Sparkman Scholars are part of a recognized network of UAB faculty working in the areas of global health and development. This network aims to facilitate developing new collaborations with colleagues across campus, as well as making linkages with students interested in global health and development. Sparkman Fellows are highly motivated and engaged students seeking to enhance their understanding of global health. Fellows are paired with a faculty member in the Sparkman Scholars program for mentorship over the course of one academic year.

Here we want to highlight some of the projects Scholar-Fellow pairs have worked on over the years.

 

Aduke and Janet

Aduke and Janet

Aduke Toluhi (2020 Fellow, BSPH/MPH and grad certificate in Global Health student) and Dr. Janet Turan (School of Public Health, Dept of Health Care Organization & Policy)

With guidance from Dr. Turan, Aduke is developing a Mixed Method study on Racial Disparities and Maternal Mortality in the Grant Writing Course this semester. Another project Aduke is working on is HIV Contextual Factors Research in Nigeria. Hopefully she will be able to travel to Nigeria for data collection, but if necessary Aduke will remotely support the Nigerian team to carry out data collection while she focuses on data analysis.

Next steps for Aduke include completing the mixed method design for the Racial Disparities in Maternal Mortality study, and completing the ethical review process with partners in Nigeria in preparation for the HIV study. Dr. Turan's experience working on international global health research projects and qualitative and mixed methods research are an invaluable resource to Aduke at this stage.
EK and Gartin

EK and Gartin

Emma Kate Sellers (2020 Fellow, BSPH/MPH and grad certificate in Global Health student) and Dr. Meredith Gartin (School of Public Health, Dept of Health Care Organization & Policy) research immigrants and asylum seekers in Birmingham, AL.

From Emma Kate: "I will be presenting an ePoster at CUGH about filling the gaps for refugees and asylum seekers in Alabama. The poster and presentation primarily focus on the role the Alabama Interfaith Refugee Partnership (ALIRP), a 501c3 organization founded in 2019, plays in assisting refugees and asylum seekers through direct support, educational programming, and advocacy. To better inform the direction their advocacy should take, I conducted a content analysis on news articles between 2016 and 2020 to compare anti-resettlement and pro-resettlement rhetoric regarding refugees and asylees in Alabama using NVIVO. Dr. Gartin and I also plan on assessing the needs of ALIRP's partners by interviewing other organizations supporting immigrants in Alabama as well as the refugees and asylum seekers ALIRP directly serves.

I have been interested in working with immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in healthcare since I began my public health education in 2018, but working with ALIRP was never on my radar until I was matched with Dr. Gartin - a current board member and chair of the Advocacy Committee at ALIRP - through the Sparkman Fellows program. I now understand the value needs assessments can play in fledgling organizations such as ALIRP. Through the Sparkman Fellows program, I submitted my first abstract as the primary author, was selected as a Lancet Student Global Health Poster Award finalist, and will present for the first time at a global health conference. I am very grateful for this opportunity provided by the Sparkman Center for Global Health and for Dr. Gartin's mentorship."
Amy and Jodie

Amy and Jodie

Amy Jasani (2019 Fellow, BS Neuroscience & MPH) and Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom (School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases) research behavioral and clinical characteristics of three sexually transmitted infections potentially associated with women in Cameroon experiencing secondary infertility compared to fertility.

Amy started in the Fellows program with wide-ranging interests in infectious diseases, nutrition and pediatrics from her previous global health experiences. Once paired with her Scholar mentor, Amy focused on contributing to Dr. Dionne-Odom's ongoing research.

As part of the project, Amy did a review of existing literature on the topic and wrote a proposal for Honors Program thesis. Some of the skills Amy said she gained were:
  • Understanding study designs and how to epidemiological concepts in exploring a research question
  • Thinking about how a setting and culture affects a research question investigated, especially given her unfamiliarity of the Sub-Saharan Africa region and Cameroon going into the project
  • Doing a thorough literature search, especially with research studies and documents from international sources
Alanazi Ford

Alanazi Ford

Abdullah Alanazi (2019 Fellow, PhD Rehabilitation Science) and Dr. Eric Ford (School of Public Health, Dept of Healthcare Organization & Policy)

Abdullah's global health interests focus on tobacco use and substance abuse in the Middle East and North Africa. These matched with work Dr. Ford was already doing, so they were paired together. Abdullah had abstracts from work he did under Dr. Ford's guidance accepted at two different conferenes: the 11th Annual Conortium or Universities for Global Health and the 2020 National Institute Drug Abuse International Forum.
Poleon Musa

Poleon Musa

Shervonne Poleon (2019 Fellow, PhD Vision Science) and Dr. Phillip Musa (Collat School of Business, Department of Management Information Systems and Quantitative Methods)

Shervonne is interested in eHealth and mHealth and their applications for lower & middle income countries. One of her goals in the Fellows program was to identify major health challenges and needs in small-island developing states, like St. Lucia and the Eastern Caribbean. A step she took toward this goal was to gather survey data from a sample of 100 St. Lucians between 18 and 800 years old. The survey instrument gauged readiness for eHealth adoption, anticipated challenges, and national health priorities.