The Downs International Health Student Travel Fellowship honors Wilbur G. Downs (1913-1991), MD, MPH, professor of epidemiology and public health, renowned physician/scientist in the fields of tropical medicine and infectious diseases, mentor to many students and colleagues.
Since 1966, the Downs Fellowship has provided opportunities to more than 500 students to live, learn, work and do research in low- and middle-income countries. Many projects have led to outstanding research projects, as well as oral presentations and posters at national and international health conferences demonstrating an understanding of epidemiological, genetic, biological, clinical and social patterns in health and medicine. Surveys show that past fellows have been deeply influenced by their experiences abroad, which have helped them shape new perspectives on their responsibilities and capabilities as health professionals.
Research is carried out in the context of host countries’ culture, health problems and resources. Although students may initiate projects, Yale faculty members provide intellectual support, practical assistance and links with host-country sponsors who serve as mentors during the Fellows time abroad. The choice of research topic and methodological detail are joint responsibilities of applicants and advisors. Any member of the Yale faculty may sponsor applicants.
For the next six Thursdays (Oct. 17 - Nov. 21), there will be proposal-writing workshops that are sponsored by the Downs Committee. They are intended to provide students with a basic understanding of research methods (quantitative/qualitative study design, epidemiology and biostatistics) and ethical principles that will enable them to write, organize, and perform a research study abroad. Although this workshop is not mandatory for applicants, attendance will be taken and considered by the Down’s Committee. In addition, only students who attend 50% or greater of the workshops will be eligible for help from the instructor on their research proposals.