Learning to tackle global health challenges

This summer, I’ve had the wonderful experience of working with Baylor Global Initiatives as their project intern. Most of my experience with global health has been from an anthropological point of view, so when starting this internship, I was excited to see it from a more biological perspective.

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Alex Kramer at the 2017 Global Health Hackathon.

I was given the opportunity to work on integrating dialysis treatment into the Smart Pod. The pod is a storage container turned makeshift hospital that can be shipped to other areas of the world in times of an emergency. Incorporating dialysis into this system would provide treatment for acute kidney failure that may occur due to an epidemic.

While researching dialysis, I began pulling together ideas on what treatments would be best for varying environments, as well as what unique supplies were needed to perform them.

I visited a dialysis clinic with Dr. Sreedhar Mandayam, a nephrologist with Baylor, where he described machinery and the importance of ultra-sterilized water in the dialysis process. I gave a presentation regarding what I learned about dialysis and all of its aspects, as well as how we could incorporate it into the pod, and the potential costs. I was even able to create a blueprint of a possible set up by going to the original pod on campus to examine what would need to be changed for the incorporation.

One of my favorite experiences of the summer was volunteering at the Global Health Hackathon. People from all over the world who are interested in global health came together for two weeks at this event. They were given problems affecting certain parts of the globe as well as potential solutions that needed to be created.

I was blown away by the inventiveness and dedication these people had in wanting to aid our world. I was able to see progress the teams made, watching their final presentations in awe. I was inspired to hopefully come back in the future and participate in the hackathon myself!

This internship was my entrance into the world of global health, and I was moved by the creativity that exists in this field.  I am proud to have been able to contribute to a future project at Baylor Global Initiatives that could be crucial in improving the health of others around the world.

-By Alex Kramer, junior at Washington University and project intern with Baylor Global Initiatives

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