The Downs Fellowship

The Downs International Health Student Travel Fellowship honors Wilbur G. Downs (1913 - 1991), MD, MPH, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, renowned physician/scientist in the fields of tropical medicine and infectious diseases, mentor to many students and colleagues. The Fellowship supports graduate and professional Yale students who undertake health-related research primarily in low- and middle-income countries. The Downs Fellowship Committee awards Downs Fellowships based on merit.

Why apply for the Downs Fellowship?

The Downs Fellowship provides unique opportunities for Yale graduate students: 
  • Travel and conduct research abroad
  • Experience in writing RO1 grants and IRBs through the research application process 
  • Yale faculty provide intellectual support, practical assistance and links with host-country sponsors
  • Proposal Writing Workshops provide instruction and guidance on formulating a research question and constructing a proposal, and training on research methodologies
  • Mentorship program with Downs Committee members means invaluable feedback from experts
  • Rigorous proposals lead to more methodologically rigorous projects 
  • Experience of a different culture and the challenge to professionally respond to unanticipated situations
  • Develop and practice presentation and proposal writing skills
  • Gain new perspectives on the responsibilities of a professional
  • Networking opportunities
  • Modest award to undertake research (Fellowship separately cover airfare and ground transportation to the host site, the travel health consultation and immunizations, visa fees, site-specific drugs, and evacuation insurance)


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."

WG Downs

Wilbur G. Downs, MD, MPH