During the 2015-2016 academic year, Muriel Harris, PhD, associate professor, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS), is using the critical thinking approach to teach students in Ghana how to solve public health issues facing the African country. Among the greatest concerns are the impact of low literacy rates, high risk behaviors, poverty, unequal gender relations, communicable diseases including Malaria, and unhealthy environments.
As a recipient of a prestigious Fulbright grant, Harris is teaching courses in health promotion theory, and developing public health curricula at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, School of Public Health. She says the focus of the health sector goes beyond the traditional medical model of care with a stronger emphais on health promotion. Harris plans to explore the use of mobile technology as an intervention for improving maternal and child health outcomes, and hopes to help develop health promotion policies and programs, along with their evaluation.
“One of our school’s priorities is to establish a global health presence,” said SPHIS Dean Craig Blakely, PhD, MPH. “This prestigious Fulbright Scholar award gives Muriel the ability to extend our expertise beyond the United States borders and impact public health globally. I am excited about Muriel’s vision, capacity to successfully compete for such a competitive award, and connections in several African countries to establish a project where she will be successful at improving conditions in which people can be healthy.”
“This Fulbright award has provided me an amazing opportunity to build the future public health workforce in Ghana,” Harris said. “It is my deepest hope that the students at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology will learn from my nearly 30 years of public health experience in the United States, Liberia and Sierra Leone. My personal goals are to develop skills in teaching cross-culturally, interact with global public health professionals, and strengthen my ties to Ghana.”
Over the past five years, Harris has taken groups of UofL students to Ghana for three-week educational trips. She plans to coordinate a visit for SPHIS students and alumni in Spring 2016.
Harris’ Fulbright grant ends in June 2016.