Students representing each of the six University of Maryland professional schools in Baltimore departed Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on June 27 to fly to Africa to participate in a summer interdisciplinary research project to study access to malaria treatment.
The University of Maryland Global Health Resource Center is sponsoring this project, one that is carrying out an interdisciplinary assessment of health utilization behavior for malaria illnesses. This is part of a larger University of Maryland study to conduct surveillance of the burden of malaria disease in several different regions of Malawi.
The six students will work together to determine whether adults and children get care when they have malaria. They each bring their own perspective to the project.
The students include Elizabeth Duke, a second-year student from the School of Medicine who is bringing an interest in pediatrics; Jane Hannon, a nine-year nursing veteran who is in the School of Nursing family nurse practitioner program and will bring a nursing perspective to the project; Jason Hodge, a student from the School of Pharmacy who is interested in studying the delivery of pharmaceuticals to the patients; Lucy MacGabhann, a third-year student in the School of Law who will be studying the problems in Malawi from the perspective of policymakers including issues of health care delivery and discrimination; Angie Larenas, a second-year School of Social Work student who will be studying how families respond to illnesses in the household and what challenges people face in accessing health care services; and Shabnam Mazhari, a fourth-year student from the School of Dentistry who brings an interest in access to care.
The students are being supervised by a team of faculty members including Miriam Laufer, MD, from the School of Medicine; Diane Hoffmann, JD, MS, from the School of Law; Jody Olsen, PhD, MSW, from the School of Social Work; and Judith Porter, DDS, MA, from the School of Dentistry. Laufer will be with the students for the first month and the other faculty members are traveling at different times to supervise them.
The study will be conducted in a rural district in the mountains of Malawi. The students will learn where people go to get health care, including both the formal and informal health services, why they go there, and what are the barriers to health care including costs and transportation.
The students departed from Baltimore to Atlanta and then flew to Johannesburg, South Africa, where they spent the night. The next morning, they flew to Blantyre, Malawi, where they are staying at the home of a University of Maryland physician who is conducting research.
To hear from each of the six students, view the video below:
UM Students Enroute to Malawi from UM news on Vimeo.