Students to present international projects at upcoming Global Health Initiatives Forum

Already this year, more than 40 medical students have scheduled international electives across more than a dozen countries. Several are slated to speak at the upcoming Global Health Initiatives Forum on March 23, where the focus will be on educational experiences abroad.

Five GHD students are slated to present their projects at the upcoming Global Health Initiatives Forum on March 23.

Highlighted projects run the gamut, including women’s health and family planning in Zambia, diabetes management in Sri Lanka, and mental health among the transgender population in India, to name a few. Professor of Internal Medicine Brent Williams, Director of the medical school’s Global Health & Disparities Path for students, will speak as well.

“In recent years, the transition in UMMS students’ global experiences from medical tourism to deep, collaborative engagement with communities has generated sustained change in the communities, new information relevant around the world, and transformative experiences for our students," said Dr. Williams. "Making this happen in the inherently short time intervals available to students has taken the support and participation of many faculty, Global REACH, and the medical school.  The student projects discussed at this Global Health Initiatives meeting reflect this well, and give us insight into the lives and trajectories of future physician leaders in global health.”

The event takes place on Thursday, March 23 at 5:30 p.m. in room 2901 of the Taubman Health Sciences Library. Students and faculty alike with an interest in global health are encouraged to attend. (RSVP to Robyn Hodges: See below for an overview of the projects to be highlighted.


Barriers to emergency obstetric care in low-income countries - M4 Sarah Bell; Zambia

Transportation – or lack of it – during medical emergencies is a common problem throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Bell, working with the international non-profit, Population Council, will conduct an onsite literature review exploring the causes for delay in cases of maternal morbidity and mortality, specifically as it relates to transportation to a more advanced healthcare setting. Zambia and other countries have made investments to improve access to medical emergency transportation services, but there has not been a comprehensive literature review of the effectiveness of these programs.


Sustainable resuscitation ultrasound education in a low-resource environment: the Kumasi experience - M4 Matt Tafoya; Ghana

Tafoya traveled to Ghana’s Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), in Kumasi, in 2016 to help implement an ultrasound training course for emergency medicine residents. He returns this year to continue that project as well as launch another study in KATH’s ICU assessing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome – assessing the incidence rates, demographics, therapies and outcomes on these patients.


Ultrasound-guided resuscitation of critically ill medical patients presenting to the emergency department in a resource-limited setting - M4 Chelsea Tafoya; Ghana

UMMS Emergency Medicine faculty have an ongoing partnership to expand training and services in Kumasi’s Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), and recent training efforts have focused on expanding ultrasound skills. Tafoya’s project involves studying the effectiveness of the KATH physician’s ultrasound training when it comes to making quick, crucial diagnoses for presenting patients, specifically those with symptoms of shock or dyspnea.


Assessing the mental health of the Hijra women of Mandya - M4 Vik Jayadeva; India

Although Hijra, as transgender women in India are known, have protected legal status, the realities of daily life push many of these women into lives as sex workers. Jayadeva plans to spend two months in Bangalore, India assessing the mental health of this vulnerable population, specifically researching the adverse impacts of gender dysphoria.


Attacking the diabetic conundrum of Sri Lanka: an integrated approach - M4 Rashmi Patil, MPH; Sri Lanka

UMMS students have been working in Sri Lanka since 2014 through a partnership with the Grace Care Center, a residential facility for orphans and seniors displaced by civil war as well as the country’s devastating 2004 tsunami. Patil is slated to travel to Sri Lanka this spring as part of project to expand the current care provided to Grace Care residents in order to bring diabetes monitoring and treatment to the broader community.