Elizabeth Larsen speaks at annual Global Health Research Symposium

The Northwestern Office for International Program Development (IPD) offers a variety of resources for students interested in pursuing research in public and global health. The 2015 Global Health Research Symposium, hosted on February 12, gave students, faculty, and Northwestern community members the opportunity to learn what students have accomplished in their research the past year.

“Requiring an international component as well as the courses [for the global health minor] has really fostered and supported independent research,” said Bill Leonard, Global Health Studies Minor Chair. “This is something that we’re looking to expand as we move forward.

Project topics ranged from barriers to completing school for girls in Uganda to the prevalence of Cesarean sections in Buenos Aires. Elizabeth Larsen, the winner of the 2014 Circumnavigators Travel-Study Grant, also presented on her research on grassroots interventions to tackle childhood malnutrition. The $9,000 grant is awarded to one Northwestern junior each year, with the stipulation that the project must take place in at least five different countries on three different continents. The main aim of her project was to find how to catalyze grassroots movements to reach larger scopes. After 10 weeks of travel, she returned with three main takeaways. First, agricultural solutions tend to be the most cost effective, sustainable, and high impact nutrition interventions. Second, younger children, especially first or second borns, systematically show better nutritional outcomes. Lastly, group education classes appear to establish social bonds that increase program impact.

The symposium brought students and professors from multiple schools within the university. The research posters demonstrated the diversity and breadth of the global health research taking place through Northwestern.

For students interested in pursuing global health research in the future, IPD has numerous funding opportunities. These grants range from $2,000 to $4,000. Additionally, the Northwestern Office of Fellowships and Undergraduate Research Grants can help in financing these projects.



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