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A Global Perspective

Emily Lipton (back left), Wayne Lawrence (back right) and Dr. Shao Lin (front row, second from left) in Guangdong, China.

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 3, 2017) – Summer break has started, but student research has not stopped – at least for Emily Lipton and Wayne Lawrence.

Graduate students in UAlbany’s School of Public Health, Emily and Wayne were selected to participate as visiting scholars in Guangdong, China this summer. They are spending ten weeks examining different aspects of human health research.

Emily, who is earning her master’s degree in public health (MPH), is at the Guangdong Cardiovascular Institute, identifying environmental risk factors that contribute to the high prevalence of congenital heart defects and other adverse cardiovascular birth outcomes. Wayne, a DrPH in epidemiology candidate, is at Sun Yat-sen University’s School of Public Health, investigating the effects of air pollution on adverse cardiovascular health, mental health, and birth outcomes.

“My experience thus far has already been memorable,” Wayne said. “I just had the opportunity to meet and discuss my research with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deputy director. Though I’ve been in Guangdong for only a few weeks, I can already say this has been a rewarding opportunity both academically and culturally.”

The opportunity has been just as rewarding for Emily.

“I believe it is so important to be submersed in another culture and to witness firsthand how their work is being conducted,” Emily said. “At this point in the summer, I have learned more than I thought was previously possible and have been given valuable opportunities that I will carry with me throughout the course of my career.”

Graduate student Wayne Lawrence.

Wayne takes a “selfie” during his travels in China.

Emily and Wayne are supported through a partnership between the host institutes and UAlbany’s Center for Global Health, which has placed students in China, Panama, Uganda and Sierra Leon this summer.

They’re also part of an environmental health sciences team led by Shao Lin, a School of Public Health professor and the Center for Global Health’s associate director for global health research. Lin has published multiple papers investigating environmental risk factors in Guangdong, and is leading various research projects with both Guangdong Cardiovascular Institute and Sun Yat-Sen University. She’s trained Emily and Wayne with core research skills for the last two semesters.

“Building a bridge between the western and eastern culture, and conducting global health research is my dream,” Lin said. “I have helped build up collaborative agreements between UAlbany’s School of Public Health and six Chinese universities/institutes. I find our students learn more when they explore and live in different cultures. By researching in China, our students can apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and help solve real public health challenges.”

UAlbany’s Center for Global Health typically sends between six and 10 graduate students abroad each summer as part of its mission to create opportunities for students to engage in global health research internationally.

The center also leads the way for international faculty collaboration and has created a graduate certificate for MPH students who are interested in global health.

“Anyone who is going to be an effective public health professional really needs to be trained internationally and have a global perspective,” said John Justino, UAlbany’s Center for Global Health director. “The purpose of our center is to serve as a hub for international education, research collaborations, and programs. We want to ensure our current and future leaders are prepared to handle critical global health challenges.”

Emily and Wayne will continue research in Guangdong through August and intend to publish their findings with their Chinese mentors. They are also supported by the Carol A. Whittaker Global Health Travel Award and UAlbany’s Graduate Student Association.

You can learn more about UAlbany’s Center for Global Health by visiting its website. Also contact John Justino via email if interested in researching abroad during the summer or next academic year.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.