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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Students conduct research in India, Thailand, and Tanzania

Connell News


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (May 2014)

Three students will take their nursing studies to another level this summer, when they travel to Asia and Africa on advanced study grants. Each has designed her own research project, which she will conduct while abroad.

Sarah DiGirolamo ’16 will intern in Tamil Nadu, India with GlobeMed, a non-profit organization that aims to strengthen the movement for global health equity by empowering students and communities to work together to improve the health of people living around the world.

DiGirolamo said while in India, she will analyze the relationship between culture, sanitation, and disease in the region. As she prepares for a career in global health, DiGirolamo said she will supplement her nursing education by critically analyzing the relationship between culture, sanitation, and disease in the Siruvani region of India; comparing the different types of toilets that can be implemented in the area, while thoroughly grasping the toilet’s impact on sanitation and health; and also monitoring and evaluating the spread of cholera and diarrheal diseases with the help of local health facilities.

“Nurses are able to give a unique perspective on providing care globally and, as a result, can help shape policies about providing care,” DiGirolamo said in her proposal, “Additionally, they play an important role in directly administering care, providing health education, and carrying out nursing research through their work with global health organizations.”

DiGirolamo said she hopes to better understand foundations like Chinmaya Organization of Rural Development (CORD), and the role that nurses play.

“It is important for nurses to address and analyze this issue of poor sanitation and observe both preventative and direct care measures nurses should take,” said DiGirolamo.

Jue Luo ’16 will intern in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to research quality health care in a developing country, through a shadowing experience at a hospital, and will also conduct research into drug rehabilitation through Buddhism.

Luo said her goals are to gain first-hand clinical experience and learn from Thailand’s advanced health care system; immerse herself into local culture characterized by ethnic and religious diversity; and to research the role Buddhism plays in relieving an epidemic of drug abuse.

“Going to Chiang Mai will be a precious opportunity for me to continue inquiring into those human rights, social justice issues and carrying forward BC’s Jesuit ideal,” Luo wrote in her proposal.

Luo said the hospitals have alternative medicine departments like traditional Thai massage and acupuncture, which are techniques that she would like to learn more about while in Thailand.

“I want to explore an addiction treatment program offered in certain Thai temples,” said Luo, “I've heard wonderful things about that program.”

Also during her stay in the city, Luo said she plans to take the opportunity to visit some of the ancient Buddhist Temples.

Taylor Shannon ’15 will intern through the Work the World program and split her time between a tertiary referral hospital, a government regional hospital, and a village primary clinic in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for six weeks.

“Nursing chose me to positively impact mankind,” said Shannon.

Shannon said working as a nurse in Tanzania will give her the privilege of serving and learning from patients, as well as provide a foundation for her aspiring career as a nurse working in global health care.

Shannon plans to focus on the epidemiology and treatment of infectious disease while comparing the differences in resources between the three hospital placements.

“Overall, I hope to be able to practice my clinical skills, learn from my nursing supervisors, and understand more about the culture and language of Dar es Salaam,” said Shannon.



-- O. Angela Bowser, Communications Specialist