Faculty Mentor Awards 2020

June 30, 2020

The Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility is pleased to announce that the following faculty members have been awarded a Faculty Mentor Award for the 2020 funding cycle.

MENTORS
Julio Alvarez, DVM, PhD & Andres Perez, DVM, PhD

COLLEGE
College of Veterinary Medicine
PROJECT
Relevant Information on Bovine Tuberculosis Impact in Public Health: A Scoping Review

Within the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, multiple coexisting projects are being developed for funding to support the World Health Organization on the “end of Tuberculosis strategy”, which proposes a 90% reduction by 2035 in TB incidence rate compared with 2015, and Zero TB-affected families facing catastrophic costs due to TB by 2035.

The CGHSR Faculty Mentor Award will be used to support three veterinary students to perform a scoping review during summer 2020. The proposed project will be the first stage in reviewing literature towards the understanding of available knowledge on bovine tuberculosis impact in public health in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). This initial step will lead to the development of a secondary comprehensive and systematic review on the epidemiological quantification of the interaction between bovine tuberculosis and human populations’ project (prevalence and transmission rates among animals and humans).

 

MENTOR
Silvia Balbo, PhD

COLLEGE
School of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Sciences

INTERNATIONAL PARTNER OR SITE
University of Stavanger, Norway
PROJECT
Identification and Characterization of DNA Adducts as Biomarkers of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Contamination of Atlantic Cod Exposed to Crude Oil

The goal of this project is to characterize the DNA damage resulting from the exposure of Atlantic cod to crude oil and use these results to identify the specific chemicals causing this damage, in order to develop tools that can be used for the biomonitoring of marine and aquatic areas at risk for PAHs contamination. The effects of PAHs on the environment and human health has been the focus of the research conducted at the Pampanin Lab at the University of Stavanger in Norway. This unique international opportunity will allow the student to deepen his skills and knowledge in two labs with complementary research techniques and approaches, and to enrich his interpersonal and interprofessional abilities, by experiencing conducting research in two different countries. While providing a terrific experience for the student, this will also solidify and strengthen the foundations of the collaboration between my lab and a leading research group in the field of environmental toxicology.

 

MENTOR
Rahel Ghebre, MD, MPH and Lisa Bazzett-Matabele, MD

COLLEGE
Medical School

INTERNATIONAL PARTNER OR SITE
University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
PROJECT
A Comparison of Treatment Strategies for HIV-Related Vulvar Dysplasia and Cancer in Middle Income and Low Income Countries of Sub-Saharan Africa

Our objective is to identify the most effective management strategy for HIV-related vulvar dysplasia in low resource settings. We aim to compare middle income (Botswana) and low-income (Malawi) countries’ experiences in SSA with management of HIV-related vulvar dysplasia and assess capacity for treatment of vulvar cancer. Data collection will be performed on management strategies and treatment outcomes will be compared. This project aligns with the ongoing work to develop collaboration between University of Minnesota and University of Botswana. Long term goal of the project is to develop cohort studies among HIV and HPV associated cancers. The mentors will oversee a fellow from the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship program at the University of Minnesota. The goals will be to establish a relationship with the University of Botswana and Malawi, obtain IRB approval for data collection, and start data collection at this site.

 

MENTOR
Jason Kerwin, PhD

COLLEGE
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

INTERNATIONAL PARTNER OR SITE
Zomba, Malawi
PROJECT
Appointments Versus Commitments: Overcoming Self-Control Problems in Preventive Health

The aim of this project is to investigate ways of increasing the number of high-risk men that get tested for HIV. In particular, we assess the impact of two interventions aimed at reducing procrastination and thereby overcome the problem of continuously putting off HIV testing: appointments and financial commitment devices. We randomly assigned about 1,200 high-risk men recruited from bars in Zomba to either HIV testing appointments, financial commitment devices, a combination of the two, or a control group. Afterwards, working in conjunction with all local clinics, we recorded what share of each group visited an HIV testing clinic. 

The PhD student working on this project, Natalia Ordaz Reynoso, was heavily involved in the field work during summer 2019; she helped train enumerators and worked with partners to implement the intervention. She will devote her RA role to analysis and manuscript preparation during the summer of 2020.

 

MENTOR
Jonathan Kirsch, MD and Dra. Lyda Osorio, MD, PhD

COLLEGE
Medical School

INTERNATIONAL PARTNER OR SITE
Department of Health of Valle de Cauca, Cali, Colombia

 

PROJECT
Point of Care Ultrasound in Dengue Fever

The research team has been performing a prospective trial studying the use of point of care ultrasound (POCUS) to detect early warning signs of severe disease in patients infected with dengue virus. The project was initially funded by a CGHSR Seed Grant which was vital to the success of this project. The project has had lasting engagement with the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia by supporting numerous student research assistants (med students and fellows), faculty exchange from both institutions. To build on this bilateral research and educational collaboration, this award will support Juan David Diaz, a Masters student in the Epidemiology program from Universidad del Valle to perform data analysis and contribute to research dissemination, including presenting their research findings.

MENTOR
Jennifer Rickard, MD, MPH

COLLEGE
Medical School

INTERNATIONAL PARTNER OR SITE
Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda
PROJECT
Implementation and Analysis of an Operative Database at Mulago Hospital

In 2019, Dr. Rickard mentored a Fogarty Global Health Fellow to develop an operative database at Mulago Hospital. The aim of the database is to collect specialty-specific variables and outcomes for patients undergoing a wide range of operations. The database will be used to monitor quality and quantity of surgical care in Uganda. The operative database has been set up and implemented. We are currently in the data collection process. In the next year, we anticipate having sufficient data captured to begin analyzing data.

This award will be used to recruit a Makerere University student or resident to assist with data collection, data management and analysis during the coming year. This student will have the opportunity to use the data to write an abstract and present study results at either the Uganda Surgical Society Annual General Meeting or the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) annual general meeting in Zambia in December 2020, with the opportunity for the student to further develop a manuscript for publication.

 

Faculty Mentor Awards

Faculty Mentor Award Program

The Faculty Mentor Award aims to encourage UMN researchers to involve students in their global health research projects by providing up to $5,000 to defray costs associated with incorporating a student researcher into their team.