Kimberly Parra, a first-year graduate student in public health is spending her summer in Guatemala, investigating high-risk dietary patterns in adolescent girls that may emerge as chronic disease in adulthood.
Why is this research important? Because proper nutrition during adolescence is vital and fundamental to long-term health. In many developing countries like Guatemala, research on nutrition status of adolescent girls is lacking.
Parra was selected to participate in the 2017 Minority Health International Research Training Program, a competitive award and three-month commitment. She is working with global health researchers at the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama in Guatemala City to conduct a study on 500 adolescent girls, aged 10-16, who reside in nine rural municipalities in Eastern Guatemala. This sub-study is adapted from a larger longitudinal study linking agriculture with Public Health and nutrition
“This research experience has given me the epidemiological skills necessary to conduct global health research in low-resourced communities. I also have the opportunity to work on my intercultural skills through meaningful interactions with the adolescents and their families,” said Parra.
The Minority Health International Research Training Program offers students research training opportunities in the biomedical and health-related sciences in developing countries. It’s funded by the National Institutes of Health and administered by the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health.