Buru completed her HPEB practicum in May 2012 at the University of Petroşani,
Romania. Karla received a Fulbright research grant to Romania for the
2011-2012 academic school year, which enhanced her MPH/MSW graduate studies.
Her research is entitled “Exploring cross-cultural social work and public
health collaborations in the Jiu Valley.” The final part of her Fulbright
grant was co-organizing an international conference entitled “International
Social Work: Working Together for Success” which was held on May 24 – 25,
2012. The conference was hosted by the University of Petroşani, Romania,
Faculty of Sciences, Socio-Human Department, Social Work Specialization in
partnership with the University of South Carolina College of Social Work and
the Eastern European Sub Regional Association of Schools of Social Work.
The conference had over 70 participants, representing six different
countries. This conference was designed to bring together people in academia
(professors, students, researchers) and professionals (practitioners,
international and national volunteers) to learn more about collaborating in
the fields of social work and public health. It facilitated cultural
exchange and promoted mutual understanding, which are necessary for any
cross-cultural collaboration to succeed. Participants learned about a
variety of topics ranging from “Volunteerism Worldwide” to “Recognizing
parallels and differences in International Social Work” to “Using Social
Media for NGO (non-governmental organization) promotion.” During the
conference, Karla held opening remarks and co-moderated a workshop on
“Public Health in Romania.” Additional activities included visits to local
NGOs and a Romanian culture night.
During Spring 2010, Purni Abeysekara completed her
practicum at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Sustainable
Branch (SMDP) (see
http://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/). Located under the Center for
Global Health, SMDP aims to strengthen health systems by improving public
health leadership and management. SMDP engages, manages, and supports health
leaders and managers in developing countries by building country capacity to
achieve health improvements, developing strong partnership and providing
strategic leadership, and advancing the science base through applied
research and evaluation. SMDP holds training of the trainer courses
(Management for International Public Health), hosts leadership forums and
conferences, and provides ongoing support for graduates in order to sustain
public health management practices.
Purni's main task while at SMDP was to help evaluate
the impact of a management training course held at the University of Ghana
School of Public Health. The training course, Improving Management for
PUblic Health Interventions (IMPHI) is based on SMDP's MIPH course and was
institutionalized at the School of Public Health by past graduates of the
MIPH course. CDC staff initially travelled to Ghana earlier this year to
conduct interviews of the first cohort of the IMPHI course for the
evaluation. Upon their return, Purni helped with listening to the
interviews, coding and analyzing these interviews, and writing the
evaluation report. Finally, Purni also created a promotional video for
potential participants of the course from the Sub-Saharan Africa Region.
Further tasks she completed at SMDP include reviewing
training curriculum in process improvement and contributing to the planning
of the 1st Leadership Forum that will be held in Atlanta in November 2010.
Mayan women rely on weaving to generate essential income for their families.
Their traditional weaving method results in beautiful cloth, but has the
disadvantage of causing back injuries, negatively impacting their health and
productivity. Research and development by Dr. Karen Piegorsch, an HPEB
alumna, has resulted in designing the Backstrap Weaver's Ergonomic Bench and
developing an educational program to help Mayan women use this technology to
improve their economic well-being and quality of life. For this work, Dr.
Piegorsch has received the prestigious
Tech Museum Award, honoring individuals globally who apply
technology to improve quality of life, and Dr. Piegorsch's ergonomics
Synergo, was named a Laureate for the Accenture Economic
Video of Synergo Invention