Potential Faculty Mentors / Current Opportunities at International Sites
UVa Global Surgery Initiative / Rwanda - Forrest Calland, MD (Also please see Global Anesthesia Initiative/Rwanda below)
Water and Health in Limpopo / South Africa - Rebecca Dillingham, MD/MPH
University of Science and Technology Collaboration /
Other faculty interested in mentoring CGH projects:
CGH Scholar Awards support UVa students from diverse disciplines and schools to conduct faculty-mentored research related to global health. The following is a partial list of possible mentors. Please contact faculty directly, or contact the Center for Global Health (firstname.lastname@example.org/434.243.6383) to find out about opportunities to meet with faculty and prepare an award proposal.
Rae Blumberg (Department of Sociology)
While my own work focuses on gender and development, my work with students has been eclectic and I delight in the range of their interests. With CGH funding, have mentored projects in medicine and music, the nutrition of college students, he spread of health services through microfinance. As a mentor, I act as a resource or “outfielder” social scientist who is willing to consider new and original deas and help students with initiative shape them into fundable form.
Brad Brown (McIntire School of Commerce)
I am interested in how organizations and systems become more resilient. Resilience refers to how well systems recover from a shock or catastrophic failure, and I believe we are going to face many crises in the future. I have an idea that some less technologically advanced societies may actually be more resilient than our own because people are forced to be more self-reliant and need to be less-specialized in what they know how to do. For me, an interesting CGH project is one in which you can work with an organization, helping in whatever way you can, but with the purpose of getting ideas and/or techniques that could be brought back to the US to help us prepare for system failures such as electrical power outages, transportation crises if gasoline becomes expensive or scarce, or a global pandemic. The key for me is not what you can do to help Bangladesh (or wherever), but what you can learn from them. That probably sounds like I am encouraging extractive behavior, but I see it as the humility to recognize that every society has things they can teach the rest of the world.
Anselmo Canfora (School of Architecture)
My research and teaching center on two recurring themes in the architecture discipline: the tools and craft of building, and the people for whom buildings are made. In my work, I explore fabrication technologies and processes of construction to create domestic and international projects for a broader audience than the profession has traditionally engaged. My teaching focuses on the preparation of students thorough foundational knowledge and skill sets in architecture and related disciplines while anticipating the potential new roles they will face as members of society; one with the most direct influence on the built environment. The critical synthesis of these themes forms the basis of my approach to addressing the complex challenges we face in the 21st century. With this in mind, I work through interdisciplinary efforts to continue to improve the safety and quality of the built environment for vulnerable populations. With this in mind, I work through interdisciplinary efforts to continue to improve the safety and quality of the built environment for vulnerable populations.
Marcel Durieux, (Department of Anesthesiology)
Global Anesthesia Initiative/Rwanda - The shortage of anesthesia providers in developing countries has become known as the “global anesthesia crisis”. Not only are providers in short supply, but their training is limited (frequently only 2 years practical training after high school), and educators are rare to nonexistent. The UVA GAI participates in several projects that aim to increase the quantity and quality of anesthesia services around the world.
Several projects are available for CGH
summer interns to participate in. The location is Rwanda, where a large
project to increase human resources for health is in progress. Projects
will focus on appropriate utilization of scarce resources in
anesthesia. Efficient operating room management, for example, is
critical in a setting with limited personnel, and students will
investigate bottlenecks and inefficiencies in operating room use. In
the intensive care unit, focus will be on therapies and approaches that
would be available (but may be underutilized) and could prevent
prolonged ICU stays.
Mrinalini Chakravorty (Department of English)
I am interested in promoting the interdisciplinary overlap between international public health work being done in the health sciences and the humanities. My own work in this area, particularly in rural and tribal areas of West Bengal, India, has convinced me that literacy training can only be meaningful when done in conjunction with issues such as health care, agricultural and food justice, working women's access to resources, and other such concerns relevant to the everyday lives of people in under-resourced and disadvantaged areas. I would be happy to mentor students in any of the humanities disciplines (Anthropology, Literature, History, Politics, Political and Social Thought, Global Development Studies) who want to take a critical approach to the humanitarian discourses that guide Global AID programs that are insufficiently informed by local cultural practices, including but not limited to languages, agricultural customs, literacy issues, rural social and political structures, etc. This would mean that the students invent a plan that is fully integrated on these grounds by pursuing language learning in a South Asian language, collaborating with colleagues in other disciplines, or working through an institution with an integrated or holistic approach to global welfare.
Richard Handler (Global Development Studies, Department of Anthropology)(Global Development Studies, Department of Anthropology)
I work with majors in the Global
Development Studies and Global Public Health programs on the
intersection of public health, social institutions and cultural
patterns. Students have researched such topics as the relationship
between war and women’s health; local building materials and landscape
design in refugee camps; and cultural ideas about sexuality and the
transmission of HIV/AIDS. We consider public health from the widest
possible perspective, to examine the societal and cultural factors that
affect people’s well-being.
Sheetal Sekhri (Department of Economics)
Environmental exposure has detrimental effects on health outcomes of people living in developing countries. The effects are typically more pronounced due to lack of awareness and financial constraints. Research focusing on such topics can, for example, examine- can groundwater pollution impact neonatal health? Can water scarcity impact malnutrition among children? Does exposure to arsenic result in more disabilities in children? Can awareness improve nutritional status of women and children? Students interested in examining the effects of environmental exposure on health broadly defined in India and who have taken a class in econometrics or have prior experience in working with data, would be ideal candidates.
Lisa Shutt (Program in African-American and African Studies)
I am a cultural anthropologist whose current research is located in Francophone Central Africa (urban Gabon). I would be particularly interested in projects based in Sub-Saharan or Northern Africa. I would be drawn to projects that examine and investigate cultural patterns, social maps and societal institutions as they shape or create issues and obstacles surrounding global health challenges. I would also be interested in working with students who want to discern what may be different understandings of bodies, health and wellness in a particular African context (possibly as this influences local understandings of health issues or as these worldviews collide with foreign development projects). I would be most interested in working with students who plan to generate a significant portion of their data through ethnographic research. I would be most interested in working with students who plan to generate a significant portion of their data through ethnographic research.
James A. Smith (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
My expertise is on fluid, solute, and
particle transport through porous media.Over the past 10 years, I have
been studying point-of-use water treatment technologies in the
developing world, including rural areas of South Africa and Guatemala.
I will be mentoring undergraduate and graduate research on these topics
over the next few years.
Niklas Hultin, Dept. of Anthropology
The issue of water in South Africa--and elsewhere in Africa--raises questions not only of public health and sanitation, but also of law and politics. There are three issues in particular that stand out:
Who owns water? Anthropologists have long recognized that conceptions of ownership vary enormously from social context to social context, that different cultures have different ideas of what can be owned as private property and not, as well as a difference between ownership and usage-rights. Accordingly, one set of questions to examine would be whether water is something that can be owned, by whom, in what contexts, how this ownership (if it exists) is transferred, etc. This might involve addressing various ostensibly traditional political hierarchies and forms of ownership that exist in South Africa, as well as other processes focused more on the post-Apartheid South African state. Here it is of course worth noting that South Africa, like many other emerging economies, have seen intense debates over the merits and aims of privatization of public goods, including water utilities. - Work place safety? South Africa stands out from other African countries in having a robust regulatory regime for workplace safety--not surprising given its history of racial injustice, strong labor movement, and reliance on comparatively dangerous industries like mining. Whether an activity like making ceramic water filters is subject to some of these regulations is probably doubtful (an organization has to reach a certain size for these provisions to take effect), but nonetheless the existence of these laws and a vociferous public debate in South Africa surrounding work place safety suggests a range of interesting questions re: water as a professional activity (that is water acquisition, transport, filtering, etc. as "work") and how this is understood locally.
Human/socio-economic rights? The elephant in the room here is the role of the ideas and language of human and socio-economic rights in either of the foregoing two issues. South Africa has a very robust human rights culture--indeed, the anthropologist Richard Wilson has argued that this was the "founding myth" of post-Apartheid South Africa--and the rhetoric of rights is very prominent. Thus one set of questions worth exploring would focus on water rights activism, legal cases over work place safety, to what extent local understandings are impacted by international or national discussions of "rights," and so on.
I'd be happy to work with any student interested in any of the above issues, or some permutation thereof. While I am abroad for the time being, I can easily consult over email or other electronic means.