Traveling Scholars

A number of OIH members have conducted research abroad with the support of the Stanford School of Medicine's Traveling Scholars grants.  Below is a sampling of the students who are interested in sharing their experiences and offering support for students applying for Traveling Scholars.

JoAnn Czechowicz (Traveling Scholars 2005, Women's Health Scholarly Concentration)
Title of Proposal: Preventing Malaria and Anemia in Pregnancy: A Case-Control Stud of Intermittent Preventative Treatment on Boiko Island, Equatorial Guinea
Location: Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea
I am available for advice and to answer student questions.

Jamie Colbert (Traveling Scholars 2005, Clinical Research Scholarly Concentration)
Title of Proposal:
Assessing the Role of Ultrasound to Determine Prognosis and Disease Severity in Pediatric Dengue Patients
Location: Managua, Nicaragua

Helena Horak (Traveling Scholars 2005, Biomedical Ethics and Humanities)
Title of Proposal: Analysis of Water Quality in Villages Within the East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Location: Papua New Guinea
I am available for advice, answering questions and might be able to proofread proposals by students.

Asya Agulnik (Traveling Scholars 2005, Community Health Scholarly Concentration)
Title of Proposal: Improving Management of Neonatal Jaundice In Moscow, Russia
Location: Moscow, Russia
I am available for advice, answering questions and might be able to proofread proposals by students.

Naresh Ramarajan (Traveling Scholars 2005, Community Health Scholarly Concentration)
Title of Proposal: How Reliable Is Length-Based Emergency Weight Estimation In Indian Children? Reconsidering The Broselow Tape
Location: Chennai, India

Brad Lee (Traveling Scholars 2005)
Title of Proposal: Factors Associated with Poor Follow-Up Among Galucoma Patients in South India
Location: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
I am available for answering questions and advice. Students who would like to read my proposal can contact me directly.

Other Student Experiences Abroad

Sarah Juul, Stanford Medical Student (entered 2002)
TB in Tuva, Russia

In September of 1999, after spending a summer taking a crash course in Russian at a local college and working in an airport coffee bar to save money, I left Texas for St. Petersburg, Russia. My stated intent was to document the epidemic of tuberculosis that was taking place in Russia (and continues to this day). But I also wanted a chance to see if the career I was planning for myself in international health was something I was suited for. I traveled to Russia on a program through the School for International Training and was funded by the National Security Exchange Program, a scholarship offered by the US Department of Defense.

My decision to go to Russia was somewhat arbitrary. I was originally motivated to study premed by the reports of the devastation of AIDS in Africa, but my parents were petrified by the thought of me traveling to "the dark continent." I had an interest in Russia that extended beyond TB; Shostakovich has been my favorite composer since high school and Nabokov a favorite author. Plus, Cyrillic just looks really cool. I had heard about TB in Russia while interning at the American Embassy in Copenhagen, as more than half of all cases of TB in Denmark were in newly immigrated Russians.

Once in Russia, I began by interviewing any doctor, nurse, public health worker, or anyone else who knew anything about the TB situation. I managed to convince a doctor at the regional TB hospital in St. Petersburg to act as my advisor, and we spent afternoons discussing the situation in a concocted language combining broken Russian and English. After doing background reading on TB before traveling to Russia, I stepped off the plane half expecting people to be coughing with TB at every street corner. But what I found was that the subject was rarely discussed in the press or among Russian citizens. Most people assumed that TB was only really a problem for prisoners and the homeless, and few had heard of multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB). However, the more time I spent talking to people, the more I began to realize that the disease wasn't solely confined to these groups. I learned that the boy who lived across the hall from me, in a typical middle class apartment building, had been put in a sanatorium after becoming ill with the disease.

A few months into my stay in Russia, I went on a trip to Siberia as part of my study abroad program. Coincidentally, part of our trip was to the Republic of Tuva, a small state in Russia, which happens to have the highest prevalence of TB in Russia (with the exception of the prisons). Tuva sits along the border with Mongolia in southern Siberia and is the only state in Russia where the majority of its citizens are members of the native ethnic group. Tuvinians are ethinically and culturally very similar to Mongolians. Much of the population lives in yurts on the steppes and is migratory. It was by far the most remote piece of earth I have ever traveled to, and my stay there was an absolutely amazing experience. I spent several afternoons interviewing doctors at the national TB hospital in Kyzyl, the region's capital city. Different sources had different explanations for Tuva's high TB rates; the political changes in Russia in the early 1990's and the resulting economic instability almost certainly contributed.

My trip to Russia fueled my interest in international health, which I have since pursued further. I went back to Russia during my senior year to do follow-up research for my senior thesis, which I wrote on TB in Tuva. I followed my boyfriend (now fiancé) to Japan the summer after I was in Russia and did some research with a TB institute there. After college, I got a Masters at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and I'm planning to do a Traveling Med Scholars in South Africa this fall.

So, in conclusion, go to Tuva sometime in your life. And become active in OIH! Help us make Stanford an even more internationally aware place to study medicine!

Kavita Trivedi, MD (graduated from Stanford in 2003)
Project Title: Nutritional Status of Reproductive-Aged Women of Low Socioeconomic Status inGujarat, INDIA: Analysis and Practical Interventions

Faculty advisor: Dr. Usha Chitkara, Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Community advisor: Dr. Leela Trivedi, Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Pramukhswami Medical College, Karamsad, Gujarat, India

This study was conducted in partnership with the Amdavad Women's Action Group (AWAG), which serves socioeconomically disadvantaged women in Amdavad, Gujarat, India. Utilizing an action research protocol applied to nutrition interventions in Africa (The "Triple A" cyclic process of assessment, analysis and action), this study sought to yield information that will enable AWAG to institute long-term change in nutritional knowledge and practice within its community.


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