We are excited to partner with Duke University’s Student Research Training (SRT) Program this summer. The SRT Program is part of Duke Global Health Institute and this program specifically is an opportunity for undergraduate students to engage in community-based projects around the world. Other program locations include Guatemala, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda.

The four students chosen to partner with FHM this summer arrived on Sunday, June 1st.  The Duke SRT Program students are Zach Morrow, Garland Austin, Elle Gault, and Lily Zerihun. They will be here for eight weeks conducting surveys throughout the Leogane community. One survey relates to chronic hypertension and the other to cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine. Each day the students will split into two teams. One team will go door to door throughout the community and survey individuals at their homes. The survey includes basic health questions and focuses particularly on hypertension and risk factors and behaviors that may cause high blood pressure. Because published literature on the issue of hypertension in Haiti is limited, these survey results will be a helpful source of information as FHM seeks to better understand the problem of hypertension in this area and develop ideas for education and treatment options. The team will also be taking each participant’s blood pressure and Doppler readings and will refer them (if necessary) to a nearby clinic, Klinik Lasante, which specializes in the treatment of hypertension.

The other team will be based at Klinik Lasante. As patients and their families are waiting at the clinic, they will be offered the opportunity to participate in the survey. This survey will focus on the individual’s current knowledge of cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine, which can prevent cervical cancer. It will also help predict the acceptability of the vaccine should it become available in their area. In the U.S., we know cervical cancer to be curable. Unfortunately the statistic is much more grim in the developing world as there are less resources available for early detection and limited options for treatment. In Haiti, cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women. This survey will help FHM continue to learn more about the community’s understanding of cervical cancer and how to help implement HPV vaccination.

Both teams will be assisted by a translator who will work with them all summer. We are happy to have two great translators working with us this summer, Berlyne and Rodney, who I’ll introduce you to in a future blog post.

Not only is this a wonderful opportunity for FHM to gather more research about these two important topics, but we trust this will be a fulfilling opportunity for each of the students to live and work here in Haiti. This is the first time in Haiti for all of them and they are eager to learn more about the people, culture, and language. Twice a week they’ll have Creole classes to help them personally converse with the locals. We will also give them the opportunity to see more of Haiti on the weekends, whether hanging out at the beach or exploring other towns. Make sure to keep up with FHM’s Facebook page for the latest photos and updates!