We Make Inroads

We Make Inroads

This year, we will host a series of reproductive health talks. These talks are designed to expose audience members to a broad range of reproductive health topics, organizations, researchers, and projects. The first talk of the semester was facilitated by the co-conveners of Inroads. Kati LeTourneau and Katie Gillum gave an engaging presentation on their work and how individuals and organizations are combatting abortion stigma around the world. Rather than being a network of organizations, the Inroads network is comprised of individual members. Gillum and LeTourneau stressed the importance of this, because “we interact with stigma as humans and individuals first” so transforming and dismantling stigma must start on an individual level.  One of their goals is “to transform (stigma) by bringing people together who don’t often get together.” Each member brings their own expertise to the community, provides support to other members, and asks for guidance and feedback from the network. So why stigma? As Kati said, “Stigma is a barrier...
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Can we translate the multilateral strategies for cervical cancer prevention to address other global health disparities?

Can we translate the multilateral strategies for cervical cancer prevention to address other global health disparities?

Cervical cancer is an example of a glaring health disparity between wealthy and poor countries, and remains an immediate health threat to many women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Evidence-based, cost-effective protocols recommended by the World Health Organization have not been widely implemented due to limited health care infrastructure augmented by a lack of funding and political will. Although there are some unique factors contributing to the disparity in cervical cancer outcomes between high and LMICs, there are some common root causes shared across health systems: poor health care infrastructure, lack of awareness of early signs or symptoms, lack of funding prioritization within local governments, and limited operationalization of proven technologies used in high-income countries. These root causes must be addressed through both innovation and adaptation of successful interventions to fit the target community and the priorities of local governments (i.e. be both low-cost and cost-effective). To achieve this, clinicians and researchers need to partner with policy experts and...
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Where are the Women in Global Health Leadership?

Where are the Women in Global Health Leadership?

Dr. Nandini Oomman gave a riveting keynote speech at the Triangle Global Health Consortium on September 28 in Raleigh. She opened with a photo of the current European health ministers, highlighting only 9 out of 27 are women. She then flipped to a picture of only men sitting around a table deciding the fate of US health care, provocatively labeled “American Health Care: A Handmaid’s Tale in the Making?” Following that, a photo of an all-male meeting at the World Bank and WHO, which had been tweeted as an example of the exciting brainstorming sessions about the future of global health by leaders in global health. When asked where the women were, organizers said they had all left the room before that photo was taken. Dr. Oomann raised her eyebrows and said dryly that it seemed unlikely. What are the numbers of women in global health leadership? Dr. Oomann presented some stark statistics. Among the main UN agencies, professional organization, global...
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Visualizing the Risk

Visualizing the Risk

When I landed in the airport in Kisumu, Kenya, I was brought back to the day I first left Kenya for the U.S. as a young girl. Although I have returned to Kenya since then, I was overwhelmed by this particular experience as I never envisioned returning to my home country as a college student pursuing research in a field I always knew I was passionate about. From an early age, I found myself burdened by the needs and suffering of women. Women who never put themselves first so I can be where I am today. After committing to the Global Health major at Duke, I began searching for a mentor to engage in a research project with that would challenge my problem-solving abilities, and provide me with ample support to learn independently. I connected with Dr. Megan Huchko, and spent a few weeks this summer with her Cervical Cancer Screening & Prevention study based in Migori, Kenya, while also shadowing...
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Reproductive Health at Duke

Reproductive Health at Duke

When you hear the words ‘reproductive health’ what do you think of? Some may think of pregnancy, others the prevention of pregnancy. Maybe you think about the risk of HPV and cervical cancer, or the choice to decide your reproductive future. These are among the most important facets of reproductive health for both men and women. However reproductive health has much broader implications, and achieving optimal reproductive health can be challenging in many parts of the world. Pregnancy, contraception, safe motherhood, cervical cancer prevention, fertility goals, abortion, and gender-based violence are all facets of reproductive health that impact women throughout their lifespan.  Access to education and youth-friendly health services help young women navigate the transition through adolescence to educational and economic empowerment while avoiding early pregnancy and exposure to STIs and HIV.  Economic empowerment and respectful prenatal care ensure that women have a greater chance of deciding when to reproduce and doing so safely.  Strengthening and streamlining health care infrastructure through innovative...
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