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Emma Clark ’06
Fulbright Scholar, Botswana, Africa

Clark gives a presentation during her junior year in Uganda

Emma Clark traveled to Botswana this month to begin her research on “Understanding Impediments to Traditional Healing/Biomedical Collaboration,” a 10-month study of possibilities for positive interactions among the country’s traditional healers in rural areas and the government’s health care system.

“By identifying the attitudes of biomedical and traditional healers toward collaboration, the barriers that have prevented it from occurring can be addressed,” explains Clark. “This will hopefully make quality health care accessible to people in even the most rural areas of Botswana, through systems of referral and increased training in modern health care methods.”

Botswana, a landlocked country north of South Africa, is grappling with high rates of HIV/AIDS, and its citizens have the lowest life expectancy (40 years) in the world.

Clark applies stitches to a Ugandan woman at the Bwindi Community Health Center

For Clark, who is from Auburn, Alabama, it’s a return to Africa, where she traveled for her Junior Year Abroad to study at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, during which she visited Botswana. “I thought it was beautiful, and met a lot of really great people,” she says of Botswana, “so I was interested in going back.”

Clark returned to the continent the following summer with a Praxis internship to work at the Bwindi Community Health Center, a small clinic in rural Uganda, assisting with collaborations between traditional healers and the clinic.

Clark plans to enter the Yale University School of Public Health in fall 2007 to study global health. But first, she plans to leave Africa with a grasp of Setswana, the most widely spoken dialect in Botswana, and an understanding of Tswana culture and traditions and beliefs, as well as a number of good friends.

“The beauty of traveling and living in other countries is that you don’t know exactly what you’ll get out of it,” she says. “What I learned previously from being in Africa, and really anywhere in the world, is that you have to be very flexible. As long as you keep an open mind, you get so much out of the most random, small things. If you go with the flow, it’ll be a great experience, whatever happens.”


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