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Public Health

Foreign Fulbright Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project

My Fulbright/Millennial Train Journey

January 16, 2017

In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we are re-posting an article from Fulbright Foreign Student from India Lakshmi Gopalakrishnan, who through the Millennial Trains Project, explored the challenges faced by South Asian immigrants in several U.S. cities. We hope that the Fulbright community is inspired by Lakshmi Gopalakrishnan’s – and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s – work in fostering positive change in their host and home communities.

Fulbright U.S. Student alumnus to India, and Millennial Trains Project founder, Patrick Dowd, (2010-2011, left), and Lakshmi Gopalakrishnan, 2012-2014, India (right), near San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge

I came to the United States from India over a year ago on a Fulbright Foreign Student Program grant to pursue a master’s in public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), the country’s oldest public university. I was given this unique opportunity not just to study public health, but to also experience all the diversity American culture and its people have to offer.

So far, my academic experience at UNC has opened my eyes to limitless possibilities. From classroom discussions, seminars, and volunteer work, to my summer practicum at IntraHealth International, each experience has further solidified my understanding and commitment to public health. Within the field, I am specializing in maternal and child health. My research interests are in program monitoring and evaluation, strengthening existing health systems, improving water quality and sanitation, and health programs for adolescent girls. Upon my return home, I plan to work for a non-governmental organization where I can design and implement programs while enhancing government health systems.

Aside from my studies, I have participated in many multicultural potlucks with other students, celebrated Halloween and Thanksgiving with American and international friends, and engaged in community health issues through a local health clinic. I feel blessed to have experienced a slice of Southern hospitality in North Carolina. My Fulbright grant has also allowed me to dispel myths surrounding Indian-Americans and South Asian immigrants in the United States.

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U.S. Fulbright

Made in Oman: Epic Travels and Stories

September 30, 2016
claire-manneh-3

Claire Manneh, 2012-2013, Oman (in green) interviewing clinicians at Royal Hospital in Muscat on their experiences using the electronic medical record system

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

Although I haven’t extensively trekked the globe like Ibn Battuta, the Medieval Berber traveler and scholar, nor can I retell stories like he did, I was indeed left speechless during my Fulbright U.S. Student grant to the Sultanate of Oman. I hadn’t come to realize how Fulbright was going to change my life until I was sitting on a one-way flight from San Francisco to Muscat.

Before that plane ride to Muscat, I was consulting with a team to transform a national healthcare system’s electronic health record (EHR) from a legacy to an updated system. The process was painful and lengthy, but the system’s executives were committed to transforming their practice. No different than the United States, Oman’s road to transforming health care delivery is happening at a rapid speed and I planned my Fulbright research to study their EHRs. After surveying and observing over 300 clinicians and patients in Oman, I found that their processes were not unfamiliar. Interoperability does not discriminate – Oman suffers from the same challenges we experience here in the United States. It was common for my study participants who had not visited the U.S. to think that Americans had easy access to health care, which patient records were transferable, and that clinicians can do sophisticated searches on a specific population within a database. The participants took comfort in knowing that a country they look up to in many ways, the U.S., was in the same boat.

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U.S. Fulbright

Program Update: New Fulbright U.S. Student Grant to Australia!

July 12, 2016
Australia_08 - Abigail Sebaly

Photo courtesy of Abigail V. Sebaly, 2008-2009, Australia

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is now offering a grant to Australia in the Creative & Performing Arts (all fields), Environment Studies and Public Health.

This award is sponsored by Western Sydney University (WSU) and will enable exceptional students from the United States to undertake research of importance to the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Australia.

To learn more about this grant and other Fulbright U.S. Student grant opportunities to Australia, please visit the Australia country summary.

 

U.S. Fulbright

Help Us, to Help You, to Help Others

August 6, 2015
Tiffany Burd

Tiffany N. Burd (second from left, middle row) at the Community Support Worker Graduation Ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa

Receiving a Fulbright U.S. Student grant fulfilled a lifelong dream of working in one of the most challenging communities in the world: a South African township. The grant allowed me to research the strengths of an extremely impoverished community with an estimated 40% HIV prevalence rate. The findings of the assessment were used to plan and implement HIV prevention programs at a local community resource center, Butterfly House, which serves 400 orphans and vulnerable children.

I conducted hundreds of interviews with people living around Butterfly House and quickly realized their strength. While interviewing a woman in her shack, I learned of her community activism efforts. She had mobilized over five hundred women to sign petitions to shut down a local pub that had been serving underage youth. A man shared his interest in nutrition and his endeavor to build a community garden. Others spoke of their participation in neighborhood watches. The list continued to grow and I left each interview knowing that each of us had shared a moment of mutual understanding of the world.

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U.S. Fulbright

Spectrums of Development: Developmental Disabilities and Mutual Understanding in China

July 3, 2013
Rachel Reetzke

Rachel Reetzke, 2011-2012, China, works with a father and son at the YangAi Parent Club for families of children with developmental disabilities

The impetus for me to begin my Fulbright U.S. Student Program application came during the summer of 2010, as a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholar. That summer, I tested my intermediate Mandarin skills by independently organizing a month-long service project at Beijing Stars and Rain Autism Education and Research Center. Through volunteer work at Stars and Rain, I was exposed to a new method of parent training, which provided insight into the diagnosis, and treatment intervention methods for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in China. Ultimately, the experience revealed to me a dire need for evidence-based practice (EBP) research in the field. I aimed to return to China as a Fulbright student to further explore and develop my place within the networks of doctors, teachers, students, and clinicians serving individuals with ASD in China.

As a Fulbrighter, I became part of an interdisciplinary research team and contributed to the validation of the Chinese Autism Diagnostic Scale (CADS). Currently, there is no autism diagnostic scale based on Chinese linguistic and cultural differences. Therefore, once published, CADS will be a vital tool for current and future diagnosis of ASD in China.

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