University of Minnesota School of Public Health PhD student Ms. Kimberly Bonner has received a grant to conduct vaccination research in Uganda through support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fogarty Fellowship program.
[Photo: Ms. Kimberly Bonner]
“I am interested in vaccines and barriers to vaccination in low-resource settings,” said Ms. Bonner. “Vaccination is a critical element in preventing disease and death, and it can protect both individuals and their communities.”
Ms. Bonner will use the grant to undertake two studies in Uganda: one on how students in medical professions weigh factors in vaccination decision-making, and the second on the barriers to HPV vaccination for adolescent girls who have dropped out of school.
“My hope is that the first study can be used to tailor medical education curricula to enable medical professionals to become stronger advocates for vaccination,” said Ms. Bonner. “The second study could help identify opportunities to improve overall vaccination coverage for girls who have dropped out of school in Uganda.”
Ms. Bonner said she believes she received the grant in large part due to the mentoring she receives from vaccine researcher and School of Public Health assistant professor, Dr. Nicole Basta.
“Kim’s commitment to improving outcomes in global health is outstanding,” said Dr. Basta. “She has demonstrated a keen ability to design ambitious projects and to work collaboratively with multiple partners to implement them. Her experience ranges from the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone to her research with my group here on HPV vaccine uptake among underserved adolescent girls in Uganda. Kim’s grant proposal reflects her ability to think critically about how best to address key problems facing vulnerable populations and I’m excited to work with her on this research.”
Ms. Bonner plans to use her research in Uganda as the core of her upcoming doctoral dissertation, which she hopes to complete by 2020.