2015 Global WACh-Coulter Seed Grant recipients create anesthesia device for developing countries

In 2015, a group of engineering students proposed the idea for a low-cost, portable anesthesia delivery device specifically for use in resource-poor regions. The device’s aim was to overcome the challenge individuals in low-resource settings face when crucial medical procedures are often not performed due to a lack of accessible anesthesia delivery.

A $30,000 seed grant from the Global WACh-Coulter Foundation in 2015 allowed the team to design a benchtop test circuit, including a prototype of a simplified anesthetic vaporizer. With investigative mentorship from UW faculty and anesthesiology specialists, these students are now working to create the device that will make more surgeries possible and reduce unnecessary deaths.

Read more about this ongoing project here.

Introducing the New Class of Global WACh Certificate Students

As we welcome the start of another academic year here at the University of Washington, we also welcome a group of highly motivated graduate students to the Global WACh Certificate Program. These seven new students join the 12 current members of our certificate program, entering a robust interdisciplinary community dedicated to improving the health of women, adolescents, and children.

From refugee resettlement work in Philadelphia, to Peace Corps service in Burkina Faso, these students’ experiences span multiple countries and disciplines, making them among the University of Washington’s most qualified graduate students to impact health around the globe. Read about each of our new students below, and please join us in welcoming them to the Global WACh community!


jadeJade Fairbanks is an MPH student in the Department of Health Services, and received her BA in Public Health and Medical Anthropology from the University of Washington. Prior to starting the MPH program, Jade was a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso, working in the field of reproductive health education, and improving health services and delivery at the village maternity. She spent last summer working as a GO Health Fellow in Merrueshi, Kenya to develop an all-girls mentorship program titled “Yes S.H.E. Can: Sharing Her Empowerment” as well as a training manual for community health workers to educate on childhood malnutrition, and implement mandatory malnutrition screenings.  Within the field of maternal and child health, she is particularly interested in expanding access to family planning services and reducing adolescent and unwanted pregnancies through educational outreach and program implementation.

HFrizzellHannah Frizzell is a third year Ph. D. student in the department of Bioengineering. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin and completed a minor in Spanish. She is currently a graduate research fellow working with Dr. Kim A. Woodrow, focusing on mucosal immunoengineering, vaccines, drug delivery, and how these relate to women’s and children’s health on a global scale. Her current work is centered around improving oral vaccination through the combination of biotechnology and immunology. Hannah is the Vice President of Funding of University of Washington Bioengineers without Borders, which develops medical devices for resource-limited areas. She mentors a teams focused on a low-cost device for diagnosis of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women. Hannah is also a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Roche/Achievement Awards for College Scientists (ARCS) scholar. As she progresses in her field, she hopes to apply both her technical background and experience from the Global WACh program to create and integrate medical technologies into communities to improve their accessibility and thus ultimate effectiveness in improving health globally.

Isatou Jallow is pursuing a Masters of Law in Sustainable International Development. A lawyer and refugee from Gambia, Isatou is interested in many different human rights and development-related legal issues. She received her BA in Law and Political Science from the University Mohamed V in Rabat, Morocco. More recently at the University of Washington, she completed a year of service at the University of Washington School of Law’s Development Innovation Lab, where she researched conditions of women mining in the DRC and contributed to the formation of an NGO to assist these communities. One focus in particular is on the eradication of Female Genital Mutilation among immigrant communities in the U.S. She has spoken at the invitation of a number of organizations in the Seattle area, including UW Medicine/Harborview, the Northwest Immigrants’ Rights Project, and Somali Maternity Services, providing a perspective for health care workers and others working with immigrants and survivors of Female Genital Mutilation from Sub-Saharan Africa.

CaptureShadae Paul is pursuing a joint Master’s degree in Public Health and Public Administration and is interested in learning methods to increase women’s access to resources and services in their communities. After earning her BA at University of Maryland, College Park, Shadae served as a Peace Corps Community Health Promotion Facilitator in Fiji- an experience which serves as the foundation for her interest in global maternal and child health. She has spent many years working with women, children, and families both locally and internationally, including organizations such as the International Rescue Committee (IRC), March of Dimes, Mary’s Center, and Hagerstown Birth. Shadae looks forward to strengthening interdisciplinary skills needed to address complex global health issues through the Global WACh certificate program.

Lauren Rotkis is a candidate in the Pediatric Doctorate of Nursing Practice program. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Washington, a Master of Science in Complementary and Alternative Medicine from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis. Within the global health field, she is particularly drawn to working with adolescent populations who are at a unique stage of self-discovery and self-determination. Having grown up in Seattle, Lauren has observed societal and political shifts that have led to an increasingly vulnerable marginalized population of teens. She currently volunteers at the Country Doctor Free Teen clinic, which is an evening health clinic for homeless teens. It is this experience that has had a defining role in shaping Lauren’s career goals. She plans to continue working with vulnerable teens as a Nurse Practitioner, either in a school-based health clinic, Juvenile Detention or a primary care clinic with a specific focus on nutrition and stress-related health effects.

Face3Gladys Salgado is a MPA candidate in the Evans School of Public Policy. As a native of Colombia, South America, Gladys grew up in a large family who taught her valuable lessons on what it means to be rich without having money, the importance of family above all, and the difference between poverty and despair. After a long career in Information Technology, Gladys is embarking on a new career in public service. Following her move to Seattle, she became restless by the abundance of social ills surrounding her such as homelessness, obesity, and untreated mental health disorders, and has decided to put her skills and experience toward helping make systemic changes from within on a full-time basis. 

Manahil Siddiqi PhotoManahil Siddiqi is an MPH student in the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program. Her primary interest is in global health, particularly health politics and health systems strengthening with a focus on women and children. Manahil graduated with distinction in her self-designed major in Global Health from Bryn Mawr College in 2015, where she was the recipient of several honors commending her public health achievements in Philadelphia, England, and Nicaragua. Prior to joining the University of Washington, Manahil conducted research on refugee mothering, resettlement and mental health among conflict-affected populations, including refugee families resettling in Philadelphia. The principles of social justice, human rights and collective action fuel Manahil’s scholarship and advocacy.

Breakfast with WACh welcomes Drs. Ghayda Mirzaa and Kristina Adams Waldorf

Join us for breakfast and a lecture on Tuesday, October 11th with Drs. Ghayda Mirzaa, MD, FAAP, FACMG and Kristina Adams Waldorf, MD.

The Zika Epidemic: An Unprecedented Health Threat for Pregnant Women

October 11th, 9-10 AM
University of Washington, Harris Hydraulics Laboratory, Large Conference Room

mirzaaDr. Ghayda Mirzaa is an expert in adolescent sexual and reproductive health. He has worked for the World Health Organization in Geneva since 1993. His experience in generating knowledge and taking knowledge to action is global in scope and spans over 25 years.  A key area of his work is research on effective ways of providing sexuality education in different social, cultural and economic contexts, and then using these research findings to strengthen sexuality education programs in low and middle income countries.

convio kristinaDr. Kristina Adams Waldorf
 is an expert in adolescent sexual and reproductive health. He has worked for the World Health Organization in Geneva since 1993. His experience in generating knowledge and taking knowledge to action is global in scope and spans over 25 years.  A key area of his work is research on effective ways of providing sexuality education in different social, cultural and economic contexts, and then using these research findings to strengthen sexuality education programs in low and middle income countries.


For more information, please email Kate Pfizenmaier, Global WACh Program Manager, at

SPEED study aims to better meet adolescent HIV care needs

Despite enormous expansion of HIV testing and treatment services in resource-limited settings, adolescents continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. Lack of access to acceptable HIV testing, counseling, and treatment has been cited as a barrier to HIV care among adolescents. Additionally, health workers tasked with providing adolescent HIV services report feeling inadequately prepared to cope with the needs of this age group.

The SPEED study improves quality and accessibility of HIV care to meet the unique needs of adolescents. SPEED (Simulated Patient Encounters to promote Early Detection) uses patient actors to portray adolescent HIV patients as part of a clinical training intervention. This gives nurses and doctors in Kenya an opportunity to practice their skills diagnosing, caring for, and engaging adolescents living with HIV. The simulated encounters utilize a standardized patient script and provide opportunities for the trained actor and a faculty observer to deliver immediate feedback and support to the clinician.

Simulated patient interactions show great promise as a mechanism for health workers in low-resource settings to improve critical decision-making, patient interaction, and communication skills in working with adolescents. SPEED’s ultimate aim is for this increased provider confidence to in turn increase uptake and retention in adolescent HIV care.

a SPEED patient actor practices her case with a study nurse

a SPEED patient actor practices her case with a study nurse

Dr. Kate Wilson with the team of trained patient actors

Dr. Kate Wilson with the patient actor team

This week, SPEED has been busy training a new group of patient actors in Nairobi, Kenya. Actor training is part of the study’s first year of progress. Led by Global WACh and UW School of Nursing researcher Dr. Pamela Kohler and managed by Dr. Kate Wilson, SPEED’s interventions and analyses will be conducted over the next four years.

Making strides in HIV testing and counseling

Irene Njuguna and Jill Neary are MPH Candidates in Epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health. With mentorship from Global WACh researcher Jenn Slyker and Kenyatta National Hospital VCT Director Dr. David Bukusi, they developed a new tool to track provider initiated HIV testing and counseling for children admitted to hospitals in Kenya. Read about their work below.  

In line with the World Health Organization recommendations, the Kenya National HIV testing guidelines recommend universal provider initiated HIV testing and counseling (PITC) for all children in sub Saharan Africa who come in contact with health care facilities. However, in many settings universal PITC is not routinely implemented, with ward transfers, weekend admissions, and discharges resulting in some missed testing opportunities. This results in late diagnosis of HIV infected children, who are at high risk of mortality and do not benefit fully from HIV treatment.

This project began with the intent to intervene in this cycle of unmet HIV care needs. The team looked to Kenya’s national referral hospital: Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). Working with the PITC team at KNH, the team established an important framework for developing easy to use, acceptable tools to track and improve PITC coverage. In partnership with the KNH pediatric ward PITC counselors, a system was developed to track each individual child admitted, confirm testing completion, identify reasons any children missed testing, and flag children requiring testing.

The tool was successfully piloted in the pediatric department, and at the end of the practicum period, the PITC team recommended that the tool also be used in the adult in-patient medical wards.


Jill Neary (left) and Irene Njuguna (right) with Ruth Andere: the leader of the Pediatric PITC team.

Congratulations Irene, Jill, and the entire KNH team for your accomplishment! We can look forward to hearing about the continued success of PITC at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Global WACh Announces 2016 Small Change Awards  

We believe that small changes have the power to make a big difference. The Global WACh Small Change Awards are given to improve the patient experience in low and middle income countries by improving clinical care, patient satisfaction, workforce empowerment, and health service delivery for programs befitting the health of women, adolescents and children. Our applicants described their vision for a small change at their site, our panel reviewed the ideas, and the highest quality proposals demonstrating tangible change were chosen. We are pleased to announce and congratulate eight outstanding proposals as winners of the Small Change Award for 2016!

Institution Awardee Award Purpose
Aymba Clinic, Gondar, Ethiopia Getnet Mequanint $952 Beds and bedside cupboards for Aymba’s maternal waiting room.
Karen Health Centre, Nairobi County Teresa Nderi $1000 A freshly-painted waiting area, new exam-room curtains, and a fetal heart monitor.
Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya Pediatric Studies Hellen Okinyi $964 Pulse oximeters, pediatric ambu bags, and nebulizers to better accommodate a high volume of patients.
Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya Pediatric Studies Daisy Chebet $960 Diagnostic sets and pediatric blood pressure cuffs for the pediatric HIV care clinic.
Kenyatta National Hospital, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Dr. Rashmi Kumar $900 Bedside cupboards, a nurse desk, and filing cabinet to decongest the small PICU.
Kenyatta National Hospital, Department of Mental Health Dr. Josephine Atieno Omondi $900 A child reflection room for engaging children aged 5-12 and preventing their boredom, anger, or disruption.
Kisumu East District Hospital Sally Nyaboke Mogire $1000 A computer, printer, and USP device for rapidly accessing digital HIV test results.
Seattle Somali Health Board Ahmed Ali $639 A laptop and scanner for keeping digital health records and accessing web materials.

The Small Change Awards are supported through private donations from people like you. You can make a gift on our website’s Small Change Award page or give through the UW Combined Fund Drive that supports more than 5,000 nonprofits in the UWCFD campaign (Charity 1481904).

Scroll down to learn about two of our awards, and read a full summary of each of our award recipients here.

Spotlight on Kisumu East District Hospital

Among our award recipients is Sally Nyaboke Mogire of Kisumu East District Hospital (KEDH) in Kisumu, Kenya. Sally is a PMTCT nurse at KEDH’s pediatric HIV care unit. This unit faces the difficult challenge of delayed time in receiving HIV DNA results. It takes about 8 weeks to get the final results, due to the difficulty of transporting results from a central laboratory located 60km away. This is especially hazardous for HIV-infected children and adolescents who need urgent antiretroviral therapy for survival and healthy outcomes. KEDH identified a need for accessing a web-based tracking tool for clinics, which can send results within 1-2 weeks. Sally requested a computer and printer to take advantage of the digital HIV result system. Global WACh is excited to partner with KEDH as they begin to provide faster, safer, and more complete care of children affected by HIV.

Spotlight on Aymba Clinic

Another small change award recipient will provide pregnant women travelling long distances with a comfortable place to wait to  deliver their babies. Genet Mequanint of the University of Gondar recognized transportation difficulties as one of the biggest detriments to women accessing the Aymba Clinic in Gondar, Ethiopia to safely deliver their babies. The Aymba clinic serves a rural, agrarian community of approximately 54,000, spread over a large area with very poor transportation. The Small Change at Aymba is beds and bedside tables to be used in the maternal waiting room for comfort and prolonged stay. This environment will improve the chance that a woman receives timely ANC services, delivers at a healthy facility, and utilizes a skilled attendant to ultimately reduce the risks of death and infection associated with childbirth. We’re proud to support this small change in helping to encourage more families to seek and receive comprehensive maternal, newborn, and child healthcare.

Pregnant mothers gather for a monthly focus group discussing ANC in the maternal waiting room at Aymba

Pregnant mothers gather for a monthly focus group discussing ANC in the maternal waiting room at Aymba

Congratulations to all!

Success for CATCH at Nairobi Innovation Week

Last week at Nairobi Innovation Week, members of the CATCH study team spent three days showcasing their innovative visions for pediatric HIV care. This was an important opportunity for the team to highlight the successes and findings of CATCH: Counseling and Testing for Children at Home.

The CATCH study accomplishes what’s in its name by “catching” children ages 12 and under who have fallen through the cracks in HIV diagnosis systems. CATCH offers parents infected with HIV the opportunity to have their children tested, both in clinics or in the home. HIV-infected children are then linked to an HIV care clinic of choice, which ensures that children can receive much needed care. CATCH has been working and gathering data since the start of 2014, with funding for seven different sites in Nairobi and one in Western Kenya.

Throughout the three-day event, CATCH presented posters, modeled pediatric test kits, and engaged visitors with their approaches and ideas about HIV testing in children. “There was a great amount of enthusiasm for the translation of research findings into policy, particularly from senior University of Nairobi visitors and local media,” said Anjuli Wagner, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Global Health and member of the study team.

Each day, members from the CATCH team, including Anjuli Wagner, Cyrus Mugo, and Verlinda Otieno spoke with over 40 individuals interested in continuing to be part of the discussion about CATCH’s work. The team also visited with nearby stands and discovered valuable new connections with other pediatric health advocates.

CATCH team members tabling at Nairobi Innovation Week

CATCH team members tabling at Nairobi Innovation Week


We’re sending CATCH our congratulations for their engagement and innovation in Nairobi!

For more information about CATCH, take a look at this animated depiction of the project.

Global WACh Family Planning Study Completes its First Day of Training

The unmet need for contraception in Kenya in the postpartum period, or months following childbirth, is high.  This unmet need contributes to poor maternal and child health outcomes, and impedes women’s empowerment.

Mobile WACh XY is a two-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing the effect of bidirectional SMS dialogue vs. control on highly effective contraceptive use at 6 months postpartum among  individual women and couple dyads in Nyanza Province, Kenya.  The study builds upon the experience of other Global WACh mHealth studies using a text messaging platform that pushes automated messages containing critical information at crucial times and allows users to respond and converse with a health professional about their individual needs.  Mobile WACh XY differentiates itself in the family planning arena by including an emphasis on male partner involvement and couple communication. Male partners need to be invited to participate in the study, given the desire to include men while continuing to promote women’s reproductive autonomy.

Mobile WACh XY team poses for a photo on their second day of training

Mobile WACh XY team poses for a photo on their second day of training

The XY team is led by Drs. Elizabeth Harrington, Jennifer Unger and John Kinuthia.  This Global WACh study team completed its first week of training in Kisumu, Kenya last week.

Over the next 6 months they will enroll 220 women in the study, and up to 220 men—depending on female participants’ preferences.  Information gathered will provide insight into the effectiveness of an mHealth strategy to help meet women’s and couples’ postpartum contraceptive needs, and have policy implications for postpartum family planning programming.

Congratulations to everyone involved!  We look forward to sharing your progress.

Global WACh Toto Bora Trial aims to reduce childhood mortality

Toto Bora-01

Toto Bora, an expression meaning “healthy baby” in Kiswahili, enrolled its first pediatric patient today in a research trial aimed at reducing childhood morbidity and mortality in the months after a hospitalization.

In sub-Saharan Africa, childhood mortality remains unacceptability high.  Children who are hospitalized and subsequently discharged are a group of children at particularly high risk, yet few interventions exist for the post-discharge period. A recent trial found that the mass drug administration of azithromycin reduced childhood mortality by half among children in Ethiopia in communities receiving the intervention.  The Toto Bora team, led by Drs. Judd Walson, MD, MPH and Patricia Pavlinac, PhD MS, believes that children being discharged from hospital represent an accessible high-risk population in which targeted use of this broad-spectrum antibiotic may have dramatic impact.

In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, children discharged from hospitals in Kisii and Homa Bay counties of Kenya are randomized to a 5-day course of azithromycin or placebo and followed for six months to determine the efficacy of azithromycin in reducing post-discharge morbidity and mortality. Stool, nasopharyngeal swabs, and blood samples are also being collated from children to evaluate the effect of the intervention on enteric and nasopharyngeal infections, malaria, the gut microbiome, and systematic inflammation. The emergence of antibiotic resistance among treated individuals and their primary caregivers will also be assessed and cost-effectiveness analyses performed to inform policy decisions.

The Toto Bora Trial began enrollment on June 28, 2016 and is estimated to be complete data collection in June 2019.   Congratulations to this Global WACh team for launching this important study to generate evidence on effective interventions to reduce childhood mortality in Kenya!

Read more about Toto Bora on the website:

The Next Big thing: Adolescent Health

You’re invited to our end of year celebration showcasing the achievements of Global WACh students, faculty, grantees, and scholars around the world.

2016 Next Big Thing_Flyer

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bruder Stapleton, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics

Other Speakers include Drs. Minnie Kibore, Meghan Moreno, Pamela Kohler and Anthony Roche.

Event Details:

Thursday, June 2nd 2016
Foege Auditorium, University of Washington
3720 15th Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98105