The Kenya Summer Research Program is an interdisciplinary program that includes many students, staff and faculty members from the School of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Pharmacy etc. The School of Dentistry joined the program in 2011. This program provide students with the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, learn how to conduct research surveys and collaborate with students from other programs at the University of Michigan. All of this is done to help the people in the rural area of Meru, Kenya.
In 2011, the School of Dentistry joined the interdisciplinary program and sent six second year dental students, an informatics technician and three faculty members to Meru. The students were led by Drs. Sunil Kapila, Yvonne Kapila and Robert Eber. During the pilot year of the program, the students were able to formulate a children’s and adult oral health survey, provide oral hygiene instructions and provide information in general health to students and adults in Meru. The research that was conducted during the pilot year set the tone for the next two years.
In 2012 and 2013, Dr. Carlos Gonzalez (2013) and additional students from UMSOD joined the program and were able to collect data from the children and adult oral health surveys and formulate a manuscript documenting the findings that were collected over the first three years of the program. This experience has provided students with the opportunity to witness first hand, the health disparities that exists worldwide and try to find a way to combat the inequalities that exists.
I’ve had the opportunity participate in 2013 and again this year, 2014. This program has left a positive impression on my life and I am excited to continue learning, growing and becoming a better researcher, clinician and overall individual!
Welcome to a week in Meru, Kenya!
Janelle Cooper is a D4 and will be sending posts throughout her trip to Kenya.