Global WACh

November 29, 2018

Certificate Student Fall Spotlight: Marissa Masidhas and Manahil Siddiqi

Marissa Masihdas, Second-year Doctor of Nursing Practice-Family Nurse Practitioner student
Over the summer, Marissa and fellow UW Nursing students (Morgan Busse, Jane Kim, and Yvette Rodriguez) traveled with their faculty advisor, Dr. Sarah Gimbel (Associate Professor of Global Health, and Family and Child Nursing) to the floating community of Claverito in Iquitos, Peru to support a piloted community-based health education program they developed, in which residents identify the health topics they wanted to learn about—the community chose diarrhea management and early childhood education.

Marissa (far left) with her peers from Academic Familiar de Amazonas.

“As a peri-urban floating community, Claverito is geographically and socioeconomically marginalized from the city of Iquitos, and its residents are at high risk of developing chronic and acute health problems,” Marissa explains.  Marissa and her UW team developed the Academia Familiar de Amazonas (AFA) (Spanish for “Academic Family of the Amazon”), which aims to provide culturally appropriate, family-centric education as a health promotion strategy to minimize the risk of developing diseases.  AFA builds off the community partnerships established by InterACTION Labs—a collaboration of interdisciplinary UW departments addressing many aspects of health, such as oral health, in Cleverito—and adapted Seattle Highline School District’s Graduates of Early Learning and Education Academy (GLEA) curriculum model for its pilot program.

Marissa taught weekly educational sessions tailored for adolescent girls.

Marissa had the exciting opportunity to work with local nurses and nursing students from the Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana to design, implement, and evaluate the outcomes of the health education program, which comprised of three weekly interactive educational sessions separately tailored for child, adolescent, and adult age groups.

In addition to teaching the weekly sessions, Marisa and her team conducted pre- and post-program visits to community members’ homes in order to assess the improvement in knowledge and self-efficacy in diarrhea management and early childhood educational strategies.  We are pleased to hear that the results showed demonstrated improvement!




Manahil Siddiqi, Second-year MPH Community-Oriented Public Health student
Manahil recently returned from an internship with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Department of Reproductive Health and Research in Geneva, Switzerland.  Manahil led the development and analyses of new adolescent indicators for WHO country fact sheets, designed to be a powerful advocacy tool to strengthen commitments to adolescent health in low- and middle-income countries.  She also contributed to several publications, including two WHO Guidance documents: Ethical Considerations for research on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Recommendations on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

As a part of WHO’s work on child marriage—an issue that affects 12 million girls around the world, including in her home country of Pakistan—Manahil investigated prevalence and trends in child marriage declines at sub-national levels in India.  She was involved in a systematic manuscript review of interventions aimed at supporting the health and social needs of married adolescents.

Manahil at the Girls Not Bride Global Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in June 2018.

Manahil also had an opportunity to attend in the 2nd Girls Not Brides Global Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  She presented on the progress and priorities made in child marriage research over the last five years, and met with policy makers, researchers and activists committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of ending child marriage by 2030.

“Overall, I benefited immensely from this experience.  It was inspiring to work with experts in the field.  I have a much deeper understanding of the multiple vulnerabilities girls face and how the United Nation agencies work at the country and global level to respond,” says Manahil.  From this experience, she is happy to have developed close relationships with two dedicated global health experts, Drs. Donna Denno (Professor, UW Global Health and Pediatrics; Adjunct Professor, Health Services) and Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli (WHO), whom she views as lifelong mentors.

Manahil presented on research gaps in child marriage with Dr. Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli from WHO at the Girls Not Bride Global Meeting.