved sections of society that require intervention. Registered in 1994 as a Public Charitable Trust, Udayan Care works to empower vulnerable children, women and youth, in 23 cities across 13 states of India. 

Starting with the establishment of one small group home or ‘Ghar’ for OHC (Out-of-Home-Care) children in Delhi in 1996, Udayan Care has worked to meet needs of these vulnerable populations by establishing additional homes for OHC children and Aftercare Programs for youth leaving care; spreading girls’ higher education; providing vocational training and livelihood programs; and advocating for better standards of care for “Children without Parental Care’ in Alternative Care settings, including institutional care. In 25 years, they have directly impacted the lives of about 25,000 children, women and youth as beneficiaries as well as thousands as indirect beneficiaries through their training programs and advocacy efforts. 

Project Opportunities
Through the Udayan Care Ghar Program, Duke SRT students have worked on mental health assessment over the past 7 years.  In this 8th year, students will continue to support core mission goals and gain experience learning about Orphan and Separated child health issues in India and the care model Udayan has developed. Students will develop and support research and intervention activities that help investigate and promote the short and long term mental and physical health needs of children, transitioning young adults, and caregivers in Udayan Ghars.

Activities for summer 2021 may include, but are not limited to the following:
•    Develop sustainable collaborations around research methods and service capacity with Udayan Staff
•    Develop and implement strategy for key child and caregiver health research questions that are important for Udayan leadership. 
•    Recruit and collect longitudinal and cross-sectional data using current tools on bio-psycho-social health, including depression, anxiety attachment, risk/resiliency, trauma, physical health, growth and nutrition
•    Distill findings from last 7 years, combine and help analyze past and  current physical and mental health data, write reports to disseminate results for professional staff, children, caretakers, and larger NGO community and for research journals. 
•    Explore, develop, and help investigate new tools for the Indian OSC population and their caretakers. 
•    Explore and assess service support programs for OSC and their caretakers
•    Active involvement in engaging with and mentoring children and transitioning youth at Udayan Care
•    Interaction with health workers, policy makers, and child guardians to better understand solutions to promote optimal care and development.
•    Immersion in the local culture in person, if travel is possible, and virtually if its not.

Project Application Process

Students must fill out and submit a project application, CV and recent transcript to by October 15, 2020. Students may apply to no more than two project opportunities and a separate application must be completed for each SRT project site. The scheduled interviews for this project location will take place during the week of October 29 and November 2. Any questions regarding the application, interview dates or general project information should be directed to Lysa MacKeen or Erin Degerman.

Students selected for participation in the SRT program will also need to complete the application through

Project Selection Criteria

Hindi oral and/or writing skills very useful but not required.

Area of Interest
•    Deep interest in mentoring and working with children and young adults, in person or virtually
•    Interest in social science research. Knowledge (course or experience) in research methods, data collection and statistical analysis helpful
•    Policy interest and in developing models that support capacity building that allow sustainable transfer of research and applied program skills to local leadership. 
•    Self-motivated learner, passionate about GH and sensitive to cultural conditions
•    Excellent project management, organizational, and communication skills required
•    Ability to work independently as well as in a team of peers, community co-workers and community supervisors in an intense social and work environment.
•    Course work and/or experience in developmental psychology, child/maternal health, and global mental health
•    Experience with India and/or Hindi very helpful but not required. Of primary importance: Cross-cultural sensitivity openness, interest in self-reflection
•    Professionalism and maturity in working with care-providers, health workers, and NGO supervisors and co-workers.
•    Team members will be required to participate in weekly team training meetings and engage actively in post-fieldwork follow-up tasks, Fall 2021.  Students will have the option for signing-up for independent study credit for post-fieldwork tasks.