EMD Students Share Their Research Experience

CDC Dengue Branch in Puerto Rico

I worked at the CDC Dengue Branch in Puerto Rico. The Branch primarily focuses on the epidemiology of arboviruses, particularly dengue, Zika, and chikungunya, in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and other US territories.

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CDC Dengue Branch in Puerto Rico

For my primary project, one of my responsibilities was to analyze data from previous studies to assess if there were any associations between demographic features and Guillain-Barre syndrome following a Zika virus infection. It was rewarding to be able to apply the SAS skills that I learned in AAMIE to work on this project.

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CDC Dengue Branch in Puerto Rico

In addition to my research project, I also helped with a community-based cohort study on dengue, Zika, and chikungunya that the Branch is leading in southern Puerto Rico. Here I am with my partner Jose recruiting a household in the Villa Grillasca community.

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CDC Dengue Branch in Puerto Rico

I also helped shape an engagement and education strategy for the community-based cohort study mentioned before. Here I am presenting the outline of the strategy to the epidemiology team at the Branch.

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El Yunque National Forrest

Puerto Rico is full of gorgeous nature and wildlife areas. Here I am at El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rain forest in the US National Forest System. Many of the trails are still closed post-Maria, but thanks to the work of generous volunteers, this trail reopened in March and offered a challenging but rewarding journey through the rainforest.

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CDC Dengue Branch in Puerto Rico

On the weekends, I had time to explore the island outside of San Juan. I am pictured at Cueva del Indio, a site that combines caves, cliffs, and sea. This is one site where Tainos, the indigenous people of the island, would visit and etch petroglyphs on the cave walls during meetings.

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Samoa

The Yale Samoan Obesity, Lifestyle, and Genetic Adaptations (OLaGA) Group’s lab is located in the Ministry of Health.

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Samoa

Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with the group of professors from the Nursing School at the National University Samoa.

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Samoa

Afu Aau Falls in the island Savai’i

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Tammy Chen - Samoa

American Samoa

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Samoa

Extracting data from medical charts with Brown University student, Alexa Rojas-Carroll.

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Samoa

Post-village visit in Savai’i with the Director of the Center of Samoan Studies.

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Samoa

At the village fale (meeting area) for a field visit with the team of nursing students.

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Samoa

Interviewing a woman participant with the help of a nursing student.

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Samoa

Interviewing a midwife at the Leulumoega District Hospital.

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Samoa

Interviewing a midwife at the Poutasi District Hospital.

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Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Melanie Curry, an EMD masters student, collecting sewage in Pau da Lima.

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Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Dr. Arnau Casanovas-Massana collecting Leptospira contaminated soil in Pau da Lima.

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Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

An open sewer runs next to a house in Pau da Lima’s Valley 2.

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Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

A storm rolling over the urban slum of Pau da Lima.

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Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Workers from Fiocruz and students from UFBA map out soil and sewage collection Points in Pau da Lima.

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Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Trash lines the banks of the open sewers that flow around houses in the urban slum of Pau da Lima, Brazil.

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Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

The beginning of a government intervention to close sections of the open sewer in Pau da Lima.

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Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

The Fiocruz laboratory team off on a bowling adventure.

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Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Tilework on a Catholic Church.

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Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

A beachside view of the Rio Vermelho neighborhood.

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Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Nighttime on the Fisherman’s Beach.

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Geneva, Switzerland

Whenever I needed a change of scenery to work, I would come to this meeting room that has World Health Organization written in 5 different languages and emphasizes the work of the GMP in all regions. 

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Geneva, Switzerland

Here I am standing right outside the entrance to the WHO Headquarters in Geneva.

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Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva is also home to a large number of other NGOs and the United Nations Headquarters. The exterior of the UN building has the flags of the 193 member states displayed.

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Geneva, Switzerland

Listening attentively to the previous Director General of the WHO (Dr. Margaret Chan) give her final remarks in the WHO assembly hall.

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Geneva, Switzerland

I met the new Director General of the World Health Organization (Dr. Tedros Adhanom) and remarked how it’s about time that an African was nominated. I also told him I was from Tanzania and he then proceeded to speak with me in Kiswahili!

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Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva has multiple museums. Here you can see me outside the International Red Cross/Crescent Museum. The museum depicts the challenges presented with defending human dignity and human rights through engaging emotional displays.

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Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva is centrally located in Europe. Therefore, over the weekends, I was able to visit some beautiful sites all across Europe such as the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum in Rome!

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Geneva, Switzerland

Presenting my work to the entire surveillance and elimination team at the WHO GMP. I hope to continue to work on my project from home and contribute on any further developments. Definitely a highlight of my experience!

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Geneva, Switzerland

On the last day of my internship I took this picture in front of the UNAIDS building (where the GMP office was located) representing YSPH at the WHO.

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Geneva, Switzerland

An iconic image of what it is like to spend summer in Geneva capturing the Swiss flag and the famous Jet d’eau. Geneva is one of the most picturesque places to live in!

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Geneva, Switzerland

Summer in Geneva often involves beach days and boat rides! Here you can see me enjoying a hot summer day on Lake Genève.

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Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The Church of Scotland Hospital (COSH) is a government district hospital that serves approximately 180,000 Zulu people within the Msinga district of KwaZulu-Natal. Many of the physicians and visiting researchers like myself live within the hospital compound.

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Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The one-mile walk between COSH and Gateway Clinic is filled with gogos (the Zulu term for grandmother) selling fruits and vegetables on the street.

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Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

I spent most of my summer reviewing the medical records of HIV+ patients that initiated ART within the past year and a half.

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Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

We woke up at 5:00 a.m. to embark on the 10 hour Organ Pipes trail through the Drakensberg Mountains. This was the most challenging hike I’ve ever done, but the scenery was absolutely breathtaking.

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Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

We ended our safari adventures at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi game reserve with this up-close elephant spotting. Additional animals we saw were giraffes, rhinos, zebras, wildebeests, warthogs, kudu, and impalas.

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Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch, where I was first introduced to South Africa’s Pinotage red wine (not pictured here unfortunately).

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Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Sunset in Capetown. Just another one of South Africa’s magnificent views.

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Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

A picture taken at Cape Point very shortly before baboons tried to steal the souvenir I bought for my mother!

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Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

This year the International AIDS Conference was held in Durban, a main city 2.5 hours away from Tugela Ferry. I had the privilege of attending the conference and listening to the amazing work that is being done in the field of HIV/AIDS. Particular highlights of the conference include speeches from Charlize Theron, Bill Gates, Elton John and Prince Harry.

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Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Twice a week the doctors at COSH meet in the mornings to review important medical cases and/or listen to presentations from researchers, medical students and physicians. I had the opportunity to present preliminary findings from my summer research to the physicians and medical students at COSH.

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Lima, Peru

The Recruitment and Retention Team went out to lunch to celebrate everyone’s birthday. They included me in their birthday celebrations, and here we are celebrating Gonzalo’s birthday.

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Lima, Peru

This photo was taken during the Tour of Heroes. Here we are with two of our heroes EXA-MAN and PUMAX at one of the eight dance clubs we visited that night.

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Lima, Peru

IMPACTA celebrated its 15th anniversary on July 4. We played soccer and volleyball, and there was also live music and dancing. Here are all the 2015 summer fellows working with IMPACTA. We were on Team Pink for volleyball and soccer. We won volleyball, but our team sadly lost the soccer match.

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Lima, Peru

IMPACTA has two sites within Lima, one of which was located in the district of Barranco. Barranco is considered the bohemian district home to many of Lima’s artists, musicians, and photographers. There is a lot of street art located within Barranco, and this was one of my favorites.

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Lima, Peru

Lima is located on the coast of Peru. This photo was taken at Playa Waikiki in the Miraflores district of Lima, where there are great opportunities for surfing.

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Lima, Peru

Over Fiestas Patrias, which celebrates Peru’s independence from Spain, I had the opportunity to travel to the city of Iquitos in Peru’s jungle. Iquitos is the largest city in the world inaccessible by road. You can either travel to Iquitos by plane or boat. Here I am visiting a reserve in Iquitos holding a baby sloth.

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Lima, Peru

At the end of my trip, two friends from the United States came to visit and travel with me throughout Peru. One place we traveled was Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. We stayed with a host family on one of the islands, and here we are dressed in our host’s traditional clothing.

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Lima, Peru

Peru is the gastronomic capital of Latin America, which essentially means that the food is amazing. This is my favorite dish, ceviche, which is made from fresh raw fish cured in lime juice. Although ceviche is found throughout the Americas, its origin is in Peru, and Peru arguably has the best ceviche in the world.

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Lima, Peru

At the end of my internship, I presented the preliminary results of my study to the clinic personnel.

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Lima, Peru

At the end of my internship, I traveled to Machu Picchu. Here I am at the summit.

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Cattle Farm

A typical beef cattle farm in Sa Kaeo province. Most cattle farms are really small, with an average of 5-7 cows. In some cases, members of the same family group their cattle together to save land and money and facilitate herd management.

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Teamwork

Data collection required teamwork and collaboration. I would often be in charge of making sure that the labels on blood tubes were corresponding to the tag number of each animal, to be able to trace back the animal in case the serum was positive for either Brucellosis or Q fever. I also took notes on the age, sex and body score (equivalent of BMI but for animals) of each individual sampled. The vets and paravets helping me in the field would take the blood samples for me most of the time because of the lack of structure for safe handling of the animals. They also conducted their annual vaccination campaign at the same time.

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Blood collection

I am taking blood from a 4-year old cow. I like this picture because it is a perfect One Health picture: dogs and cows can both be reservoirs of Brucellosis and Q fever and farmers and veterinarians are the most at risk of being infected through inhalation, injection or ingestion via occupational exposure.

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Department of Livestock Development

When my advisor from Yale, Dr. Albert Ko came (on left), we visited the head of Sa Kaeo Department of Livestock Development, Dr. Ampan Welutanti (second to the right) and Dr. Ekkarin, my mentor in the field (far right). It was a nice opportunity for both Dr. Ko and I to thank them for their tremendous help and for allowing the project to happen.

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Thailand

On each farm, one person from the Ministry of Public Health would accompany me to conduct an interview of the owner, in Thai, to obtain epidemiological information.

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The Thai Ministry of Public Health

The Ministry of Public Health in Thailand is located in Nonthaburi province, right outside Bangkok. It houses several sections such as chronic diseases, alternative medicine, mental health, health policy etc. I worked in the Department of Disease Control in the Bureau of Epidemiology with Dr. Soawapak Hinjoy as my advisor.

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The Ministry Team

Here is part of the team I was working with this summer. We went to Kanchanaburi province (where the river Kwai is) for a meeting and took advantage of the trip to visit a little. This picture depicts really well the never-ending happiness of the team.

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Presentation at the MBA

Presentation of my project to the One Health team of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration— one of the key experiences of my internship.

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The Field Team

This is part of the team that helped me collect the data in the field. None of them could speak English very well and I cannot speak Thai, so communication was not always easy. They were extremely patient and understanding and did an amazing job teaching me about Thai farms’ management and helping me get good quality data.

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One Health Conference

During the last week of my internship, my advisor, Dr. Soawapak Hinjoy, invited me to join their annual One Health conference in Phang-Nga, southern Thailand. Teams of public health officers, veterinarians and physicians from several provinces of Thailand met to present their work.

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Quezalguaque, León, Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a country that defines itself as Christian, socialist and collectively responsible. The municipality where I lived, Quezalguaque, was strongly Sandinista and strongly is support of President Daniel Ortega.

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Quezalguaque, León, Nicaragua

The Urrutia family comes from a community in Quezalguaque called San Agustín. Approximately 46 of the 90 or so families in this comarca have been affected by Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). The majority of local families work harvesting sugarcane (pictured in the background), leading many to believe that harsh working conditions and/or pesticides may contribute to causing the epidemic.

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Quezalguaque, León, Nicaragua

The predominant portion of our work consisted of surveying households of CKD cases and of the general population to determine their knowledge, attitudes and practices surrounding the illness and peritoneal dialysis.

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Quezalguaque, León, Nicaragua

Many researchers and locals theorize that contaminated water may be in the causal pathway for CKD. Here I am taking water samples with Christian from Quezalguaque’s Mancomunidad, an annex of the mayor’s office that works with water systems and emergency preparedness. My summer research team tested for hardness, bacteria and pesticides in various local water sources.

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Quezalguaque, León, Nicaragua

We also conducted sexual health charlas with local primary and secondary school students. During the second week of our three-week curriculum, we conducted oral health hygiene and practices assessments with the students.

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Quezalguaque, León, Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a huge ecotourism destination. This is one of the pristine beaches surrounding the resort town of San Juan del Sur.

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Quezalguaque, León, Nicaragua

The country also boasts a tremendous collection of mountains and both dormant and active volcanoes. Our team did A LOT of hikes. This is the view from the summit of San Cristóbal, the tallest volcano in the country.

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Quezalguaque, León, Nicaragua

Our group learned of the numerous ways in which to descend a volcano. I’m pictured here demonstrating the traditional “hiking” method on Las Maderas, one of the two volanoes that form Isla Ometepe.

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Quezalguaque, León, Nicaragua

Volcano boarding represents one of the more radical forms of volcano descent. This activity sits near the top of the list of the best activities in the world for thrill-seekers. Cerro Negro, León, Nicaragua.

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Quezalguaque, León, Nicaragua

One of the less desirable forms of volcano descent that we experienced is the “run as quickly as possible from the eruption” method. It appears that climbing active volcanoes comes with its challenges.

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Quezalguaque, León, Nicaragua

Without a doubt, though, Nicaragua’s greatest resource is its people. My host family is pictured here engaging in the great Nicaraguan pastime of “porch sitting.” My family own one of the bars in Quezalguaque, and, needless to say, they were not an uptight bunch to live with. I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality!

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Recent Internships

Visual Epidemiology Central Asia Region India
Hacettepe University Medicine - Section of Infectious Disease Turkey
Emerging Infections Program HPV-IMPACT US
Everglades National Park Arbovirus Surveillance Project US
CT Emerging Infections N/A US
University of Liverpool Institute of Integrative Biology United Kingdom
Otsuka SA Geneva Office Switzerland
Nurses’ Health Study 3 Harvard School of Public Health US
Instituto Nactional de Salud Publica (INSP) Morelos Mexico
Yale School of Public Health Aksoy Lab and Kenya Agricultural Research Institute- Trypanosomiasis Research Center Kenya
Makerere University Pharmacy Uganda
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Drug Prevention, Treatment and HIV/AIDS support unit Iran
Yale School of Public Health Yale Emerging Infections Program US
University of Ghana Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Department of Parasitology Ghana
National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center Division of International Epidemiology and Population Studies US
Yale School of Public Health EMD US
Hope for African Children Research Uganda
RuralHealthCare India N/A India
Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) Brazilian Ministry of Health Brazil
Yale School of Public Health Yale Emerging Infections Program US
Yale University Galvani Lab US
The Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (GHESKIO) HIV/AIDS Research Haiti
Cheerful Hearts Foundation Public Health Education Ghana
Leeway Inc. US
Yale School of Public Health EMD US
Centro de Pesquisas Gonçalo Muniz - Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz) LPBM (Laboratory of Pathology and Molecular Biology) Brazil
University of St Andrews; National Health Service (NHS) of Scotland, Fife School of Medicine; Governmental Health Department Scotland
Environmental Health Center, Cluj (EHC) Romania
Yale New Haven Health System Center for Healthcare (CHS) & Center for Emergency Preparedness & Disaster US
Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz)/Brazilian Ministry of Health Molecular Biology and Pathology Brazil
Yale School of Public Health Emerging Infections Program US
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Bureau of Communicable Diseases US
New Haven Health Department HIV Prevention US
Yale University Pediatrics, Yale School of medicine US
Economic Development Initiatives Tanzania
UN Food and Agriculture Organization Animal Health Service Italy
World Vision Peru
United Nations Development Programme HIV/AIDS & Gender Policy US
Yale Emerging Infections Program US
Department of Public Health Vector-borne Disease Control Programme Bhutan
Yale School of Public Health Emerging Infections Program FoodCORE US