Emory School of Nursing doctoral candidates awarded prestigious international fellowship

By Andy Goodell | Woodruff Health Sciences Center | May 3, 2019

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Two Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing doctoral program candidates have earned the Vanderbilt-Emory-Cornell-Duke (VECD) Fogarty Global Health Program for Fellows and Scholars Award. Fekadu Aga, MSN, and Rosemary Kinuthia, DNP, MPH, FNP-C (17DNP) will have their globally-conscious projects funded through this fellowship award beginning on July 1, 2019.

VECD is one of six consortia that comprise the Fogarty Global Health Program for Fellows and Scholars. This program provides mentored global health research training opportunities in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) for pre- and post-doctoral candidates from the U.S. and these fellows’ home nations. In the 10 years that Emory has participated in this program, 46 fellows have conducted fellowships at Emory partner institutions in LMIC countries.

“Both Fekadu’s and Rosemary’s VECD projects aim to improve the lives of vulnerable and often marginalized populations,” says Rebecca Gary, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, Emory-Addis Ababa University PhD program coordinator. “I could not be more proud of them for receiving this fellowship award. They are examples of what this international, collaborative program is all about - developing a cadre of nurse scientists that can focus research on health problems that are important in LMICs.”

Kinuthia’s dissertation, “The Impact of Human Resources for Health on HIV Outcomes in Kenya,” will take her back to her home country of Kenya to tackle important issues related to human resources. There, she will be mentored by Dr. Martha Rogers. Kinuthia is highly interested in reducing disparities and health inequities, increasing access to care and improving health outcomes among people living with HIV. Kinuthia says that her passion for health services research stems from noticing that a majority of the research in her areas of interest focused on social and bio behavioral aspects, with few studies taking on health system needs.

She chose her current project due to a gap in research addressing human resources for health needs in LMICs with a high HIV burden. Through her research, Kinuthia hopes to facilitate capacity-building of health systems, alleviate health workforce burden and improve HIV health outcomes of populations in underserved regions. Kinuthia is anticipated to complete her PhD in 2021.

Aga will be the first Ethiopian student to complete a PhD in nursing through the international collaboration established between Emory and Addis Ababa University (AAU) schools of nursing, which was established in 2015. There are currently 11 PhD students who are enrolled in the program. Aga continues to serve on the AAU nursing faculty and came to Emory University last summer for a four-week intensive writing program geared toward completing his dissertation. His postdoctoral fellowship project is entitled, “Improving Self-Care Behaviors and Outcomes in Type 2 Diabetes Patients with and without Comorbid Heart Failure.” He will complete his PhD in the spring of this year.

He was inspired to do this project due to the gap in research concerning self-care for persons with type 2 diabetes and comorbid heart failure, which is common in Ethiopia and other LMICs. Aga wants to improve health outcomes and prevent or delay the development or progression of heart failure in persons with type 2 diabetes through the implementation of a novel self-care intervention in resource-limited settings.