Despite having gotten used to all the Zoom meetings and working/going to classes remotely, it was disappointing to know my global health practicum would take place from the confines of my apartment in Carrboro. When I got the news I had the opportunity to work with the Gillings Zambia Hub, I was ecstatic. It was immediately obvious how much this practicum had to offer me. Not only could I continue exploring an interest in nutrition-related research, but it would also provide an opportunity to practice my skills as an analyst and learn from a small group of public health experts.
This summer I am grateful to be working at the UNC Gillings Zambia Hub with Dr. Stephanie Martin and Dr. Ashu Handa. We are working on the Scaling up Nutrition Learning and Evaluation (SUN-LE) project which provides survey, research, evaluation and dissemination services to the Zambian government. More specifically, we will be investigating various health facility quality measures and nutrition interventions as they relate to reducing childhood stunting/malnutrition.
So far I have begun a literature review and learned about antenatal care and health facility quality assessments. Next, we will finalize a list of variables to evaluate and move forward with some analyses. As the practicum continues, I look forward to expanding my understanding of global maternal and child health and nutrition, and applying some of the materials I have learned in class in a work-setting. Most of my prior experiences have been in U.S. healthcare, and while I enjoyed that work and learned a lot, I am excited to become part of a project that I feel has a more direct and greater impact on people’s everyday lives. After all, this is one of the reasons I wanted to pursue my MPH.
Now that classes are done and I have more free-time, I’m also looking forward to exploring the Triangle area running/hiking, spending time with friends, and volunteering at the community garden. Some of the biggest lessons I’ve taken away from the pandemic is the importance of creative thinking and making the most of every opportunity. This said, I’m looking forward diving into this practicum and hope to create a valuable experience!