Analyzing Poverty Factors and Livelihood Systems in Rural India

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Furleigh, Erin
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Honors Projects and Posters
University Honors Program

The Honors project is potentially the most valuable component of an Honors education. Typically Honors students choose to do their projects in their area of study, but some will pick a topic of interest unrelated to their major.

The Honors Program requires that the project be presented at a poster presentation event. Poster presentations are held each semester. Most students present during their senior year, but may do so earlier if their honors project has been completed.

This site presents project descriptions and selected posters for Honors projects completed since the Fall 2015 semester.

Genetics, Development and Cell Biology

As a developing country with a population surpassing 1 billion, India faces a myriad of challenges in securing the access and provision of quality healthcare services. To develop my understanding of the multi-dimensional health system of India, I traveled to rural Maharashtra for a two month program. I shadowed doctors in privately-owned clinics, government-run centers and non-profit organizations, visited a consultation and treatment center for those living with HIV/AIDS, and traveled to remote villages with a free mobile clinic. I developed a portfolio documenting my daily log of hours, weekly activities and personal reflections. My time in the general consultation clinics contributed greatly to my knowledge of national vaccination strategies, diagnostics, treatment, regional prevalence of infectious diseases, and challenges faced in securing effective patient interactions at each of these stages. The conditions I most commonly observed were tuberculosis, malnutrition, and respiratory, gastrointestinal and dermal infections. By stepping beyond textbooks and personally facing the conditions of vulnerable communities in rural India, I witnessed the crowded populations, hazardous housing, poor sanitation, and insufficient infrastructure that perpetuate the spread of infection and disease. My research cemented the reality and complexity of healthcare problems in developing countries, concluding that future solutions cannot be successful without addressing the intertwined epidemics of poverty and education.