Jensen Reckhow

Kabuwoko Village, Uganda

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Career goal: Reduce the burden of water-related infectious diseases in countries and regions where this burden remains significant.

Internship outline: Jensen’s project examined the prevalence, intensity, and responsiveness to treatment of geo-helminth infections among school-age children in Rakai District, Uganda. The goal of the research was to better characterize the disease profile in this community, as no research had yet been conducted on this topic. Providing an estimate for the burden of helminth disease as well as an idea for how best to treat these conditions may help inform future treatment programs in the area.

Value of experience: This internship was my first time organizing a research project from start to finish: I was responsible for putting together local and in-country institutional review board applications, for coordinating all resources, contacts, and protocols on the ground, and for analyzing the results obtained. I became intimately familiar with the barriers and complications that arise when conducting public health research in a resource-poor setting. I feel that I am leaving this summer with a new set of skills that I will be able to apply throughout my career when considering public health issues and research abroad.

Best moment/experience: At our last community meeting, parents stood up one by one to thank me for helping their children. I have never felt so appreciated!