January 20, 2022—Over the next few months, students in the latest group of Rose Service Learning Fellows at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are launching a diverse array of field projects with focuses ranging from gender-based violence against widows in Ghana to HIV prevention among people who inject drugs in Boston.
The fellowship program, established in 2018 through a gift from Deborah Rose, SM ’75, combines peer-learning, reflective activities, and immersive work experiences. The focus is on engaging fellows as learners in the field, while emphasizing the importance—and challenges—of acting in service to others.
Fellowships are awarded at the end of the fall and spring semesters, and are open to any student or postdoctoral fellow who has completed at least a semester of coursework. To qualify, students must demonstrate that their projects meet a community-identified need, and that they will work in collaboration with local partners.
Among the current cohort of 13 students, some projects are already underway, while others have had their start dates delayed due to concerns and travel restrictions around the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Here are a few examples:
|Tanat Chinbunchorn, MPH ’22, is working with The Fenway Institute in Boston on identifying facilitators and barriers to use of PrEP—medication to prevent HIV infection—among people who inject drugs, and on improving client access to HIV prevention services through peer-led support groups.|
|Ayah Hamdan, SM ’22, is in Nebraska providing culturally sensitive training to refugee women on how to use the HERA smartphone app. This project is a pilot for her venture Fatima Connect, which leverages digital health app solutions to improve health outcomes of displaced women from around the world.|
|Christine Kendall, DrPH ’22, works with young mothers in her role as board chair at Roca, a nonprofit in Massachusetts. Her project aims to spotlight the power of motherhood as a force for good in the lives of women and their children who have suffered trauma from poverty.|
|Patience Saaka, MPH ’22, is a passionate advocate for ending gender-based violence. Through her fellowship project, she hopes to raise awareness about physically and psychologically abusive widowhood rites in Ghana by telling stories from survivors.|
Feature photo: Ayah Hamdan