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June 27, 2006

Fulbright Awards Go to Bloomberg School Students and Grad

September 25 Deadline for 2007 Applications

Two doctoral candidates at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a master of public health student and a graduate of the master of health science program received Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships for the 2006-07 academic year. 

Award recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 by Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas to build mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and citizens of other countries.


Rachel Haws at the Mercato
open-air market in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Rachel Haws, a PhD-candidate in International Health, will study pregnancy losses in Zanzibar, Tanzania, a setting with high fertility and child mortality rates. She plans to interview 60 women who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or early neonatal death to gain an understanding of their feelings about the losses and the reactions of their spouses, relatives and neighbors. 

Haws hopes her findings will highlight the neglected but often preventable problem of stillbirths in developing countries and contribute to the development of more culturally sensitive demographic instruments to measure perinatal mortality.

“Above all,” Haws says, “I hope to advocate for women who have reproductive difficulties, that they might benefit from improved access to quality antenatal, obstetric and postnatal care.”


Nabil Ahmed in
Rajhastan, India

Nabil Ahmed, an MPH-candidate, will travel to Bangladesh to investigate the lack of sexual health education programs for adolescent boys. With women accounting for 97 percent of the teaching staff of reproductive health programs in Bangladesh, very few boys take part in such programs because of strong cultural resistance to discussions of sexual topics between men and women.

“This gap in education among boys is a missed opportunity which could be key to ensuring a better state of public health in Bangladesh,” says Ahmed, noting that male adolescents are more likely than girls to have multiple sex partners and visit commercial sex workers.

Through surveys and interviews, Ahmed plans to explore male attitudes toward teaching reproductive health and identify barriers to men entering the field. His hope is that Bangladesh health officials can use the research to develop strategies aimed at recruiting more male educators for reproductive health programs.

Devaki Keralagarb

Devaki Nambiar in
traditional Indian dress

Devaki Nambiar, a PhD-candidate in Health, Behavior and Society, will conduct  research in New Delhi on the effectiveness of a multimedia campaign to reduce stigma against HIV-positive women. The campaign, to be launched by a human rights education organization, will include a music video, radio spots, posters and a youth peer education program in cities across India.

Nambiar plans to assess the association between consumers’ exposure to the anti-stigma campaign and changes in attitudes towards HIV-positive women. She will also develop a methodology for studying stigma in relation to public health, “a key component of ethical research globally,” says Nambiar.

Stephanie Oppenheimer, who earned a master of health science degree in May, will undertake a project in Niger to investigate the social reintegration process of women who have had obstetric fistula repair surgery. Obstetric fistula, a condition estimated to affect 2 million women in developing countries, is caused by prolonged and obstructed labor during childbirth and results in chronic incontinence for the mother.


Stephanie Oppenheimer
in Mauritania

Women who suffer from obstetric fistula are frequently treated as outcasts and live in poverty and isolation, although the condition is treatable with surgery. Oppenheimer plans to explore the cultural and social aspects of returning to society for women who undergo the surgery. In addition, she will develop recommendations to address needs identified by the study.

The Fulbright Program, America's flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The 2007 application deadline is September 25, 2006. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit, or contact Cassie Klein, campus Fulbright Program advisor, at or 410-955-3257. --Jackie Powder