Global WACh

July 18, 2018

Congratulations to Global WACh Certificate Students, Class of 2018

This year, Global WACh graduated its largest class ever of Certificate Program students. Nine students from the Schools of Nursing, Public Administration, Public Health, and Social Work presented their capstone project posters at the “Next Big Thing” annual year-end celebration in May at the UW HUB Lyceum.

Students strike a pose at Global WACh’s Next Big Thing event.

The students’ poster presentations marked the end of their academic journeys in the program.  As students completed coursework and attended monthly meetings, they received mentorship, a foundation of knowledge and skills, and hands-on practical experience in the field of global health related to women, adolescents, and children.  Each student also completed a capstone project on a topic related to woman, adolescent, and child health and created a poster to highlight the outcome of their work.  Through their capstone work, students made invaluable contributions to ongoing projects at Global WACh, local health organizations, and institutions around the world.

We wish them the best in their future endeavors and look forward to seeing how they serve as leaders in global woman, adolescent, and child health!  Read more about the students’ capstone projects below.

Alyssa Bosold, MPH, Maternal Child Health Track

“Assessing contraceptive discontinuation to inform design of a mobile health survey in Kenya”

Alyssa conducted preliminary research for Dr. Alison Drake’s Mobile Data Collection of Contraceptive Use, Behaviors, and Experiences (mCUBE) study, which aims to learn more about contraception discontinuation behaviors among women through short SMS surveys.  Alyssa reviewed existing data related to contraceptive satisfaction, discontinuation, initiation, and method switching.  Major reasons included negative side effects reported by women, such as irregular bleeding, headaches, cramping, vaginal discharge, and discomfort during sexual intercourse to name a few.  Women also reported forgetting to use contraceptives or feeling too inconvenienced by the method to take them (specific to pills and condoms); concern about effectiveness and their partner’s disapproval.  Alyssa’s findings helped informed the design of mCUBE’s SMS survey questions.

Yilin Chen, MPH, Global Health Track

“A cost analysis of Mobile WACh X study in Kenya”

Yilin estimated incremental costs associated with one-way and two-way SMS interventions in Dr. Jennifer Unger’s Mobile WACh X study, which evaluates an interactive human-computer hybrid SMS intervention to encourage pregnant women to continue antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Kenya.  ART can reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT).  Through a combination of interviews with health facility staff at two sites (in an urban and rural setting) and analysis of expense report data, Yilin found the average cost of the intervention per patient ranged between $29 and $45. Due to higher patient numbers, costs were cheaper in the urban health center compared to the rural center.  Yilin’s results showed that a larger share of total costs relates to system development and communication factors, such as internet costs and mobile phone minutes.  This suggests that as the Mobile WACh X model scales up, there are opportunities to lower the costs.

Chantal Donahue, MPH, Global Health Track

“Multi-level correlates influencing provider deviations from established pediatric treatment and guidelines: A systematic review and meta-analysis”

The global research network, Childhood Acute Illness and Nutrition Network (CHAIN), led by Dr. Judd Walson as the UW Site Principal Investigator, learned through household surveys conducted in 39 countries that many acutely ill children aren’t provided with evidence-based interventions when they arrive at health care facilities.  Chantal teamed up with the UW CHAIN staff to screen over 2,800 abstracts and narrow down 57 eligible publications to lay the context for writing a new manuscript.  The literature review aimed to identify factors that influence provider behaviors and how far the behavior strays from pediatric care guidelines.  Chantal helped identify 18 correlating factors, with provider training, perceived disease severity, and patient age emerging as the most commonly studied.  This summer, Chantal is hired as a research assistant to help complete the review, which will help the team conduct a meta-analysis (a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies) to write a manuscript for publication.

Christina DuJardin, MSW, MPH, Global Health Track

“Human trafficking in Washington State: A demographic landscape”

As a dual Public Health and Social Work graduate student, Christina viewed a global issue through a local lens.  The International Labour Organization estimates that nearly 21 million people are trapped in forced labor and forced sexual exploitation.  WA State is considered an ideal location for human trafficking due to its shared international border with Canada, abundant seaports, rural areas, and economic centers.  Christina collected national and state data to create a demographic landscape.  She found 163 human trafficking cases reported in 10 counties across WA State, with more cases likely unreported.  Christina’s finding suggests the need for a single reporting system to better collect data, and inform strategies to intervene and prevent human trafficking practices on a local and global scale.

Sheldon Halsted, MPH, Global Health Track

“Situational analysis of infant feeding and religious fasting in North Gondar, Ethiopia”

As a Strengthening Care and Opportunities in Partnership in Ethiopia (SCOPE) Fellow last Fall, Sheldon explored the intersection between infant breastfeeding and religious fasting.  Religious fasting is an integral component of the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition, with over 200 fasting days per year, which poses a risk for poor health implications for mother and baby.  From a combination of literature reviews on religious practices related to breastfeeding, research on the Ethiopian infant feeding guidelines, and interviews with religious leaders and health care workers, Sheldon concluded that an intervention that advises pregnant and lactating women to change their fasting practices is not feasible.  Instead, the intervention could focus on the importance of a nutritional diet while fasting.

Elizabeth Karman, MPH, Global Health Track

“Teaching and Assessing Communication and Interpersonal Skills for Health Care Workers: A Video Analysis and Literature Review”

In Kenya, adolescents and young adults often report poor provider-patient interaction as a barrier to HIV care linkage and retention. The Simulated Patient Encounters to promote Early Detection (SPEED) study, led by Dr. Pamela Kohler, used a novel video-recorded standardized patient training intervention to improve communication skills and quality of care by using actors to portray young patients living with HIV.  Elizabeth reviewed the simulated videos and conducted literature review to identify other existing relevant assessment tools.  She compiled a list describing 23 commonly used tools to address the assessment gap.  Her findings included frequent mismatch between skills taught and skills assessed, and that many communication skills measured were not correlated with desired outcomes (such as increased patient satisfaction or perception of empathy).  There were no tools for communication and interpersonal skills specifically for the unique challenges (i.e. cultural differences, health system capacity, and provider training curriculum) in low-to-middle income countries.  Elizabeth shared several strong recommendations that can help SPEED and other studies improve patient-provider communication.  For example, if a health system is using an existing assessment tool, consider the level of validity and standardization for reliability, and use the tool in an appropriate context.

Wamaitha Kiarie, MPA, and Kellie List, MPA

“PATH Self-injection of DMPA-SC in Uganda: Evaluating best practices for introduction and scale-up”

Wamaitha and Kellie teamed up to assist PATH’s Self-Injections Best Practices project, which focuses on how a self-injection contraception (called DMPA-SC) model can scale up nationally in Uganda.  The project previously conducted five evaluation phases of self-injection best practices.  Based on the evaluation results, Wamaitha and Kellie offered suggestions on how to best design and effectively implement self-injection programs through various family planning service delivery channels.  Their suggestions included identifying partner organizations as stakeholders and involving them in the program planning and design, offering additional time to train health educators and providers about DMPA-SC, and including feedback from adolescents (who are a primary targeted population for this program) regarding the user-face design.

Carlie Sulpizio, MPH

“Surveillance of Zika-related microcephaly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia”

For six months, Carlie served as an intern at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, where she assisted the surveillance of Zika-related health complications in Sub-saharan Africa and Asia.  Her capstone projected explored whether Zika is responsible for a neurological complication, microcephaly.  Carlie developed a manual to offer researchers an overview of the global incidence of microcephaly, and a description of the clinical, laboratory, and imaging characteristics of infants with Zika-related microcephaly.  She also translated REDCap survey questionnaires from English to French, in which the Pasteur Institute planned to conduct at several health facilities this summer.