Student Projects

The Community for Global Health Equity aims to advance the research and education of students from all levels and disciplines at UB through international fieldwork. Our students learn from UB faculty, international partners, and one another while producing relevant and sustainable global health research. 

Building Inclusive Environments

Much like a disease, misinformation can spread quickly throughout communities. Public health officials need to know that they are meeting the needs of communities so as to ensure population-level health and wellbeing. 
Access to sanitation (sewage disposal and clean drinking water) is essential to human dignity, health and well-being, yet 2 billion people lack access to sanitation facilities. Poor sanitation is estimated to cause half a million deaths each year due to diarrhea.
The water systems of India’s Deccan Plateau are structures that date back hundreds of years. Because monsoon season delivers more than ¾ of India’s total annual rainfall, communities have historically used the systems to preserve seasonal water for use during the dry season.
There is significant data regarding Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) at different levels from various organizations, but data regarding inclusive WaSH is scarce. The winning team of the 2016 Global Innovation Challenge, Team Veritas, aims to develop strategies that motivate key actors to prioritize inclusive WaSH in schools, in turn, promoting the education of all children, irrespective of gender, age, or ability (inclusive education).

Cultivating Food Equity

Haiti’s economy is highly dependent on agricultural products produced by smallholder farms. These farms have suffered major setbacks with recent natural disasters, extreme weather events, and limited access to technology and government support.
Small-holder farms provide at least 50% of the agricultural output for domestic consumption in most low- and middle-income countries. Yet, they bear the brunt of food insecurity that is amplified by multiple challenges including limited access to capital, markets, land, information/training, and technology, political stressors, gender inequities, and more recently climate change. 
Many communities in rural India experience water shortages, partially due to unsustainable agricultural practices. 
Northern Ghana, a semi-arid region with rainfall occurring only 4 to 5 months in a year, has a long dry-season that renders farmers unemployed for 7-8 months in a year. This contributes to widespread poverty in the region - approximately 80% of people in N. Ghana live below the poverty line. The unemployment situation in rural communities motivates farmers to migrate seasonally to urban centers in the south to seek meager jobs to supplement their income. The return on investment is often insubstantial.

Ensuring Refugee Health

South Sudan, the world’s newest country, has experienced international and domestic conflicts since its secession from the Republic of Sudan in 2011. Fighting beginning in early July 2016 forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee to Kenya, Sudan, and other regions within South Sudan, but primarily Uganda. The number of refugees entering Uganda increased from averages of about 200 per day the first half of the year to thousands per day starting in July, including more than 8,000 on July 21. Throughout September 2016, an average of 2,829 South Sudanese refugees crossed into Uganda each day; during a similar period, refugee settlements in the Adjumani region saw an influx of nearly 1,000 refugees per day. It is now the world’s largest refugee resettlement area. As of the end of 2016, Uganda hosted more than 600,000 refugees from South Sudan alone, adding to refugees in recent decades fleeing violence and other insecurities from Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other countries.

Students spent a transformative week developing and refining ideas to address a specific global health issue.


Nurturing the Global Child

A “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”, the UN Sustainable Development Goals call for, among many things, clean water and sanitation for all (goal #6) and an end to hunger (goal #2) by 2030. African countries have also committed to implement the African Union Agenda 2063, a vision and plan to build a more prosperous Africa in 50 years. Yet natural disasters and recurrent droughts are compromising the efforts of many countries throughout the continent. In rural Zimbabwe, over 70% of children live in abject poverty and 5.5 million people are facing starvation. Economic and political instability have exacerbated a food crisis in a country where nearly 90% of infants experience malnutrition, especially stunted growth.
Community Service Alliance (CSA), a nonprofit organization located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic responds to key development challenges in the community and provides educational opportunities and resources. CSA programs include child and maternal health education, medical outreach, nutrition workshops, life skills workshops, and the Alerta Joven Youth Leadership Program.
In Malawi, a landlocked country in southeast Africa, 70% of children are stunted. They suffer impaired growth and development from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. 

Illuminating the Effects of the Exposome

Since 2009, Dr. Katarzyna Kordas and research partners from the Catholic University of Uruguay have investigated childhood exposures to multiple metals in Montevideo, Uruguay. Data from their Salud Ambiental Montevideo (SAM) study has informed researchers as to how low-level metals, when present in a “mixture”, influence the development of children. 

Cross-cutting Work

Over the past fifty years, the major cause of mortality and disability in Jamaica has shifted from communicable and infectious disease to chronic, non-communicable disease
According to the World Health Organization, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are two of the top prevalent non-communicable diseases affecting people worldwide[1].
Traditional homes in the rural village of Devgain, Jharkhand, India are constructed using local, natural resources which are extracted at no cost to families. This is critical, for the majority of families are engaged in subsistence farming. This form of housing, which is constructed with mud walls, responds effectively to the hot, temperate climate in regards to indoor environment. However, these homes face issues of water penetration and erosion which lead to frequent, time-consuming, and labor intensive maintenance which can cause greater issues if neglected.
In April 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. The earthquake left 9,000 people dead, injured over 21,000 people, and left millions homeless. 
Global health is an exciting and vibrant field of research and practice. The University at Buffalo provides many different educational forums for students to examine the meaning of global health, aid, and governance.
The annual Global Innovation Challenge is a competition and course open to all undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and nontraditional students focused on developing solutions to some of the major, unsolved global health challenges around the world. For one week, participants engage in team-building and creative problem-solving activities with international experts and UB faculty.