Available GHREAT Mentors

Available GHREAT Mentors

Shadi Lahham MD, MS

Assistant Clinical Professor, Emergency Medicine; Director of Emergency Ultrasound 

Advisor: Chris Fox, MD

Counties: Switzerland, Tanzania and Panama

The use of point of care ultrasound (POCUS) in clinical medicine and rural healthcare has exploded over the past decade. Increasingly, health care workers are using POCUS to identify, treat and manage medical conditions in locations where patients have little access to health care. Few studies have evaluated the role(s) of medical students as educators and clinicians in rural environments. The goal of our research is to evaluate the use of POCUS in the hands of minimally trained students working in rural environments. Our research team aids in the creation and submission of IRB protocols that are site specific. We provide hands-on training for groups of medical students looking to evaluate POCUS in rural environments. Our team provides additional one-on-one POCUS training for all medical students interested in rural ultrasound. Medical students will be involved in teaching international physicians, residents, medical students and nurses the basics of POCUS. A pretest and posttest is taken by the participants and graded. Results of these tests is analyzed to determine retention and knowledge that is gained from POCUS teaching. 

Daniel Parker, PhD

Assistan Professor, Public Health

Research in my group is focused on the spatial epidemiology of infectious diseases and generally includes the use of spatial data, demography, anthropology, and disease ecology. Ongoing projects incorporate global positioning systems, demographic surveys, and epidemiological surveillance systems in order to collect detailed data which are then analyzed using spatial statistics and cartography. One overarching theme in this work is the role of human travel patterns on the dispersal of diseases across landscapes, on the space-time occurrence of diseases, and on access to healthcare services. The goal of most of this work is to propose relevant public health interventions for disrupting transmission. There are several ongoing projects in Thailand and occasionally in other nations of the Greater Mekong Subregion. Most work in my research group is heavily quantitative and computational. Potential students would be expected to have relevant training in statistics, be familiar with GIS software, and to develop their own related research topic (with guidance). Cross-cultural competency is absolutely crucial for any international work and only highly motivated and enthusiastic students will be considered. Travel costs would depend on the details of the research topic.

Further information can be found at: http://www.parkerlabgroup.com/

William Tang, PhD

Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Title: Rhythm and music-augmented physical therapies for people with Parkinson's disease.
Description: It has been shown that musical therapy improves neuronal connectivity of healthy persons and clinical symptoms of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and depression.
Despite the plethora of publications that have reported the positive effects of music interventions, little is known about how music improves neuronal activity and connectivity in afflicted patients. In this research, we will study the neurological changes in patients with Parkinson's disease before and after physical therapies augmented with music with strong rhythms. Daily training regimens with 35-minute session for 4 consecutive weeks will be administered to patients with stage 1 or 2 Parkinson's disease. Patients will be divided into three groups: (1) listen to the rhythmic music while sitting quietly, (2) walk on a treadmill with predefined speed, and (3) walk on a treadmill while listening to rhythmic music, pacing in synchrony with the beats. Brain activations with functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy(fNIR) and EEG will be recorded at baseline (before trainings), post-training, and 4 weeks after trainings are concluded (retention). These data will be compared to gait velocity, cadence, and stride length as well as the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) that will also be recorded during those three time points. Data analyses will be performed at UCI after the trip. The hypotheses this research is aiming at: (1) the effectiveness of physical therapy for patients with Parkinson's disease is enhanced by augmenting with auditory stimuli with rhythmic music more than physical therapy alone or listening to music alone. (2) The improvement is quantifiable with standard UPDRS and correlated with neuronal activations as measured with fNIR and EEG. 
Location: The data collection will be performed at the First Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, Dalian, Liaoling Provence, China, for a duration of 9 weeks. The retention tests can be done by the local collaborators if the students cannot stay for the full 9-week duration, which will reduce the time to 5 weeks.
Estimated cost: round-trip airfare ~$1200, lodging for 5 weeks ~ $2,000 (or
$3.600 for 9 weeks), daily meals and misc expenses ~$800 (or $1,440 for 9
weeks) ==> total for 5 weeks = $4,000 or for 9 weeks = $6,240.

Krisnansu Terwari, MD

Professor & Interim Division Director, Obstetrics & Gynecology; School of Medicine 

Countries: Tanzania or Zambia  

Cervical cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-associated mortality in women. Globally there are 500,000 new cases and 250,000 needless deaths each year. Because industrialized nations have the economic infrastructure to support cervical cancer screening programs through Papanicoloau testing (with and without high risk human papillomavirus testing) and prevention programs through HPV vaccination, incidence and mortality rates due to this disease have been on the decline for decades. Accordingly, developing countries such as those in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and southeast Asia (including India) have the highest disease burden. East Africa, particularly, continues to be ravaged relentlessly with thousands of relatively young women dying each year from cervical cancer. Through UC Irvine's Institute for Translational and Clinical Science and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, medical students have a unique opportunity to travel to East African nations including Tanzania and Zambia to assist in cervical cancer screening and prevention workshops on an annual basis. In addition to providing much-needed clinical support to the women of these countries, UC Irvine's Institutional Review Board and our partner medical ministries in East Africa have approved the following research objectives: 1. Collection of de-identified epidemiological data (including risk factors for cervical cancer that may be unique to the region) on women that participate in these screening workshops;2. Identification of the critical building blocks required to encourage patient follow-up/compliance with successive screening.; 3. Determination of the feasibility of on-the-ground training of health care providers living in Africa to sustain cervical cancer screening year-round (eg., every 3-4 months, not only during the annual UC Irvine workshop); 4. Impact of HPV vaccination in those regions in East Africa where it is being provided (eg., 14 year old females in the Mwanza district of Tanzania were offered vaccination beginning in April 2018); 5. Incidence/mortality rates and trends over time in areas where screening workshops are taking place; 6. Prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus infection and impact of antiretroviral treatment on cervical cancer screening among women participating in the workshops;7. Cost analyses in Tanzanian shillings and tracking with trends in Tanzanian Gross National Product and average annual income in a Tanzanian household. Participation in the cervical cancer screening workshop will require travel to East Africa and five to six days of immersion into the program. Upon return to the U.S. students will be expected to devote three hours to one of the objectives above to prepare an abstract for presentation at a scientific meeting, travel for abstract presentation. Ultimately a manuscript for each objective should be generated and that will require a minimum of an additional 20 hours. The entire process may take one year, and not every objective listed above is expected to generate reportable data every single year.

Kristina Uban, PhD

Assistant Professor, Public Health, Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research (IISBR)

Developing Brains Laboratory, and utilizes multi-modal neuroimaging and salivary biosciences to non-invasively examine brain-hormone relationships in children and adolescents with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Uban collaborates with CHLA, UCLA and the University of Cape Town (UCT) to study the development of brain, hormone and mental health outcomes in adolescents (8-12 yrs old), whose mothers participated in the PASS birth cohort in Cape Town to provide detailed data on substance use throughout pregnancy 
Expected commitment of GHREAT trainees in the Developing Brains Labincludes: 1) year 1, completion of 1 salivary bioscience and 1 statistical analysis (R) course; 2) year 2, travel to Cape Town, South Africa for 3 weeks to assist Dr. Uban and UCT researchers in all aspects of research (neuroimaging & salivary biosciences) with children/adolescents affected by prenatal alcohol exposure; 3) years 3+, present independent research findings at 1 local and 1 national/international conference and submit research findings for publication. Upon acceptance, Dr. Uban will cover extra tuition fees and publication expenses. The GHREAT trainee is expected to apply for travel awards to cover all other costs. If awards have been sufficiently applied to but are not awarded, Dr. Uban will cover flight/travel to 2 conferences plus to Cape Town, South Africa, but the trainee will be expected to cover all other costs (e.g., accommodations, meals etc.
(~$2,500+ for other costs). Trainees not able to cover any financial aspect should still apply.

Guiyun Yan, PhD

Professor, Public Health

Malaria is a major public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. The East African highlands (1,500m above sea level) were either free of malaria or had very low incidences; however, since late 1980s malaria epidemics have frequently occurred in some highland areas. We examine the mechanisms leading to the resurgence of malaria in African high-elevation areas, including climate, land use, topography and antimalarial drug resistance in the Plasmodium parasites. We found that deforestation and swamp reclamation affect microclimatic and nutritional conditions of larval habitats, increase the survivorship of malaria vectors at larval and adult stages, shorten the development time of malaria parasites, and significantly increase mosquito vectorial capacity. We are developing models to predict the spread of malaria infections in an epidemic, and evaluating new malaria vector control methods for outdoor transmission control.  More details about the location and cost will be made available soon.