Eight outstanding University of Washington students from a variety of disciplines are the first recipients of the Thomas Francis Jr., Global Health Fund Endowed Student Fellowship. The fellowship promotes global health by providing financial assistance to students doing problem-solving practica in other cultures, usually developing countries.
Beginning summer 2008, fellows will undertake the following projects around the globe:
- Donee Alexander, PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering, will do research on wood cookstoves and chronic woodsmoke exposure in Bolivia.
- Christina Arredondo, a second-year medical student interested in the role of social inequities in health care, will go to Mexico to implement a demographic health-needs survey with the goal of establishing a new clinic in an underserved area of Chiapas.
- Lillian Benjamin is pursuing a Master of Public Health in Global Health, a Master in International Studies, and a Certificate in International Development Policy and Management. She will work with a Gabon hospital's Community Health Outreach Program that provides village-based health care such as maternal/child health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, TB education and follow-up, and malaria prevention and treatment.
- Mara Brain is completing her second year in the Master in Public Administration program and has been accepted to the Master of Public Health program in Global Health. She will collect data to analyze the network of organizations that provide HIV/AIDS services to orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda.
- Peris Kibera, co-enrolled in the Social Welfare PhD program and the Master of Public Health program in Global Health, will head to Kenya to do research at a maternity hospital with a program serving pregnant HIV-positive women.
- Sarah Paige, doctoral candidate in geography, received her Master of Public Health in International Health from Johns Hopkins University and will go to Uganda to continue dissertation research that probes the physical and social factors behind human-animal disease transmission.
- Jill Brunner Scott, concurrent JD/Master of Public Health student, is committed to using the law as a tool to promote and global health. She has an internship within the International Health Regulations Secretariat at the World Health Organization in Switzerland.
- Kelley VanBuskirk, first-year Master of Public Health student in Epidemiology with a background in malaria research will do laboratory and field-based research in Thailand to create an effective vaccine against malaria parasites.
The endowment was established in memory of Dr. Thomas Francis, Jr., a notable physician, virologist, and epidemiologist. He was instrumental in teaching Jonas Salk the methodology of vaccine development, which ultimately led to the polio vaccine.