The Downs at 50

The Downs International Health Student Travel Fellowship, a forerunner of today's global health movement, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Since its inception in 1966, the Downs Fellowship has sponsored some 600 Yale students, allowing them to live, learn, work and do original research in low- and middle-income countries. The experience is transormative for each Fellow, one that expands their world view and galvanizes their futures as health professionals.

The next 50 years

The Downs Fellowship pays students' transportation to and from overseas project sites. It also provides a modest stipend and pays for their site-specific medication, immunizations and evacuation insurance. Fellowship assistance allows students to embark on a scientific adventure that demands flexibility, self-sufficiency, patience and creativity in order to conduct vital research that addresses pressing global health needs. 

Downs Fellowship, Springboard for Hundreds of International Yale Research Projects, Turns 50

Every summer a dozen or so Yale students go abroad to conduct original scientific research as part of the Downs International Health Student Travel Fellowship. They work on challenging health problems in unfamiliar settings and with limited outside support.

Wilbur Downs

Will Downs holding first identified bearded bellbird nest and egg, Cumaca, Trinidad. Downs was director of the Trinidad Regional Virus Laboratory. 1950s Photo credit: John Hill

Roland Dimaya

Roland Dimaya, MPH '11, was a fellow in Laos and the Philippines. "Before I left for Southeast Asia, I knew that I would experience the intersection between health policy theories that I learned about in the classroom and real-life applications. What I walked away with, though, was a comprehensive appreciation for the policy development process and the complexities of implementation."