Yoonhee Patricia Ha, MSc, MPhil

Associate Scholar

  •  MD-PhD Candidate | University of Pennsylvania
  •  Ghana | Botswana
  •   Public Health | Technology in Low Resource Settings

Languages: English (native)

Bio statement

Yoonhee P. Ha, MSc, MPhil, is an MD-PhD candidate in the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics. She completed her undergraduate studies at The Ohio State University and graduate studies at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Her research interests include public health in resource-limited settings, behavioral insights, and technology.

Recent global health projects

Tuberculosis (TB) contact tracing is typically conducted in resource-limited settings with paper forms, but this approach may be limited by inefficiencies in data collection, storage, and retrieval and poor data quality. In Botswana, we developed, piloted, and evaluated a mobile health (mHealth) approach to TB contact tracing that replaced the paper form-based approach for a period of six months. For both approaches, we compared the time required to complete TB contact tracing and the quality of data collected. For the mHealth approach, we also administered the Computer System Usability Questionnaire to 2 health care workers who used the new approach, and we identified and addressed operational considerations for implementation. Compared to the paper form-based approach, the mHealth approach reduced the median time required to complete TB contact tracing and improved data quality. The mHealth approach also had favorable overall rating, system usefulness, information quality, and interface quality scores on the Computer System Usability Questionnaire. Overall, the mHealth approach to TB contact tracing improved on the paper form-based approach used in Botswana. This new approach may similarly benefit TB contact tracing efforts in other resource-limited settings.

To date, no studies have examined the effect of socioeconomic deprivation on antepartum and intrapartum stillbirths in the poorest women in low income countries. We conducted a study that used data from a prospective population based surveillance system involving all women of childbearing age and their babies in rural Ghana. The primary objective was to evaluate associations between household wealth and risk of antepartum and intrapartum stillbirth. The secondary objective was to assess whether any differences in risk were mediated by utilisation of health services during pregnancy. Data were analysed using multivariable logistic regression. Random effect models adjusted for clustering of women who delivered more than one infant. The study found no association between wealth and antepartum stillbirths. There was a marked 'dose response' of increasing risk of intrapartum stillbirth with increasing levels of socioeconomic deprivation. Women in the poorest two quintiles had greater risk of intrapartum stillbirth compared to the richest women. Adjusting for heath service utilisation and other variables did not alter results.The conclusion was that poor women had a high risk of intrapartum stillbirth and this risk was not influenced by health service utilisation. Health system strengthening is required to meet the needs of poor women in our study population.


Selected publications

Ha YP, Tesfalul MA, Littman-Quinn R, Antwi C, Green RS, Mapila TO, Bellamy SL, Ncube RT, Mugisha K, Ho-Foster AR, Luberti AA, Holmes JH, Steenhoff AP, Kovarik CL (2016). Evaluation of a mobile health approach to tuberculosis contact tracing in Botswana. J Health Commun. 2016 Oct; 21(10):1115-21. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2016.1222035. Epub 2016 Sep 26.

Clement RC, Ha YP, Clagett B, Holt GE, Dormans JP (2013). What is the current status of global health activities and opportunities in US orthopaedic residency programs? Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013 Nov; 471(11):3689-98. doi: 10.1007/s11999-013-3184-3. Epub 2013 Jul 27.

Ha YP, Hurt LS, Tawiah-Agyemang C, Kirkwood BR, Edmond KM (2012). Effect of socioeconomic deprivation and health service utilisation on antepartum and intrapartum stillbirth: population cohort study from rural Ghana. PLoS One. 2012; 7(7):e39050. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039050. Epub 2012 Jul 13.