Four University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) students have been awarded grants to participate in the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Center for Global Education Initiatives (CGEI) grant program, which supports students traveling abroad this summer to participate in global health initiative projects.
Clinical Nurse Leader master’s student Elyse DeLaittre; Bachelor of Science in Nursing students Julie Factor and Sarah Litts; and PhD student Amy Nelson received grants to participate in various projects. CGEI is also providing guidance to the students regarding travel planning, cultural preparation, funding resources, and safety and security.
“We are very excited for Amy, Sarah, Elyse, and Julie. Traveling to another country to address critical global health challenges forces our students to shift their cultural stances and opens their eyes to other ways of providing health care,” said Yolanda Ogbolu, PhD ’11, MS ’05, BSN ’04, CRNP-Neonatal, assistant professor and director, UMSON Office of Global Health. “Global health service-learning experiences are important pathways for bi-directional learning and are often transformational experiences.”
Nelson and Litts will travel to Costa Rica with four other UMB students and three faculty members from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law to participate in the project titled, “A comparative analysis of emerging infectious disease outbreak preparedness and response in Costa Rica and the U.S.” The team will examine how the United States and Costa Rica governments responded to the 2016 Zika outbreak from clinical, pharmaceutical, health care, and community perspectives; compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of the two different approaches; and assist in conceptualizing how to implement in the United States successful practices used abroad, while overcoming potential barriers. Additionally, students will learn how to engage the community during infectious disease outbreaks.
DeLaittre, three other UMB students, and two faculty members from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) will travel to Gambia to participate in the project titled, “Health system strengthening in The Gambia: A continuation of prior work.” This project will build upon the foundational work laid in previous UMB visits in 2014 and 2016, with the aim of providing Gambian health leaders with the knowledge and resources to fortify the country’s health system. Previously, UMB has served as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health in support of WHO’s Global Plan of Action on Worker’s Health. The team will provide technical expertise and content knowledge focused on the health care environment to assist low- to middle-income countries in implementing practices to ensure basic worker protections. Additionally, the group will work to prioritize and implement health care worker protections as one pillar of health system strengthening and sustainability.
Factor, two other UMB students, and a UMSOM faculty member will go to Rwanda to participate in the project titled, “First assessment of injection drug use practices and associated HIV risks in Kigali, Rwanda.” Students will partner with a team of Rwandan medical and nursing students to develop a survey to implement a pilot study at a clinical site in Kigali. The team will seek to ascertain the prevalence and associated behaviors for injection drug use in addition to processing data and presenting the results at an international infectious disease conference.
UMSON’s Office of Global Health predominantly focuses on nursing students, while CGEI is a Universitywide academic resource center for UMB faculty and students who are interested in global education opportunities. CGEI promotes and supports interprofessional global education, identifies global themes that can be contextualized locally, and facilitates academic work related to global education.
“The summer grants program spearheaded by the Center for Global Education Initiatives provides an extraordinary opportunity for our nursing students to join other UMB students and faculty in interprofessional learning opportunities within a global context,” said UMSON Dean Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Our students will participate in what will undoubtedly be an incredible learning and service experience that reflects our commitment to interprofessional education and to diversity and inclusion.”