Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sujal Parikh Social Justice Fellow Cat Kirk in her own words

I am a master’s student from the University of Michigan School of Public Health where I am studying Health Behavior and Health Education. My area of interest is global health with an emphasis on HIV prevention, awareness, and stigma reduction. I became interested in global health as a WorldTeach volunteer in Namibia, where I saw firsthand the devastating toll of HIV/AIDS and have been actively involved in HIV/AIDS advocacy as a chairperson of the World AIDS Week Committee at the University of Michigan. The Sujal Parikh Social Justice Fellowship is an incredible, and necessary, opportunity to gain a better understanding of the health needs of elderly villagers and particularly their perceptions of the impact HIV/AIDS has on their lives. The elderly are a frequently overlooked population in the prevention of HIV/AIDS. And I am hopeful that through researching the needs of the elderly, Uganda Village Project will be better able to meet the health needs of elderly villagers and provide HIV/AIDS prevention programs that will be appropriate for this age group. I am honored to carry out this work with Uganda Village Project in the memory of Sujal Parikh, who was an inspiration in his dedication to global health and social justice.

Cat Kirk is the first person awarded the Sujal Parikh Social Justice Fellowship; she will begin her work involving HIV/AIDS and the elderly this summer. Sujal Parikh was a medical student, AIDS researcher, and tireless advocate for global health and social justice.
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