Explore UAB

In March, the Consortium of Universities of Global Health (CUGH) hosted its 2021 virtual conference "Addressing Critical Gaps in Global Health and Development." The Sparkman Center for Global Health was excited that so many members of the UAB community had abstracts accepted to present posters at this year's conference. Many of the students presenting posters are current Sparkman Fellows. 

  • Anna Helova in collaboration with Sparkman Center summer internship partners in Jamaica, Kenya, and Uganda, Sparkman summer interns, and UAB mentors:
    'Could International Remote Global Health Internships Present a Valuable Alternative to the In-person Experiential Learning? Lessons Learned amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.'

  • Emma Kate Sellers (Sparkman Fellow 2020, GHS certificate student):
    'Filling Gaps for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in a Community-based, Participatory Model with Local NGOs in Birmingham Alabama'
    (mentor: Dr. Meredith Gartin) – finalist for the Lancet Student GH Poster Competition

  • Tayyaba Khan (Sparkman Fellow 2019; Sparkman Intern, summer 2020; UAB '20):
    ‘'Advocacy and Sensitization Training for Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and Sex Workers (SWs) in Kingston, Jamaica'
    (mentors: Drs. Henna Budhwani & Anna Helova) – also won 2nd place at the UAB Undergraduate Research Expo

  • Sunya Reddy (Sparkman Fellow 2020) and Troy Shirley (President, The UAB Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization):
    ‘Rapid Systematic Review of the Impact of COVID-19 on Refugee Health’
    (mentor: Dr. Anna Helova)

  • Madhuri Molleti (GHIG President) and Norah Madden-Lunsford (both Sparkman Fellows 2020):
    'Rapid Systematic Review of the Impact of School Closures on Child Mental Health amid the COVID-19 Pandemic'
    (mentor: Dr. Anna Helova)

We asked a couple of these students to share their experiences preparing and submitting abstracts to the conference... 


Molleti MMadhuri Molleti: Rapid Systematic Review of the Impact of School Closures on Child Mental Health amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

"During Spring of 2020, I was accepted to be a Sparkman Fellow for the 2020-2021 academic school year. Sparkman Fellows can conduct research, gain public health programming experience, or learn about leadership. I decided I wanted to focus on research in order to grow my analytical skills as well as become more knowledgeable about global public health issues. In October, Dr. Anna Helova, Deputy Director of the Sparkman Center at UAB, provided me with the opportunity to conduct a rapid review on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures on children’s mental health. This opportunity was especially exciting for me as it tied well into my research interests in early life stress and future career goals.  I collaborated with Norah Madden-Lunsford, another Sparkman Fellow, to develop an abstract and poster. Given the pandemic, we opted to take advantage of zoom to communicate, which allowed me to gain collaborative research experience. We were ecstatic when we were accepted to the CUGH 2021 Virtual Conference. I would like to thank Dr. Anna Helova and the UAB Sparkman Center for allowing me to be a Sparkman Fellow and providing me with this opportunity!"

Reddy SSunya Reddy: Rapid Systematic Review of the Impact of COVID-19 on Refugee Health

"Hi everyone! I’m excited to talk about my experiences with the Sparkman Fellowship, an opportunity that has really given me the chance to deep-dive into topics that I’ve always wanted to explore. As a Sparkman Fellow, I have been able to conduct research in two capacities. Before the Sparkman Fellowship, I had only ever conducted clinical research in a psychiatric lab. Though my work was interesting, there were so many other facets of research that I wanted to explore better. I really wanted to see what global health research could encompass, and with my Sparkman mentor, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about qualitative global health and look at the intersection of stigma and infertility for people living in HIV serodiscordant relationships.

For CUGH, I was able to do my first rapid systematic review, where my partner and I researched current literature regarding the impact of COVID-19 on refugees. We explored many of the common barriers to care that are specific to refugees and their interplay with the pandemic, the effectiveness of COVID-19 prevention methods in refugee camps, how mental health was impacted and interacted with COVID-19, and potential solutions. Through the Sparkman Center, I’ve learned how many different forms research can take, as well as how many exciting fields and topics that are open for us to examine! It’s been a pleasure to recognize that research can be much more multifaceted and interesting than the pipetting I did in General Chemistry or Organic Chemistry labs. Through the Sparkman Center, you will gain the support and resources to really delve into the topics you want to tackle, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to explore the subjects that interest me most."

To learn more about the Sparkman Fellows program, visit the program page here.

UAB is an institutional member of CUGH. We encourage all faculty, staff and students at UAB who are interested in global health to explore the resources CUGH offers, such as job opportunity boards, funding opportunity boards, educational resources, and more. Visit the CUGH Website to learn more.