Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation (GANDHI) (2017-2018)


Without notice, an acute illness or injury can be life-altering. The most vulnerable and underserved population is those who suffer acutely from loss of functionality and drastic change in social role as they transition home from the hospital. Yet this experience and the transition home receive little attention globally. Most measures quantify death, readmissions and burden without truly considering quality of life and how the surrounding system influences recovery.

Project Description

This goal of this Bass Connections project is to grow the Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation in breadth (number of countries) and depth (research in phase I countries), and continue to engage faculty, external collaborators and students across learner levels in international mixed methods research committed to health system strengthening to support the transition home from the hospital for adults newly living with disability to achieve their greatest quality of life. Objectives for the 2017-2018 team include:

  1. Grow the interdisciplinary advisory group: Previous team members have identified additional topic experts across Duke to engage in this work.
  2. Pilot studies: A regional focus will help to build research capacity. This team will focus pilots in the Asia-Pacific region including China and the ASEAN countries (Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam).
  3. Interdisciplinary seminar and multi-nation study: The emphasis for evaluation will be placed on teamwork, peer mentoring and completing a high-quality scientifically sound study established from interdisciplinary consensus and focused on a targeted region such as the ASEAN countries.
  4. Lived experience: Patient-level research will be focused in a small number of the 2016-2017 project’s countries (Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, China, Singapore, Tanzania, Uganda, United States), and new stakeholder analysis will be structured for the regional focus (ASEAN).
  5. Disseminate, spread, sustain and innovate: This team will have a larger focus on publications and external funding than the previous year’s team, with continued communication via the project website and newsletter.

Anticipated Outcomes

Expanded advisory group; pilot studies in Asia-Pacific region; comparative study; patient-level research in selected countries; dissemination of findings

Student Opportunities

This project team meets as a collaborative learning model weekly for three hours (every Monday at 7:00 a.m.) where all students attend with at least two Duke faculty and an external collaborator. Weekly summaries will be sent to all student team members, all documents and products will be posted on Google Drive, newsletters will be sent every second month to Duke faculty and collaborators and all members are encouraged to send information and news through the team’s listserv or website. The project coordinator will manage the website and social media outlets.

Students can expect to:

  • Collaborate through a genuine team approach applicable to the real world setting
  • Gain mentorship experience across learner levels and disciplines/schools
  • Engage in international collaboration via phone/Skype/WebEx/in-person meetings
  • Interact with key opinion leaders and be responsible for professional communication and inquiries
  • Learn from external partners (advisory members and guest lecturers spanning disciplines)
  • Practice and apply research skills (geospatial analysis, systematic literature reviews, qualitative interviewing, global knowledge translation, comparative analysis)
  • Build skills for career advancement (communication, networking, project management)
  • Learn about global health concepts (frameworks, models of care, policies, strategic plans)
  • Synthesize findings and disseminate work (abstracts, manuscripts, posters, blog posts)
  • Gain the opportunity to develop and apply language skills for interviewing in the field
  • Be heard, valued and integrated into all aspects of the research.

We are seeking enthusiastic, passionate and dedicated students eager to understand mixed methodology approaches for exploring the topics of health system strengthening and functioning, disability and health. While a background or knowledge of anthropology, sociology, disability, medicine or health sciences might be helpful, they are not required. More specifically, we are seeking students from the School of Nursing, Global Health Institute, Fuqua School of Business, Sanford School of Public Policy, social sciences and School of Medicine, ranging from undergraduates to resident physicians and postdocs. Students will be selected to form a cohesive team with diverse, but complementary skills, disciplines and experiences to add to the innovation of our proposed projects. Language skills in Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish or Malay for students interested in qualitative fieldwork in some countries are helpful but not required.

The team will be comprised of approximately 10 students. Students enrolled in the Bass Connections seminar meet weekly as part of the larger project team and receive a letter grade. Evaluation is one-third teamwork and relationship building and two-thirds research output-related.


Summer 2017 – Summer 2018

  • Summer 2017: Pilots, fieldwork (optional)
  • Fall 2017: Seminar, advisory meeting, comparative study, pilots
  • Spring 2018: Comparative study, advisory meeting, pilots, forums
  • Summer 2018: Fieldwork (optional)


Independent study credit available for fall and spring semesters; summer funding

See earlier related team, Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation (GANDHI) (2016-2017).


Faculty/Staff Team Members

Janet Prvu Bettger, School of Medicine - Orthopaedic Surgery*
Harvey Jay Cohen, Center for Study of Aging & Human Development
Deborah Gold, School of Medicine - Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences; Center for Study of Aging & Human Development
Adam Goode, School of Medicine - Physical Therapy
Bradi Granger, School of Nursing and Duke Heart Center
Michel Landry, School of Medicine - Physical Therapy
Gary Maslow, School of Medicine - Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Truls Ostbye, School of Medicine - Community & Family Medicine
Amy Pastva, School of Medicine - Physical Therapy
Laura Richman, Trinity - Psychology & Neuroscience
Emily Smith, School of Medicine - Division of Global Neurosurgery and Neuroscience
Catherine Staton, School of Medicine - Surgery
Kearsley Stewart, Duke Global Health Institute*
Donald Taylor, Sanford School of Public Policy
Elizabeth Turner, School of Medicine - Biostatistics & Bioinformatics
Heather Whitson, School of Medicine - Medicine - Geriatrics
Gavin Yamey, Duke Global Health Institute
Lijing Yan, Duke Kunshan University - Global Health

Graduate Team Members

Sarah Jean Barton, Divinity - Doctor of Theology
Kira Battle, Doctor of Physical Therapy
Anne Gross, Physical Therapy

Undergraduate Team Members

Chelsea Liu, Computer Science (AB)
Elish Mahajan, Biology (BS)
Maaz Mulla, Biology (BS)
Rachel Shapiro
Jacqueline Xu, Global Health (AB), Public Policy Studies (AB2)

Community Team Members

Multiple Contributors, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Tanzania
Multiple Contributors, Bergen University College, Norway
Multiple Contributors, University of Sao Paolo, Brazil
Multiple Contributors, Hospital Italiano, Argentina
Multiple Contributors, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Multiple Contributors, New Mulago Hospital, Uganda

* denotes team leader