Yale Collaborative Action Project funds Four Summer Global Health Projects

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YCAP team plans for its trip to Ecuador. (L to R): Adam Beckman (YC '16), Vishaal Prabhu (YC '14), Maggie Wilson (YSPH '14), Nicola Soekoe (YC '16), Marissa Suh (YSPH '14).

Four global health projects have been funded for implementation in the summer of 2013 by students from Yale College, Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of Medicine. The students  will undertake global health research in Ecuador, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. YCAP is supported by the Maureen and Antoine Chiquet Fund for Global Health at the Yale School of Public Health. 


YCAP Team Awards for 2013

Manglaralto, Ecuador
Maggie Wilson (YSPH ’14), Marissa Suh (YSPH ’14), Vishaal Prahbu (YC ’14), Nicola Soekoe (YC ’16), and Adam Beckman (YC ’16) will travel to Manglaralto, Ecuador with the student-run Yale-Ecuador HIV Clinic Initiative (YEHCI) to investigate barriers to HIV testing using a mixed-methods approach. They will use a short self-administered survey among patients at Manglaralto Hospital to gather information about topics such as engagement in HIV risk behaviors, previous HIV testing, stigma, understanding of HIV transmission and perceived risk for HIV infection. With a sample of those who respond to the survey, the research team will conduct in-depth qualitative interviews to explore these areas in greater depth. With support from a community partner, Fundacion VIHDA, and health professionals at Manglaralto Hospital, the four students will also conduct rapid HIV testing and give educational workshops about HIV to the surrounding population. Their research will contribute to the existing literature and inform Fundacion VIHDA and Manglarlato Hospital's future interventions. Their faculty mentor is Lauretta Grau (YSPH).

Kijabe, Kenya
Luke Myhre (YC ’14) and Melissa Chapman (YC ’14) will travel to Kijabe, Kenya to research a geographic connection between malaria, which affects 300 million people annually, and a crippling, congenital defect of the spinal cord, spina bifida. Knowing that Plasmodium falciparum and neural tube development both depend on prenatal folate levels, they will search for a geographical correlation between these conditions in hopes of explaining Kenya’s high rate of spina bifida. The research will be done in collaboration with Leland Albright, Neurosurgeon at AIC Kijabe Hospital, located one hour from Nairobi. AIC Kijabe Hospital, a referral hospital for a large part of East Africa, has done reconstructive surgery for spina bifida for over 10 years. The analysis will use the spina bifida cases recorded to construct a data set to approximate relative incidence of spina bifida in the areas of Kenya served by Kijabe Hospital. The analysis will be constructed from three sets of data: geographical density of malaria, spina bifida cases, and population density and will employ descriptive and spatial statistics. The permanence of neural tube defects, the extreme shortage of pediatric neurosurgeons, and the simplicity of decreasing risk by taking folic acid supplements, all contribute to the importance of better understanding this relationship. Their faculty mentor is Sunil Parikh (YSPH, YSM).

Kigali, Rwanda
Liza Zhang (YC ’16) and Sean Mbachu (YSM ’16) will travel to Kigali, Rwanda this summer to investigate the seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C in Rwandan medical students in the pre-clinical and clinical years. Viral hepatitis, the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer, represents a major global health problem. Rwanda has no available hepatitis prevalence estimates and continues to leave its healthcare workers at risk for infection. They will use interviews to assess risk factors for infection and collect blood samples to determine the seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C virus in the medical students. These data will be shared with the medical school and other agencies to implement policies to decrease the risk of transmission from patients to healthcare workers. Their faculty mentor is Andre Sofair (YSM, YSPH).

YCAP Individual Award for 2013
Rakai District, Uganda
Jensen Reckow (YC ’13, YSPH ’14) will return to Kabuwoko Village in the Rakai District of Uganda, where she has been working since 2010, to implement a study of helminth infections among schoolchildren. In partnership with a local NGO, Hope for African Children, Jensen will conduct the first study of the prevalence and intensity of N. americanus, A. duodenale, A. lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and Schistosoma infections among schoolchildren in this area and will assess the effectiveness of single-dose albendazole administered to infected children by a local clinic. Jensen is enrolled in the joint degree B.A./M.P.H program at Yale College and Yale School of Public Health. Her faculty mentor is Michael Cappello (YSM, YSPH).

YCAP is directed by Dr. Kaveh Khoshnood, with Alex Bazazi and Kwaku Ayebi-Awuah serving as project mentor and program manager respectively. For more information about YCAP and other global health fellowships for students please visit http://ghi.yale.edu/fellowships.