Fellowship Site: Public Health Research Institute of India
U.S. Institution: Florida International University
The objective of the study is to evaluate perceptions about the social support available when addressing physical and mental health concerns. Specifically, the study addresses changes in support networks for women with HIV.
Given the high incidence of HIV in Southern India, the increased stigma among women with HIV, and unique uses of support at varying stages of the lifespan, the population of interest is defined as southern Indian young adult (ages 18-40) women.
The proposed study seeks to identify:
a) Women’s perceptions of what support is available to them.
b) Utilization of formal and informal social networks as a tool for coping with health concerns.
c) Factors influencing their usages or rejection of social networks identified.
This study will recruit a total of 300 young adult female to complete a survey through two sites; the Public Health Research Institute (PHRI) and the Ananda Jyothi Positive Network. Approximately 60 (30 HIV+ and 30 non-HIV) of those women will be invited to participate in a Focus Group Discussion (FGD).
Elena Cyrus, M.P.H., Ph.D.
Fellowship site: IMPACTA, Lima, Peru
Mentoring US institution: Florida International University and Yale University
Research interest: HIV Risk behavior among transgenders in Lima, Peru
During her doctoral training at FIU, Elena worked at an NCMHD Center of Excellence mentored by Drs. Mary Jo Trepka and Mario De La Rosa. Her dissertation focused on social capital, HIV risk behavior and substance-use among Latino immigrants. She worked with FHI360 on microbicide trials and completed the University of Michigan Population Fellowship at EngenderHealth/Ghana. Elena published, and presented at conferences including: Caribbean Health Research Scientific Council, Triangulating on Health Equity in the Caribbean, American Public Health Association, and Coalition for Advancing Multipurpose Innovations. She aims to become a global health researcher on sexual risk behavior and women’s health.
Elena will spend her fellowship year at la Asociación Civil Impacta Salud y Educación (IMPACTA) in Lima, under the mentorship of Purnima Madhivanan, MD, MPH and Frederick Altice, MD, MA. Her research will focus on secondary data analysis on a longitudinal survey specifically on sexual risk behavior among transgender individuals in Lima.
Home Institution: Florida International University
Fellowship Site: KEMRI/CDC, Kisumu, Kenya
Research Topic: Maternal and child health disparities between rural and urban areas of Kenya
Shirali Pandya, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Fellowship Site: Public Health Research Institute of India, Mysore India
US Institution: Florida International University
Project Title: Characterization of the Vaginal Microbiome and the Molecular Basis of Bacterial Vaginosis
Shirali spent her fellowship year at the Public Health Research Institute of India (PHRII) in Mysore under the mentorship of Dr. Purnima Madhivanan. Her research focused on the etiology and molecular basis of bacterial vaginosis, a prevalent condition with ramifications for maternal and neonatal health. During her fellowship year, she also implemented molecular methods to characterize the vaginal microflora of reproductive-aged women in Mysore.
The project had 3 main aims:
- To use culture-independent molecular techniques to more comprehensively describe the vaginal microbiome in a population of healthy and unhealthy women in Mysore, India. This will be the first time such techniques are used to characterize the vaginal microbiome in India.
- To explore the hypothesis that lactobacillus bacteriophage are an important etiological agent in bacterial vaginosis.
- To diagnose and treat low-income women in Mysore for bacterial vaginosis and other sexually transmitted infections.
Shirali earned her PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from UC Berkeley and also holds an MPH in Global Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her career interests lie in directly applying her training in the biological sciences to advance understanding of sexually transmitted diseases and women’s health problems.