Dr. Sheryl McCurdy, associate professor at The University of Texas School of Public Health (UTSPH) in the division of health promotion and behavioral science, has received a U.S. Fulbright Scholar Flex award.
The Fulbright Scholar Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
Dr. McCurdy was awarded funding to study the process of recovery and reintegration among former heroin users in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during three periods over the next three years. The Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences will host and support McCurdy in her research responsibilities.
“With this research we hope to learn about indigenous Tanzanian approaches to harm reduction,” Dr. McCurdy said. “We want to learn about ways that Tanzanians manage to quit using heroin, and how they, along with their families and communities, negotiate new relationships during the process of recovery.”
Dr. McCurdy has devoted much of her career to research that focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and addressing the health needs of underserved communities in Africa, especially Tanzania. She earned her Master of Arts in development studies at the University of Dar es Salaam. Her MA examined the politics of childbearing in the Iringa Region in southwestern Tanzania. Her dissertation research was on the history of infertility and subfecundity and women’s associations in Kigoma, Tanzania on Lake Tanganyika. Dr. McCurdy has spent the last decade in Tanzania conducting National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded research with people who inject drugs and implementing a CDC-funded HIV prevention program with key populations. In 2015, Dr. McCurdy will also begin a new project that examines local understandings of sickle cell disease and genomics in Cameroon, Ghana, and Tanzania.