Fred at SIFAT 1Fred with UAB students and their solar cookerDiscussions about conservation, development and sustainability. Rural locations. A focus on both human health and the health of our natural environment. None of this was new for Fred Kariankei, and yet, the context was very different than his usual day-to-day. 
For the second year in a row, the Sparkman Center for Global Health sponsored a community member from the Maasai Mara in Kenya to participate alongside UAB students in the Southern Institute for Appropriate Technology (SIFAT) 2-week field course this May. 
Fred Kariankei is a native of the famous Maasai Mara in Narok County, Kenya, home to the seventh wonder of the world. Currently he is working with Nashulai Maasai conservancy as a manager. He focuses on ensuring sustainability through innovative ideas that will earn the conservancy income, and implementing programs designed to better the lives of conservancy members.
Fred at Maasai 2Fred at home in the Maasai Mara vaccinating animals for foot & mouth disease
While at SIFAT, Fred took a special interest in constructing efficient cookstoves. As Fred explained, “A problem in homes [in the Maasai Mara] is that it’s very smoky. There’s very little ventilation. People don’t spend a lot of time inside during the day so they don’t need a lot of light and at night they want their homes to be warm.”
Most Maasi homes use 3 stones for cooking, which doesn’t maximize the use of firewood and emits more smoke. The fuel-efficient cookstoves constructed at SIFAT use 16 bricks and have a ventilation pipe so that smoke leaves the home. Fred said it was “really great to learn about these simple, easy to make stoves” that could positively impact the health of his community.
Fred at SIFAT 2
Fred also appreciated the multiple perspectives of students attending SIFAT. On the one hand, there were UAB students who were largely in their undergraduate studies and hadn’t necessarily traveled abroad before. Then there was Fred and others who traveled directly from their homes in lower-income countries to partake in the SIFAT training. This diversity and cultural exchange was a highlight for all students involved.
Last year, Margaret (Maggie) Sakian Koshal traveled from Kenya to participate in the SIFAT Training. Maggie also works with the Nashulai Masaai converserancy as the Family, Gender, and Education Coordinator. She is very passionate about empowering young girls and ending the practices of female genital mutilation (FGM). You can read more about the work she does on their website.
maggie 2Maggie & school children. Photo credit, Nashulai Conservancy website

SIFAT course counts as an elective for undergraduate students studying public health and for graduate students pursuing the graduate certificate in Global Health Studies.
If you’re interested in visiting SIFAT, make sure to join our newsletter list. The Sparkman Center will organize a day-trip to SIFAT this fall. Dates to come. 

In a new initiative, the Sparkman Center is providing funding for internal grant applications that propose research projects, public health practice, and global health & development projects that support the Sparkman Center’s mission of promoting health in less developed countries. The request for applications was posted last December. A first application of a 2-page concept was due in February, after which top applicants were selected to submit a full aplication by May 1st. This month a panel of reviewers convened to select the top proposals to each be awarded $20,000. 

Congratulations to the Principal Investigators and teams selected this year! We look forward to working with you. 

"Examining a culturally relevant patient-level intervention to promote colorectal cancer screening in Egypt" 
PI: Lori Brand Bateman - Preventive Medicine, SOM
Co-investigators: Mona N. Fouad, Isabel Scarinci


"The Health Situation, Access, and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Lima, Peru"

PI: Tina Kempin Reuter - UAB Institute for Human Rights, CAS
Co-investigators: Courtney Andrews


"Incidence and Risk Factors of Pediatric Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida in Vietnam"
PI: Brandon Rocque - Neurosurgery, SOM
Co-investigators: James Johnston, Jacob Lepard, Dang Do Thanh Can, Steven Schiff, Le Quang My, Tran Van Si


"Epidemiology of Head and Neck Cancer in Nepal"
PI: Sadeep Shrestha - Epidemiology, SOPH
Co-investigators: Ravi Paluri, Sudip Shrestha, Pema Lhaki, Amrita Mukherjee, Sanjeev Acharya


"Fly ash exposure and infant neurodevelopment in Sri Lanka" 
PI: Meghan Tipre -  Epidemiology, SOPH
Co-investigators: Nalini Sathiakumar, Rajitha Wickremesinghe, Pavithra Godamunne

We are also excited to announce our  recipients of our Sparkman Center Global Health Internships in Panama, the Jamaica, and Nepal! We look forward to seeing the work you will do this summer.



Claire Wilson 

Claire is a Nutirtion and Global Health Trends major with interests in working to partner with international healthcare providers with American healthcare providers to teach about the cultures, customs, and healthcare methods in the global community. She will be interning in Nepal with Dhulikhel Hospital and Kathmandu University. 


Madelyn Wild 

Madelyn is a Public Health major with interests in maternal and child health, reproductive health, global health, and access to preventative and clinical care for children and family populations. She will be interning in Panama with USF Health. 


Maria Jiminez 

Maria is an Undergraduate Senior majoring in Public Health with interests in Maternal and Child Health. She will be interning in Panama with USF Health. 


Hannah Comstock 

Hannah is a Public Health major with minors in International Studies and Spanish. She is interested in working in the field of disaster relief and emergency managment, particularly working with vulnerable groups like refugees. She will be interning in Jamaica with the Carivvean Vulnerable Communitites Coalition. 


2019Interns 4

AIDS Impact 19

AIDSImpact is an international behavioral and psychosocial science conference that addresses issues related to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care, focusing both globally and on specific communities and countries hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic that is widely attended by HIV researchers and NIH program officers. At the AIDSImpact 14th International Conference in London, July 29-31, 2019, there is a strong UAB presence. Shown below is the AIDSImpact 2019 Draft Preliminary program with UAB presenters, co-authors, oral poster presentation, and oral presentations highlighted. UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health Director and UAB Center for AIDS Research Behavioral and Community Sciences Core Co-Director Dr. Janet Turan will be giving a plenary talk on intersectional stigma on July 30th. UAB Sparkman Center for Gloabl Health Program Director Anna Helova will also be presenting "Mixed methods analysis of alcohol reduction outcomes amoung HIV-infected Zambians".

Represented at this conference are also UAB Faculty, postdoctorates, and students from the School of Public Health, School of Nursing, Department of Psychology, and Infectious Disease. Congratulations!