In a recent blog post, Ana Langer, Director of the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) at the Women and Health Initiative (W&HI) at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), explained that the MHTF partners have been “virtually unanimous in calling for more educational opportunities for those interested in maternal health”.
The W&HI and the MHTF are meeting this call to provide more educational opportunities in a number of different ways—including scholarships for maternal health professionals in developing countries to attend scientific and technical meetings, a reiteration of the Young Champions for Maternal Health fellowship program, and the Field Experience in Maternal Health winter session course for graduate students at the Harvard School of Public Health.
The concept of the Field Experience in Maternal Health winter session course is to link highly trained and motivated HSPH graduate students with MHTF partner organizations working in developing countries–creating a “win-win” situation. Based on the needs of the organizations and the skills of the students, students are paired with organizations to spend three weeks working on a focused project during the January winter session. The course provides students with an opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge to maternal health issues in countries facing complex maternal health challenges. Examples of student projects include collecting data, conducting site visits and interviews, completing a needs assessment, developing a draft proposal or report, or launching a new activity or service. As a result of this collaboration, the partner organization projects are strengthened and a young professional gains important experience working in the field of maternal health.
The first cohort of Harvard School of Public Health Field Experience in Maternal Health winter session students has just completed their field assignments. See below for a list of their placement countries and host organizations!
- Dada Adedayo and Olalekan Akanbi were placed in India with The Center for Development and Population Activities.
- Annie Kearns was placed in India with the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization.
- Aparna Chandrasekhar was placed in Ethiopia with IntraHealth International, Inc.
- Megan Loucks was placed in Kenya with Jacaranda Health.
- Elena Chopyak was placed in Mali with Medic Mobile.
- Hannah Ratcliffe, Ibraheem Abioye, and Maura Fulton were placed with the Population Council in their Bangladesh, Ghana, and Kenya offices.
To learn more about the students’ work at their various project sites, check back soon! Over the next couple of weeks, the students will be sharing photos, stories, and lessons from their field assignments here on the MHTF Blog.
If you are a graduate student at Harvard School of Public Health and are interested in applying for the Field Experience in Maternal Health winter session next year, visit the Women and Health Initiative site in August 2012 for information on how and when to apply. You can also subscribe to the MHTF Blog and we will be sure to update you. (Just enter your email address in the right panel and click subscribe!)