The Caroline P. Ireland Research Scholarship is intended to provide up to $1000 in travel support for graduate students whose research requires them to travel to locations outside of Alabama to gain access to artifacts, study sites, research technology, or instrumentation not available at UAB. It is not intended for travel to research meetings to present research results. Travel can take place anytime between June 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019.

The deadline for the return of applications is Friday, March 30, 2018 at 5 pm in room G03 of the Lister Hill Library. Announcement of the awardees will take place by April 13, 2018. 

Nomination form for Caroline P. Ireland Research Travel ScholarshipNomination form for Caroline P. Ireland Research Travel Scholarship

Each year the Sparkman Center for Global Health awards mutiple $1,000 Moses Sinkala Travel Scholarships to assist students in completing an international research or internship opportunity. UAB Global Health Studies (GHS) student, Renata Hocking, was awarded the Moses Sinkala Travel Scholarship to assist with her research interests regarding the prevalence of active Schistosoma haematobium infection at the time of delivery in Cameroon. The Sparkman Center for Global Health would like to highlight Ms. Hocking's achievement and her career path in relation psychosocial reseach and improving child supervision. For more information on the Moses Sinkala Travel Scholarship, click here. To read Ms. Hockings's account of her career path, please view the piece below:

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The purpose of the study Dr. Odom and I designed for my internship, was to assess for the prevalence of active Schistosoma haematobium infection at the time of delivery at the CBCHS facility in Mutengene, Cameroon. A brief survey was administered at the time of presentation or during the hospitalization for facility delivery. The survey asked about demographics, socioeconomic indicators, gynecological/obstetric history, and questions related to awareness of schistosomiasis exposure and prior infection. Then, a small sample of urine was collected for analysis and egg count. RDT malaria testing was performed on each subject. The infant birthweight and maternal gestational age at the time of delivery was captured.

Due to timing of IRB approval I was unable to gather enough data to have statistical significance. In addition, upon arrival in Mutengene it became clear that S. haematobium has a focal endemicity. I spent some time visiting with local researchers at the University of Buea to gain further insight into the distribution and burden of disease on different areas in the region. One researcher was in the middle of a similar study in an area with endemic S. haematobium infection, Munyenge, Cameroon. During my visit to Munyenge I was able to view active infection urine samples and explore the environment and economic setting in which this parasite causes the most problems.

Regardless of the lack of data produced, I gained experience and knowledge in many public health competencies, specifically as they are used in the Global health setting. When I first arrived in Muntengene while waiting for IRB approval, I was busy getting to know the administrative and financial processes of the BHM the hospital in which I would be doing the study. In addition, I spent many days in the maternity ward getting to know the nurses and the birthing process. I got to know the normal procedure for health record keeping, medication administration, and laboratory testing. To perform screening for malaria I spent many days in the laboratory administering RDT malaria tests, in addition to obtaining serum samples for microscopy. I learned to read thick smear slides and count the number of blood cells infected with malaria parasite. The laboratory staff allowed me to use one of their microscopes to perform egg counts from filtered urine samples. The urine sample testing I performed was different than the standard at the laboratory, so I trained a staff member in the lab to perform the test using the equipment I brought, and she shared her standard testing knowledge with me.

Low resource health care and research presents unique challenges. For example, while in the lab I ran into issues that seem obvious now but because of a lack of experience in the setting I did not initially anticipate. There are items in every laboratory in the United States that are disposable and plentiful. Items such as alcohol, bleach, wipes, slides, clean water, etc. I did not anticipate these items being more difficult to obtain. A small bump in the road that allowed me to get to know another aspect of the hospital, it was a good lesson to learn for future studies. While in Kenya I participated in a research project as a volunteer However it was a very well-funded project in an established laboratory. To have the experience of being responsible for my own materials helped me realize the importance of every little detail.

While in Cameroon I also spent time performing HIV testing, community outreach and education. I learned about the experiences of many people living with HIV/AIDS in the region. In attending a conference on implementing viral load testing into local outreach programs I had the opportunity to listen to multiple people tell their stories of how they felt when they found out they were HIV positive. I also learned of their current struggles obtaining medication, making it to health care appointments, and dealing with local discrimination.

The global health internship experience allowed me to write a protocol, submit the protocol for IRB approval, design a survey, implement the protocol, and get to know the policies and health care environment in the Southwest Region of Cameroon. It also allowed me to gain an understanding of government and NGO involvement in preventing parasitic infections, as well as the way in which people in the region feel about different infectious diseases and how those diseases effect their daily lives.

Author: Renata Hocking

2017 DEC Sparkman Spotlight Renata Hocking 4Microscope in Munyenge - because there is no electricity, sunlight is used to view slides - Photo provided by Renata Hocking

 

 

 2017 DEC Sparkman Spolight Renata Hocking 2HIV community outreach, testing and education day - Photo provided by Renata Hocking

2017 DEC Sparkman Spolight Renata Hocking 3Researchers at the University of Buea, showing Renata Hocking how to use urine filtration system, and showing slides containing S. haematobium eggs - Photo provided by Renata Hocking

 

IMG 0924Photo provided by Renata Hocking

FullSizeRenderPhoto provided by Renata Hocking

FullSizeRender 1Photo provided by Renata Hocking

 

IMG 1110Photo provided by Renata Hocking

Each year the Sparkman Center for Global Health awards mutiple $1,000 Moses Sinkala Travel Scholarships to assist students in completing an international research or internship opportunity. In the spring of 2016, UAB Sparkman Center Fellow, Marissa Swanson, was awarded the Moses Sinkala Travel Scholarship to assist with her research interests regarding improving child supervision to reduce the risk of childhood injury in rural Uganda. The Sparkman Center for Global Health would like to highlight Ms. Swanson's achievement and her career path in relation psychosocial reseach and improving child supervision. For more information on the Moses Sinkala Travel Scholarship, click here. To read Ms. Swanson's account of her career path, please view the piece below:

Sparkman Spotlight Swanson M. Resized Article ImagePhoto provided by: Marissa Swanson (pictured third from left)

"I received the Moses Sinkala Travel Grant at a particularly crucial stage of my career, ensuring that this award will continue to benefit my research and career long after this project is completed. At the time of the award, I was a first year graduate student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham dually-enrolled in the Medical/Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program and the Master's of Science in Public Health in Outcomes Research program. The outcome data collected from the Super Siblings program will serve as the topic of my master's thesis in psychology, and the outcome data collected from the Careful Cubs program will serve as the topic of my master's thesis in public health. This initial grant allowed me to demonstrate the feasibility of conducting psychosocial research with a remote and underserved population in rural Uganda, and the need for interventions to improve child supervision in this community. Future data analyses will determine whether the Careful Cubs and Super Siblings programs may be effective and low-cost means of improving child supervision and safety to reduce the risk of childhood injury. As I apply for dissertation funding to extend this work to a controlled trial in additional communities, this project will serve as evidence to funding agencies that I have developed the required competencies to work in cross-cultural and remote settings to develop, implement, and evaluate cost-effective community-based psychosocial interventions.

Successfully conducting multiple community-based interventions during my graduate career will prepare me to work in the international humanitarian sector after earning my doctorate degree. In this capacity, it is my intention to continue advocating for the health and well-being of children in underserved populations using evidence-based methods drawn from both psychology and public health. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity that this award has provided to develop the competencies I will be utilizing for the rest of my career. Additionally, I appreciate the training opportunity this award helped to foster for the numerous Ugandan staff who worked on the project. This was the first applied research experience for all of our Ugandan research assistants and served as an excellent internship opportunity in a setting where students often struggle to obtain research experience, particularly in psychology. In many cases, the research assistants were introduced to psychological science for the first time, and enjoyed learning about experimental design, data collection, and research ethics. Training opportunities such as these are integral to supporting the development of local researchers who will go on to benefit their communities further with their own careers. A photo of the research team for this project is included above."

 -Author: Marissa Swanson

Sparkman Fellow 2016-2017

 

 

 

Each year the Sparkman Center for Global Health awards mutiple $1,000 Moses Sinkala Travel Scholarships to assist students in completing an international research or internship opportunity. In the spring of 2016, UAB Sparkman Center Fellow, Reshmi Mukerji, was awarded the Moses Sinkala Travel Scholarship to assist with her research interests regarding tuberculosis (TB) and social stigma in Kolkata, India. Under the mentorship of UAB Sparkman Scholar, Dr. Janet Turan, Ms. Mukerji traveled to Kolkata, India in the summer of 2016  to collect data for her research project. Dr. Turan and Ms. Mukerji's manuscript from the research, entitled "Exploring Manifestations of TB-Related Stigma Experienced by Women in Kolkata, India" was recently accepted into the Annals of Global Health. The Annals of Global Health is an academic journal that aims to disseminate knowledge on the latest findings in relation to global health and research and prevention and treatment of disease worldwide. The Sparkman Center for Global Health would like to highlight Ms. Mukerji's achievement and her career path in relation to TB and social stigma. For more information on the Moses Sinkala Travel Scholarship, click here. To read Ms. Mukerji's account of her career path, please view the piece below:

Mukerji ReshmiPhoto provided by: Reshmi Mukerji

"I started the MPH program in Healthcare Organization and Policy in the Spring of 2016.  Right from the beginning of the program I knew that I was interested in global health, which led me to seek out opportunities in this area at UAB.  During my initial meeting with my program advisor, Dr. Stephen Mennemeyer, we discussed my interest in global health and avenues for global health work at UAB.  Dr. Mennemeyer informed me about both the Sparkman Center and Dr. Janet Turan and her research in Africa.  When I went home that night and looked up Dr. Turan’s profile on the UAB website, I knew immediately that I wanted to work with her! I was always intrigued by the social stigma surrounding certain diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and HIV.  Coming from India, where gender disparities are still rife, I was particularly interested in how stigma impacted women.  As Dr. Turan wrote to me in her first email, “It sounds like we have many common interests and passions” and so began our journey on this research project!  Dr. Turan mentored me through the development of the research proposal for the Moses Sinkala travel grant (which I received in the Spring of 2016), the IRB application process once I was awarded the grant, and of course throughout the course of this entire research project. I was also chosen for the Sparkman Fellowship for the year 2016-17 and Dr. Turan was my mentor for this program as well. 

In the summer of 2016 I traveled to Kolkata, India to collect data for this research project. The study itself was an exploration of the social stigma experienced by women patients attending a directly observed therapy-short course (DOTS) TB clinic in Kolkata, India. I had volunteered at this particular TB clinic before, during my time working at an affiliated non-profit in Kolkata.  We decided to conduct a qualitative study to understand the different dimensions of stigma experienced by women who were either on TB treatment or had completed treatment.  Current conceptualizations of stigma classifies stigma into four categories: perceived stigma (feeling that those without the condition perceive people with the condition negatively), anticipated stigma (expectations of discrimination, stereotyping, and/or prejudice from others post disclosure due to a stigmatized condition or behavior), enacted stigma (experiences of discrimination, stereotyping, and/or prejudice from others in the past or present due to the stigmatizing condition) and internalized stigma (endorsing negative feelings and beliefs associated with the stigmatized condition and applying them to the self).  Very few studies have used this framework to describe the stigma experienced by TB patients.

We also explored the mechanisms used by women to cope with the experiences of stigma and TB.  I conducted qualitative in-depth interviews with twenty women between the ages of 18-64 years from different faiths, but from similar socioeconomic levels and educational backgrounds. Our findings revealed that widespread stigma was experienced by women TB patients. Stigma manifested itself through social isolation, avoidance, failed marriage prospects, neglect from family members, gossip and verbal abuse. Some of the consequences of stigma included non-disclosure (which had an impact on TB transmission and control), feelings of guilt and mental health issues, which included feelings of depression, anxiety and even suicidal ideation. Coping mechanisms used by the women to deal with these negative experiences included prayer, positive reframing, being able to talk to other patients (for which the communal nature of DOTS provides an excellent platform), and focusing on school work or relaxation activities.  We hope that the study findings can be used to design stigma-reduction interventions through the formation of social support groups and awareness programs that dispel some of the misconceptions surrounding TB. The manuscript from this study, entitled “Exploring Manifestations of TB-Related Stigma Experienced by Women in Kolkata, India” has been accepted for publication in the Annals of Global Health."

 

-Author: Reshmi Mukerji, UAB MPH Graduate

Sparkman Center Fellow 2016-2017