Featured Profile: Graduate Student Barbara Kagima
Barbara Kagima: Building bridges globally and locally
As a Ph.D. candidate in Geography, Barbara Kagima's research examines how time, place, and environment influence patterns of disease, especially in the epidemiological transition from infectious to chronic disease burden in Kenya. Barbara was recently one of twenty-one graduate students awarded the UI Stanley Award for International Research which allowed her to travel to rural Kenya this past summer and survey health care practices related to the screening and treatment of hypertension in Kenya. While in Kenya, Barbara used qualitative methods to survey local health care facilities in six rural counties about their ability to screen and treat hypertension. She also had the opportunity to visit with local Ministry of Health officials to learn about the policies, programs, and interventions in place for hypertension prevention and management. The international project served as preliminary research for Barbara's Ph.D. dissertation about the spatial dynamics of chronic disease screening and access to treatment in developing nations. Selected images from Barbara's research in Kenya this past summer are featured below.
Outside of her geography coursework, Barbara has enjoyed the opportunity to explore other fields of study, such as Public Health, Global Health, and African History courses. When time allows, Barbara has worked as a research assistant for Dr. Nicole Novak in Public Health. As a graduate teaching assistant, Barbara has been able to share her own experiences growing up abroad until she was 12, and living and working abroad as an adult with students who are similarly passionate about global issues (Barbara was born in a small village in Kericho, Kenya before her family moved to the U.S.). Many of her students have not yet experienced travel outside of the U.S. and Barbara's international experiences and unique perspective help illuminate global issues in a new light. Barbara looks forward to teaching and mentoring undergraduate students with respect to global issues, especially global health related topics.
When Barbara is not conducting research or teaching undergraduates, she serves as a leader in the department and on campus. Barbara is involved with the Black Graduate and Professional Students group (BGAPS) and serves as a Graduate Student Senator for the department. Barbara has enjoyed building networks with other graduate students outside Geography which is what inspired her, with the help of fellow graduate students Oronde Drakes and Austin Holland, to start a Geography Graduate Student group this semester. The group had their first meeting several weeks ago and received positive feedback from other students about the need for a group like this one. Going forward, the group will continue to work on building a strong graduate student community in the department.
Off campus, Barbara spends her time exploring the parks around Johnson county, especially finding native grassland patches to walk through and identify plants and birds.
Barbara's research was recently highlighted in a feature by The Daily Iowan titled, "UI's own Barbara Kagima uses geographic tools to study public health in her home coutnry of Kenya."