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Student Fellows Program Spring 2021 Research Projects

Below is a list of the proposed 14 research projects for GHI Spring 2021 Student Fellows. Please note that all projects will be conducted remotely unless stated otherwise. Any in-person work is subject to university's operating guidelines. 

More information about the program and how to apply is available on the GHI Student Fellows Program page.

Opportunities for Undergraduate, Graduate Students, Law, and Medical Students

For this section, please take a closer look at who can apply for each project.

Faculty mentor: Indira Narayanan, Adjunct Professor, Pediatrics/Neonatology, Georgetown University Medical Center

Project: The GUMC_Ghana blended learning program includes an international distance-learning program on improving quality of newborn care using video-conferencing (ZOOM) and WhatsApp. It has two components: (a) a clinical component including case discussion and supportive technical elements in newborn care and (b) quality improvement/ quality of Care elements. The help required will not only provide support to our team but will be a great learning experience for students to deal with practical real-life issues in global health. It includes (a) attending zoom sessions with care providers in Ghana and documenting meeting notes related to quality improvement/ quality of care elements; and (b) Maintaining data and helping in analysis. The students will be taught the procedures. This project will provide practical experience in facilitating improved quality of care in real life situations under challenging circumstances.

Who can apply: Undergraduate and Graduate Students, Medical Students

Skills Required: While we would value having a student fellow interested in data/statistics and ideally skilled in using SPSS, these skills are not essential, as we will train the student fellow. We only need their interest and commitment to the project.

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Faculty Mentor: Jishnu Das, Professor, School of Foreign Service and McCourt School of Public Policy

Project: I require help to put together material on key facts in global health, based on new research on health systems and quality of care from around the world. I am looking for a student fellow who is (a) interested in learning more about how health systems function on the ground, (b) well versed in producing visualizations and narrative material, and (c) interested in the intersection of research and dissemination. The student fellow will work with a great team, and have access to multiple data sources through the project. I would expect considerable back-and-forth as we work through each of the key findings and explore ways to bring these out for a general audience through text and visualizations.

Who can apply: Undergraduate Junior/Senior, Graduate, Medical Students

Skills Required: Previous courses on global health. Ability to visualize data. Good writer. Programming in STATA or R is a plus, but not required.

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Faculty Mentor: Katharine Donato, Donald G Herzberg Professor of International Migration, and Director, Institute for the Study of International Migration

Project: I am part of a large project that examines the health and environmental drivers of migration in Bangladesh. We have collected data from residents in 4,000 households. The data include a number of health indicators, including height and weight measures of all persons in households. I seek to work with a student fellow to analyze how migration affects the health and well-being of persons in these Bangladeshi households. I am especially interested in community-level differences in BMI given the environmental stressors faced by households in some communities, such as high levels of salinity and arsenic in drinking water sources.

Who can apply: Undergraduate Junior/Senior, Graduate, Medical Students

Skills Required: Data analysis skills, including experience using STATA, R or other stat packages.

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Faculty Mentor: Leticia Bode, Associate Professor, Communication Culture and Technology

Project: I'm currently writing a book about health misinformation on social media around the world - why it exists, how it spreads, and especially how to correct it. Right now I'm working mainly on data collection and collecting relevant literature, both of which I would love to work with a GHI fellow on.

Who can apply: Undergraduate and Graduate Students, Law, Medical Students

Skills Required: Critical thinking, attention to detail, some experience with archives, data scraping, or spreadsheets would be great.

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Faculty Mentor: Claire Standley, Center for Global Health Science and Security, GUMC

Project: Acute febrile illness (AFI) consists of a group of illnesses characterized by the rapid onset of fever and may include related symptoms like headache, chills, and joint pain. Many of the pathogens that cause AFI are difficult to diagnose. This is especially true in countries where a malaria diagnosis is often presumed and no further testing is performed, a situation that creates vulnerability to unexpected outbreaks. While substantial efforts have been made to strengthen diagnostic laboratories in countries vulnerable to emerging infectious diseases, these efforts are often conducted via vertical disease control efforts, providing diagnostic support for single pathogens, or a limited group of pathogens, thus perpetuating the challenge of accurate detection of the full spectrum of pathogens that may be responsible for AFI. Multiplex diagnostic approaches, which test for multiple pathogens or groups of pathogens at one time, hold substantial promise in expanding detection potential for AFI agents, but vary substantially in method, diagnostic accuracy, and technological platform.

We (Dr. Claire Standley and Dr. Ellen Carlin, both in CGHSS) are seeking a GHI fellow to conduct a systematic review of multiplex diagnostic approaches for AFI, in order to identify gaps and make recommendations regarding the optimal application of such approaches in high-risk settings. This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to what we expect will develop into a manuscript for peer-reviewed publication. The skills involved with conducting a systematic review and analysis, and writing up the findings, are highly transferrable across biomedical and life sciences disciplines, so constitute valuable training experience.

Who can apply: Undergraduate Junior/Senior, Graduate, Medical

Skills Required: The student would ideally have some experience with conducting systematic reviews, although we can provide instruction and guidance in this methodology if needed. Familiarity or direct experience with molecular diagnostic methods (conventional PCR, RT-PCR, next generation sequencing, and/or serological techniques) would be an advantage, as would be any past experience with infectious disease control or laboratory systems in the Global South (particularly sub-Saharan Africa). Strong written communication skills, and the ability to work independently, will be critical.

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Faculty Mentor: Emily Mendenhall, Provost's Distinguished Associate Professor, SFS

Project: I will be writing a book about the cultural and political features of America's failed coronavirus response and the cultural dissonance and political squabbles that emerged from the experience with and response to minimal public health recommendations at the local level. I need someone who can do some archival digging into the Iowa Board of Public Health and potentially help with qualitative data analysis.

Who can apply: Undergraduate and Graduate Students, Medical Students

Skills Required: Qualitative data analysis. Archival skills (if possible). Strong writing. Experience working with policy analysis (or interested in learning).

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Faculty Mentor: Pinaki Panigrahi, MD,PhD,FIDSA; Professor, GU Medical Center, Dept of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatal Perinatal medicine

Project: There is epidemiologic, laboratory, and clinical trial evidence (including our own large trial of synbiotics published in Nature, PMID 28813414) supporting positive effects of diet and fermented food on health. We want to expand from local to global communities and examine the impact of pre/probiotics and diet in driving a healthy immune response that prevents infections spanning from diarrhea to sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis and COVID-19. Gut flora needs to be studied in the context of specific bacterial, viral, or parasitic diseases(s) to discern underlying mechanisms. Such information can then be translated into targeted therapy or preventative modalities to be used worldwide. The work can begin by examining disease incidence in various geographic locations and their dietary habits followed by laboratory research and examination of microbiota and immune response.

Who can apply: Undergraduate Junior/Senior, Graduate, Medical Students

Skills Required: Biostatistics, microbiology, global health and policy

Work Environment: Combination of remote and in-person work

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Faculty Mentor: Paul D Roepe, Professor, College and GUMC

Project: This project is on antimalarial drug resistance and drug discovery.

Who can apply: Undergraduate Junior/Senior, Graduate, Medical

Skills Required: Science background.

Work Environment: Combination of remote and in-person work

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Faculty Mentor: Joan Lombardi, Senior Scholar, Center for Child and Human Development

Project: This project will be to conduct research and writing on the impact of various contemporary issues effecting the development of young children and families around the world. This can include impact of COVID, climate change, migration and other emerging issues. This project will allow the student fellow to gain exposure to the latest reports and international organizations working on children's issues.

Who can apply: Undergraduate Junior/Senior, Graduate Students

Skills Required: Synthesis of research, analysis and excellent writing skills. Interest in global children's issues.

Opportunities for only Graduate and/or Medical and/or Law Students

For this section, please take a closer look at who can apply for each project.

Faculty Mentor: Rosemary Sokas, MD, MOH, Professor of Human Science NHS and of Family Medicine SOM

Project: We will be building collaboration with the National Public Health Institute of Liberia and Liberian educational institutions to evaluate occupational health respiratory protections and to evaluate a training program in healthcare worker respiratory protection.

Who can apply: Graduate and Medical Students

Skills Required: Data management and statistical analysis

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Faculty Mentor: Deus Bazira, Associate Professor and Co-Director Center for Global Health Practice and Impact, GUMC

Project: GU CGHPI under my leadership is implementing a CDC funded project in 4 countries focusing on ending and the HIV epidemic in Cameroon, Haiti, Eswatini and Tanzania. I would like a graduate student to work with me on assessing outcomes of patients who receive services through different models of HIV care in Cameroon. The student will work with me to analyze the data and prepare reports, manuscripts and other program documents as a result of this work. I am happy to discuss with interested students details about the project. Please reach out at db1432@georgetown.edu

Who can apply: Graduate Students

Skills Required: Statistical analysis and excellent writing skills

Work Environment: Combination of remote and in-person work

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Faculty Mentor: Andrés Constantin, Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center

Project: Governments’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have had an impact on the exercise of religion. Some of these governmental interventions have faced legal challenges from faith communities who considered them to be an excessive use of emergency powers. This project seeks to discuss the legal and constitutional implications for the right to manifest religion or belief and examine the extent to which these limits or restrictions on religious freedom are permissible in a pandemic context. Specifically, the project will look at the impact of lockdown restrictions on the practice of religion, as well as governments’ attempts to accommodate them. The overall goal of this project is to assess how religious freedom is protected when it clashes with the right to health in the United States. In particular, the project will focus on the role of courts in using religious freedom as a tool to overturn policies that are intended to protect the public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This project seeks to answer questions related to the counter majoritarian role of judges; the extent to which efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic have had an impact on religious freedom; and whether religious freedom should supersede the protection of other rights, even during a pandemic. To that end, a GHI Fellow will engage in a legal analysis of policies adopted to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, as well as courts’ decisions at the federal and state level, dealing with these issues. For further reading on the type of issues/questions this project is going to deal with, please take a look at this NYT article.

Who can apply: Graduate and Law Students

Skills Required: Legal research. Critical thinking.

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Faculty Mentor: Wu Zeng, Associate Professor, School of Nursing & Health Studies

Project: This project is to estimate the disease burden associated with zinc deficiency on chronic diseases. The student will work with the faculty to conduct systematic reviews of the effect of zinc deficiency on risk factors that affect the occurrence of chronic diseases, and perform meta-analyses based on identified articles.

Who can apply: Graduate Students

Skills Required: Systematic review, Literature review.

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Faculty MentorLawrence Gostin, University Professor, Law Center

Project: The fellow would contribute to two projects: 1) Professor Gostin is developing a second edition of Global Health Law, a book first published in 2014 that defined the field of global health law and has served as the leading reference on the subject. The second edition will be a major revision, with numerous new chapters and updates to chapters in the first edition to bring the book up to date. The fellow will provide research support for this second edition and may have an opportunity to directly contribute to drafting material for the book. 2) Professor Gostin has been a leading voice on a law and policy response to COVID-19 that respects human rights and advances public health. With COVID-19 remaining a national and global crisis, the fellow is likely to have the opportunity to provide research and potentially writing support to COVID-19 articles and possibly other projects.

Who can apply: Law Students

Skills Required: Strong research and writing skills will be important, along with an interest in global health issues and the potential of law to address them, equity and justice, and COVID-19.