Global WACh

August 6, 2019

Certificate Student Summer Spotlight: Edgar Calderon

Incoming second-year MPH and Global WACh Certificate student, Edgar Calderon, is spending his summer in Vaupés, Colombia completing his Certificate capstone project.  His project focuses on evaluating the Colombia Ministry of Health’s (MOH) gender-based violence (GBV) messaging to rural indigenous communities in Vaupés and understanding how community leaders perceive and respond to the messages.  GBV is a human rights violation and global health problem deeply rooted in gender inequalities.  Effective messages around the prevention and elimination of GBV should be meaningful, culturally relevant, and well understood by their intended audience.  There is growing recognition in research that health-related messages and materials can be more effective when they are culturally tailored and appropriate for diverse populations.

With support from the non-profit organization Sinergias and his Faculty Advisor, Dr. Jillian Pintye (Acting Assistant Professor, Global Health), Edgar is studying GBV messages on the Colombia MOH’s website and databases.  He plans to interview community leaders of indigenous communities to understand their perception of messages that reached rural areas.  Such an assessment could help MOH officials identify gaps in outreach efforts and comprehension of their GBV materials, and enable the use of tailored strategies to enhance the cultural appropriateness of their outreach for this population.

Edgar Calderon (far right) with Sinergias team members

“From working with Sinergias, I gained an understanding of the importance of building strong ties with diverse communities during the development of projects aimed to promote health and enhance social well-being.  This has been the biggest learning experience towards my professional growth,” says Edgar.  We look forward to featuring his capstone project, along with other expected graduating Certificate students, at Global WACh’s annual Next Big Thing year-end celebration in Spring 2020!