||The BOTUSA Project
October 2002 - March 2003
of site institution (3-4 words):
public health research
a language requirement? If so, state language:
Public community healthresearch
- Please describe your activities while abroad (eg, seeing
patients, clinical research, public health project, etc.):
I supervised a tuberculosis screening project at a refugee
camp in northern Botswana. We administered a questionnaire
asking about demographics, risk factors, and symptoms, and
collected sputum for AFB smears from symptomatic refugees.
My job was to coordinate the efforts of various research
nurses, lab techs, and translators, as well as data collection
- Please describe the range of activities available,
in addition to yours:
BOTUSA is a joint project of the US Centers for Disease
Control and the Botswana Ministry of Health. They offer
a fellowship for upper-level med students to work in their
TB research division. Students are assigned to a research
project based on what is under way at the time they arrive.
Most projects are in Botswana's capital or its second largest
- Would you recommend this institution to other Penn
medical students? Why?
Yes--this was a great opportunity to get experience doing
international public health research. The program gives
students a lot of autonomy. Also a good exposure to what
it's like to work for a government agency. But to me the
best thing was not the institution but the experience of
living in Botswana.
- What did you not like?
Much of my time was spent in a remote area with no access
to a car--got lonely and isolated at times. As a foreigner
assigned to supervise a team of local staff, I had to deal
with a good bit of mistrust. Also, autonomy had a flip side--there
were times when I could have used some guidance and didn't
get it. (But this was all part of the experience and I learned
- Is there an application process for this institution?
How does one arrange a visit? Are there important dates
to know about?
For application info go to http://www.amsa.org/global/ih/botusa.cfm
However, the person they tell you to contact just left.
Email me for updated contact info.
- What costs were associated with the trip, other than
transportation. Please include institutional fees, housing
costs, food, etc.:
Food (less than $500 over 6 months) and personal travel.
- Did you receive funding for this trip? If so, from
whom and for how much? Please provide important information,
such as contacts, application procedure, and due dates:
BOTUSA pays for airfare to Botswana and housing while
you're there, but not food. I got a small grant from Frontline
Medicine to help cover food.
- Would you agree to be contacted by other students interested
in this site? If so, please give your name and contact information:
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