Global WACh

March 6, 2020

Winter Quarter Certificate Student Spotlight: Kristen Trivelli, Doctorate of Nurse Practitioner Student

Kristen Trivelli, a third-year Family Nurse Practitioner doctoral student in the School of Nursing and current Global WACh Certificate student, traveled to Zimbabwe in summer of 2018 to complete her certificate capstone on breastfeeding education.  The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the benefits associated with breastfeeding so valuable that it is the recommended feeding method for mothers and infants worldwide for the first six months of the infants’ lives.  However, current research shows exclusive breastfeeding rates are low in Zimbabwe.  With the support of the Department of Global Health’s GO-Health Fellowship, Kristen sought to understand how breastfeeding education is provided from the perspective of nurses, and how parents receive this education in Zimbabwe.  She designed and led her own qualitative study and hopes to share her findings with stakeholders to improve exclusive breastfeeding rates in the country.

Based in Chidamyo, Kristen was surrounded by a wonderful community—nurses, doctors, village health workers, Ministry of Health officials, and the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe—that exposed her to the public health programs and maternal-child health services offered in well-baby outreach clinics.  She stayed with the Sister-in-Charge of Chidamoyo Christian Hospital, a Certified Midwife Nurse and an American expat, who lent deeper insight to and understanding of the health policies and protocols Kristen observed among nurses.  Twice a week, the nurses of Chidamoyo Christian Hospital drove long distances on bumpy dirt roads to provide outreach services to rural communities that may have limited access to care.  Kristen joined the nurses and observed their provision of immunizations, family planning services, and breastfeeding education to families. The nurses’ dedication to providing quality care to communities, despite how far away they lived, truly inspired her.

Kristen sitting at a well-baby outreach clinic table with a translator.

Rural mothers and families should be targeted priority groups within breastfeeding and well-baby promotion programs. Kristen hopes her study findings may help health care professionals and policymakers in Zimbabwe to empower nurses, and to improve the quality of breastfeeding outreach education and its integration into programming specific to rural populations.

See Kristen’s capstone research-style poster, along with posters by other graduating Certificate students of the 2019-2020 academic year, at Global WACh’s “Next Big Thing” year-end event on Monday, June 1st from 4-6 PM in the UW Husky Union Building