School of Nursing Hosts Professional Fellows from Zambia and Malawi

The world is truly a global village, and the UAB School of Nursing is committed to promoting global health opportunities in research, education, and service for students, faculty, and partners at home and abroad.  Through a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, the UAB School of Nursing served as one of 16 exchange sites in the U.S. for the Professional Fellows Program- the only such site in Alabama.  The program provided substantial professional development and support to emerging leaders working in the fields of global health, legislative development, climate change, food security, and educational initiatives aimed at bolstering employment opportunities in their home countries.  U.S.-based, non-profit organizations and universities were eligible to participate as an exchange site for the program. 

Through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the UAB School of Nursing along with university and community partners hosted 25 foreign healthcare professionals from Zambia and Malawi participating in the Professional Fellows Program.  Malawian participants then traveled to the University of California in San Francisco for tailored learning opportunities.  Among host partners are the University of California in San Francisco, UAB School of Health Professions, UAB School of Medicine, and the McWhorter School of Pharmacy at Samford University.  International exchange partners include the University of Zambia, Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance in Malawi, University of Malawi, and the National Institute of Public Administration in Zambia. 

Each of the two programs (May and October 2011) began with the Professional Fellows gathering in Washington, D.C. to take part in the Professional Fellows Congress.  The Congress focused on such themes as interprofessional collaboration, civic engagement, coalition building, advocacy and media outreach.  Throughout 2011, more than 500 foreign professionals from over 30 countries engaged in similar hands-on fellowship experiences in placements at organizations and universities across the U.S.  Also in 2011 and in 2012, the exchange program included more than 300 Americans participating in reciprocal fellowship programs overseas.

Fellows participated in seminars and workshops focused on interprofessional education with a focus on preparing students to address health needs of marginalized populations.  During this time, fellows also worked with faculty collaborators in their field to address individual learning goals such as curriculum development or teaching strategies.  Zambian fellows were paired with faculty collaborators at UAB and Samford University.  Fellows from Malawi were paired with faculty collaborators at the University of California at San Francisco and traveled to San Francisco for focused experiences.  This component of the fellowship provided participants with hands-on experiences in public health organizations and advocacy groups that serve urban and rural communities.  Faculty from UAB, Samford, and UCSF also traveled to Zambia and Malawi for two weeks in 2011 and 2012 to cultivate sustainable partnerships with fellows and partner organizations.

 An article describing the outcomes of this program was published in 2014: Wilson, L. L., Somerall, D., Theus, L., Rankin, S., Ngoma, C., & Chimwaza, A. (2014). Enhancing global health and education in Malawi, Zambia, and the United States through an Interprofessional Global Health Exchange Program. Applied Nursing Research, 27, 97-103.