Career goal: Become an epidemiologist at a local health department or the CDC.
Internship outline: Erin spent her summer studying hookworm infection and drug resistance in Kintampo, Ghana. With the help of a field team, she screened 180 children from four villages for hookworm infection by collecting fecal samples from each child. She then treated those children that were infected with Albendazole, a drug that is commonly used to treat hookworm infection. Ten days following treatment, Erin collected a second fecal sample in order to observe their response to the treatment. By comparing the treatment responses across several communities where responses to the drug were very different, she hoped to better understand the factors involved in the increasing resistance to Albendazole.
Value of experience: This internship provided me with the unique opportunity to conduct research in a global health setting. I was part of a research team with two other Yale students and colleagues from the University of Ghana, and was able to see how much collaboration goes into even a brief summer project. Carrying out my own project allowed me to apply what I had learned in the classroom in all stages of research. I learned a variety of new laboratory techniques over the course of the summer and gained a better understanding of the challenges and limitations of conducting research in this setting.
Best moment/experience: I went on a trip to Mole National Park in northern Ghana with two other Yale students. We went on safari and got to see elephants, monkeys and warthogs!
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- Children in Jato gather around for waakye, a popular Ghanaian dish made with rice and beans.
- Dixon, a member of the field team from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, distributes fecal collection cups to children at one of the schools. The cups were collected from the children and processed at the Kintampo Health Research Center following collection to test for hookworm infection.
- An example of a typical home in Cheranda, a village north of Kintampo.
- Children at school in Mahama take a break from their lessons to learn a new dance, accompanied by laughter and singing.
- Erin and Sam Kaplan, YSM, ’16, with children at a primary school in Cheranda.
- Distributing a fecal collection cup to a child at her home in Jato.
- On safari in Mole National Park in northern Ghana.
- An elephant gets quite close while on safari in Mole National Park.
- The Larabanga Mosque is a popular destination just outside of Mole National Park. The mosque, which is a classic example of Sudanese architecture, is one of the oldest in West Africa.
- On a hike in Tano Sacred Grove, a protected area outside of Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana.