The Downs Fellowship

The Downs International Health Student Travel Fellowship honors Wilbur G. Downs (1913 - 1991), MD, MPH, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, renowned physician/scientist in the fields of tropical medicine and infectious diseases, mentor to many students and colleagues. 

Since 1966, the Downs Fellowship has provided opportunities to over 500 students to live, learn, work and do research in low- and middle-income countries. Many projects have led to outstanding research projects, as well as oral presentations and posters at national and international health conferences demonstrating an understanding of epidemiological, genetic, biological, clinical and social patterns in health and medicine. Surveys show that past fellows have been deeply influenced by their experiences abroad, which have helped them shape new perspectives on their responsibilities and capabilities as health professionals. 

Research is carried out in the context of host countries’ culture, health problems and resources. Although students may initiate projects, Yale faculty members provide intellectual support, practical assistance and links with host-country sponsors who serve as mentors during the Fellows time abroad. The choice of research topic and methodological detail are joint responsibilities of applicants and advisors. Any member of the Yale faculty may sponsor applicants. 

For more detailed information about the Fellowship and its requirements, visit the How to Apply & FAQ’s tab.

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 
  • 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)