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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. Swipe through the slideshow below for examples of current and recent Scholar/Fellow mentor pairs:


  • 2020 Fellow: Mari Yukawa, MPH student in Health Behavior and graduate certificate in Global Health, School of Public Health
    Scholar mentor: Dr. Ada Markaki, School of Nursing, Dept of Family, Community & Health Systems

    Mari's projects as a Sparkman Fellow supported Dr. Markaki's work as co-director of the PAHO-WHO Collaborating Center housed in the School of Nursing. Mari assisted in developing a 4-module asynchronous distance accessible course for healthcare professionals with topics like trauma-informed care and domestic violence against women.
  • 2020 Fellow: Mary Anne Powell, Undergraduate student in Foreign Languages/Spanish and Public Health, College of Arts & Science and School of Public Health
    Scholar mentor: Dr. Paul Erwin, School of Public Health, Dept of Health Policy & Organization

    Mary Anne was able to apply her studies in both Spanish and Public Health by working with Dr. Erwin to compare the responses to COVID-19 in the US and Cuba. Through this process, Mary Anne learned how to conduct a literature review.

    From this work, Mary Anne, Dr. Erwin and Dr. Bermejo of the Kourí Tropical Medicine Institute published the article "Comparing COVID-19 Responses in Cuba and the United States" in the American Journal of Public Health in late 2021. See the article here.
  • 2019 Fellow: Shervonne Poleon, PhD student in Vision Sciences, School of Optometry
    Scholar mentor: Dr. Philip 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.
  • 2020 Fellow: Aduke Toluhi, DrPH student in Maternal & Child Health, School of Public Health
    Scholar mentor: Dr. Janet Turan, School of Public Health, Dept of Health Policy & Organization

    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.
  • 2021 Fellow: Haley Evans, MPH student in Health Behavior and graduate certificate in Global Health, School of Public Health
    Scholar mentor: Dr. Stacy Moak, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Political Science & Public Administration

    As a Sparkman Fellow, Haley has been working on the literature review and IRB approval for Dr. Moak and Dr. Tina Reuter's ongoing intervention regarding women's menstruation education and empowerment in the Maasai Mara community in Kenya. Haley was awarded an SOPH travel scholarship in Spring 2022 to support her travel to the Nashulai Conservancy in the Maasai Mara alongside Dr. Moak in May.
  • 2020 Fellow: Madhuri Molleti, Undergraduate student in Public Health, School of Public Health
    Scholar mentor: Dr. Lisa Sharlach, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Political Science & Public Administration

    Madhuri worked with Dr. Sharlach to learn how to conduct health policy research on interpersonal violence in Pakistan, South Africa, and Peru. The She is working with Dr. Sharlach on this research with the goal of updating a chapter of Dr. Sharlach's book on this topic
  • 2019 Fellow: Madeline Pratt, BSPH/MPH student in Maternal & Child Health, School of Public Health
    Scholar mentor: Dr. Lynn Matthews, Heersink School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

    Madeline joined the Fellows program hoping to gain real-world experience research, make connections that would last into her future career, and develop a deeper understanding of the impacts of HIV on maternal and child health. Dr. Matthews brought Madeline onto her research team for two projects: the Healthy Families Program in Uganda, which focused on safer conception use in serodiscordant couples, and a PrEP study in Alabama focused on young Black women.

    By the end of their collaboration year in the Fellows program, Dr. Matthews hired Madeline to continue working with her team in the School of Medicine as a Clinical Research Coordinator. Since then, Madeline had a first-author paper published in Culture, Health & Sexuality, an international journal for research, intervention and care: "'I still desire to have a child': a qualitative analysis of intersectional HIV- and childlessness-related stigma in rural southwestern Uganda." See the full article here.
  • 2021 Fellow: Anita Aboagye, PhD student in Health Education and Health Promotion, School of Education
    Scholar mentor: Dr. Carolyn Bolton Moore, Heersink School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

    Anita is a Doctoral Student in the School of Education, Department of Community Health & Human Services. Anita’s research interest focuses on addressing the social determinants of healthcare access and utilization in sub-Saharan Africa. Together, with Dr. Bolton-Moore, she is facilitating her international research project titled "Linkage to Care and Treatment Among Adolescents in the Era of Test and Start: A mixed methods evaluation in Lusaka, Zambia" this summer!
  • 2019 Fellow: Abdullah Alanazi, PhD student in Rehabilitation Sciences, School of Health Professions
    Scholar mentor: Dr. Eric Ford, School of Public Health, Dept of Health Policy & Organization

    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.
  • 2019 Fellow: Amy Jasani, Undergraduate student in Neuroscience, College of Arts & Science, and MPH student in Health Behavior, School of Public Health
    Scholar mentor: Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom, Heersink School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

    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 on behavioral and clinical characteristics of three sexually transmitted infections potentially associated with women in Cameroon experiencing secondary infertility compared to fertility.

    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
  • 2020 Fellow: Emma Kate Sellers, BSPH/MPH and grad certificate in Global Health student, School of Public Health
    Scholar mentor: Dr. Meredith Gartin, School of Public Health, Dept of Health Policy & Organization

    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."