Two students addressed domestic violence in Bangalore; one researched the funding of HIV/AIDS programs; another helped immigrant Latina mothers in the Twin Cities share their stories.

Supported by Winter Mann-Hill Fellowships, these students used winter break to explore career interests and to help respected organizations. The Winter Mann-Hill Fellowship fund was established in 2010 by Carter Hill, MD, ’71 and Winnie Mann, MD, ’71, and supports Macalester student research or work in the areas of medicine, health care, public health, global health or community health over winter break.

 Domestic Violence in Bangalore

Pia Mingkwan ’17 (Albany, Ca.) and Margaret Nemetz ’15 (Ann Arbor, Mich.) spent three weeks in Bangalore, India, working with the Soukhya Project at St. John’s Research Institute to address domestic violence. Soukhya trains primary health care workers and equips primary health centers to properly to screen for and prevent domestic violence.

Mingkwan, who is interested in working in public health in Southeast Asia, had worked with the Soukhya Project before. This time, “we helped plan and facilitate a workshop in which the Soukhya project invited other organizations that focus on primary health care to collaborate and brainstorm on how a domestic violence prevention effort like Soukhya, which works in urban Bangalore, could reach underserved communities in rural healthcare settings.”

 “We worked as scribes and recorded the discussions,” says Nemetz, a biology major. “The information obtained at our workshop will be the basis for their future program development in a rural setting. They are currently in communication with potential funders interested in the future program.” The two also videotaped testimonials on the effectiveness of the program.

 Analysis of HIV/AIDS Epidemiology

 Siyabonga Ndwandwe ’15 (Hluti, Swaziland) (United World College: Pearson College Davis Scholar) is an economics major who brought his skills, including database development, to the Curatio International Foundation in Tbilisi, Georgia. Combing through data from the Global Aids Response Progress reports and National Commitments and Policy Instruments reports—including reports in Spanish and Russian—he developed a database to research how changes in funding sources affect a country’s success in addressing HIV/AIDS.

 “Analyzing the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS allowed me to see it from a whole new angle,” says Ndwandwe. “In some cases, HIV/AIDS programs were increasingly funded by international donors and governments decreased their budgets in these areas. This is problematic because donor funding can be cut off at any time.” 

Ndwandwe’s fellowship cemented his interests in “multidisciplinary research and a career at the nexus of health economics, international public health, and international development.”

 Storytelling and Healing

 Sofia Halperin-Goldstein ’15 (Lexington, Mass.) developed a project that drew on her major in Hispanic studies, her minor in anthropology and her concentration in Community and Global Health.

 “I conducted an oral history project with eight immigrant Latina mothers that harnessed storytelling as a form of sanación (healing), specifically in relation to being a parent outside of one’s country of origin,” says Halperin-Goldstein. 

Halperin-Goldstein already had experience volunteering at Casa de Esperanza, a Twin Cities Latina organization dedicated to empowering communities against domestic violence. She made a video recording of each woman as she told her story. At a gathering at Macalester’s Spanish House, participants celebrated the holidays and the project, and a photographer shot family portraits. 

“Storytelling is a powerful approach to healing among immigrant Latina mothers with histories of intrafamilial violence,” says Halperin-Goldstein. “This project has meaningful implications for how mental health and medical professionals can better serve the Latina immigrant population in Minnesota.” This project will form the basis of her honors project in Hispanic studies.


March 4 2015

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