DegreeGlobal Health and Cultural Anthropology ’16
I am from Raleigh, NC. I chose Duke because of the unique position the university holds in both being invested in creating opportunities for their students to grow, and being a world-class research institution. Bass Connections is an example of an opportunity that spans both of these values. Duke has given me multiple chances to grow as a scholar and leader, such as DukeEngage, the Kenan Institute for Ethics, WISER and Bass Connections.
I was particularly interested in the Bass Connections sickle cell project because of its international collaborative component and its focus on the multiple factors that contribute to sickle cell health outcomes. During every meeting we have members of our team from multiple parts of the world join us via Skype, and our student team members have traveled to their sites as well. This is helping me to understand how sickle cell is managed and viewed all across the world—a perspective that helps me think critically about how best to address chronic diseases in different geographic and cultural contexts.
I have gained in-depth exposure to the many factors that come together to define the experience of sickle cell disease. We have examined environmental factors, healthcare management and psychosocial factors, and are gaining experience in statistical analysis in order to understand this disease on a holistic and comprehensive scale.
Not only will I be able to apply my knowledge of sickle cell to future projects, I will be able to apply this model and approach of understanding health outcomes on a structural and intrapersonal level to future work and projects. This is the truly invaluable component of the program for me.
Being a part of this Bass Connections team has solidified my goals to pursue a career in global health, and to focus on collaborative and multidisciplinary approaches to health. The experience with the qualitative research I am completing for the project has served as wonderful training for a separate qualitative project I am working on for my senior thesis. Additionally, the experience of being in Bass Connections may have qualified me for an additional research position in the summer with the innovative Data+ program here at Duke.
The opportunity to receive mentorship from many different professors and leaders in the field has been incredibly rewarding. Dr. Royal and Dr. Stewart in particular have been incredible resources for my growth as an academic, and being able to get to know them through this project and receive advice and support has certainly better informed my understanding of the field of global health.
Additionally, the opportunity to travel to Jamaica to work at the Sickle Cell Unit in Mona was an incredible experience that allowed me to understand how sickle cell care and delivery is managed and operated in a location outside of the U.S. I also was able to interact and work under experts there who truly demonstrated what it means to be invested in patient-centered care. It was an immersive and challenging experience from which I gained wonderful comparative perspective and admiration for the healthcare leaders there.