Student Testimonials

Amber Featherstone, MD
ICAP Monitoring, Evaluation, and Research Intern, 2008
Focus: Data collection procedures for tracking patients who miss follow-up appointments

Amber Featherstone, MD, a graduate student in the Forced Migration and Relief Medicine track in the Department of Population and Family Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, spent this summer working with ICAP Kenya where she assessed data collection procedures for tracking patients who miss follow-up appointments at ICAP-supported sites in the Central and Eastern Provinces.

As part of her assessment, Amber assisted in the evaluation and presentation of the results of intensive phone and physical tracing of patients who had discontinued HIV care at Kagundo District Hospital in Eastern Province. It was noted that the number of lost-to-follow-up patients declined significantly over a three-month period from 124 to 31 after data reporting improved at the site. Featherstone’s work will enable the hospital to identify characteristics common to patients who discontinue care and determine whether the HIV program should be modified to address their specific needs.

“ICAP has given me a chance to work within a well-supported international public health organization that has a large impact on the systems supporting HIV care,” said Featherstone. “As I move from clinical care in family medicine to the international public health arena, I have been encouraged to incorporate skills learned in both individual and population health studies. The work of the ICAP-Kenya team has truly inspired me.”

Shekinah Elmore
ICAP Clinical Unit Intern, 2006-present
Focus: Adherence to Care and Treatment

Shekinah Elmore began interning with the ICAP Clinical Unit in Fall of 2006, her first semester in the Sociomedical Sciences program at Mailman School of Public Health.  She co-authored the Compendium of HIV/AIDS Care & Treatment Adherence and Psychosocial Support Activities, a snapshot summary of adherence programs in ICAP-supported countries and a collection of relevant articles, tools, and materials.  During the following summer, she spent three months working with ICAP-Mozambique to strengthen the system for patient tracking and tracing using a peer educator model.  Together, they wrote and received a grant for a community association of peer educators in Nampula, Mozambique to strengthen antiretroviral therapy adherence support. 

"I came to ICAP from a community mental health and evaluation research background, and so ICAP was instrumental in giving me a practical instruction in HIV/AIDS.  I think that my skill set was well-valued at ICAP, and I was able to integrate both my previous experience and ever-increasing knowledge as a public health student into my work.  Working at ICAP has definitely been one of the defining experiences of my tenure as a student at Mailman, because my success as a student and an intern have been fully supported.  The internship has provided a dialectic between theory and practice that has created for me a true passion for international and national HIV/AIDS work, and I know that I'll be in the field for many years to come."

Magdaliz Gorritz
ICAP Monitoring, Evaluation, and Research Intern, 2007
Focus: Data collection and quality assurance

Magdaliz Gorritz, an epidemiology student at the Mailman School of Public Health, spent six months interning with the monitoring, evaluation, and research team at ICAP Tanzania. Among other responsibilities, she assisted team members with collecting data, addressing data queries, and conducting literature searches. She worked both at the main office in Dar es Salaam and on site at a number of ICAP-supported health facilities.

One of her projects consisted of conducting quality-assurance assessments of patient files at sites in Kagera region and Zanzibar to determine the completeness of data. This particular experience allowed her to observe record-keeping procedures and offer suggestions for improving data collection processes.

According to Magdaliz, "All in all, this internship was a very rewarding experience. I worked with an amazing team and learned a lot. I formed such close bonds with the M&E team. Working with ICAP-Tanzania has opened many doors. I've gained experience working with patient-level data, conducting data quality assurance, compiling data, and creating presentations for professional meetings. Now I have a clear idea that I want to pursue a career in public health monitoring and evaluation."

Sara Riese
ICAP Clinical Unit Intern, 2007-2008
Focus: Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT)

Sara Riese interned with ICAP’s Clinical Unit from February 2007 until February 2008, as a dual degree candidate at the Mailman School of Public Health (in the Sociomedical Sciences Department Health Promotion Program) and School of International and Policy Affairs (with the Institute of African Studies).

She assisted ICAP in supporting in-country PMTCT programs through needs assessments, the creation and tailoring of tools, and the development of strategy to improve implementation.  Specific projects included compiling PMTCT tools used in various ICAP country programs and developing rationale for PMTCT Standards of Care.
Sara assisted the Mozambique PMTCT team in developing a PMTCT Nurse Mentorship program, including creating a training and rotation schedule.  She supported the implementation of ICAP’s approach to Infant Feeding in the context of HIV, contributing to the writing of Infant Feeding technical updates and a guide for country programs on successful Infant Feeding implementation.  Sara also traveled to Uganda to assist in ICAP’s Clinical Mentorship Intensive Workshop, working with in-country teams to devise plans to improve site support and overall quality of care.

Through her internship with ICAP, Sara gained hands-on experience and developed her skills in program development, implementation and evaluation. Her internship has helped confirm her career goals of developing and implementing effective health programs in the most under-served areas of the world.

In early 2008, Sara joined ICAP full-time as a program officer to support prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV services in ICAP-supported countries

Jean-baptiste Rudatsikira

ICAP Clinical Unit Intern, 2007-present

Focus: Site Support

Jean-baptiste began interning with the ICAP Clinical Unit in Spring 2007, as a student in the Sociomedical Sciences program at Mailman School of Public Health.  Jean-baptiste organized country-specific tools in ICAP’s internal database by topic area in order to facilitate accessibility and efficiency by ICAP personnel both in New York and at country programs. He also assisted with early phases of the development of the ICAP Prevention Standards of Care.

Jean-baptiste is currently managing the ICAP Guide to Site Support and Tools online workspace.  His work with ICAP has strengthened his desire to continue to work in the field of public health with an organization such as ICAP, which is successfully providing care and treatment to those infected by HIV/AIDS.

Leora Walter, DDS Candidate

ICAP Women's Health and HIV Fellow, 2008
Focus: Dental Health

Leora Walter, a third year dental student at Columbia University’s School of Dentistry, spent six weeks during summer 2008 working with ICAP Ethiopia.  During her time in country, Leora worked at the ICAP headquarters in Addis Ababa, as well as at Dental and ART clinics affiliated with Adama Hospital, helping HIV clinicians and dental technicians to improve their abilities to examine the mouth and oral cavity for signs of HIV and related conditions.  In addition, Leora developed a desk reference of oral manifestations of HIV that will be used by clinicians at ICAP-supported hospitals in Ethiopia. 

Said Walter, “I am so proud to be affiliated with ICAP.  I saw firsthand how new initiatives are constantly being put into action, where goals are set and accomplished, and where constituents benefit from the activities.  I have long been a proponent of working for the national good, but after spending the summer in Ethiopia and falling in love with people, culture and country, I am expanding my healthcare notions globally.  I know for certain that my career plans have been affected.”