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April Carman, Central Asia

MPH alumna, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences

I served as a Health Education Volunteer in the Ferghana Valley of Uzbekistan from January 2003 until April 2005. Once part of the old ‘Silk Road,’ the town I lived in is still considered very traditional. The town is filled with large Uzbek families, old - as well as newly established - mosques and silk factories. My primary assignment was working with the staff of a mid-sized ‘urban’ clinic. This included 10 nurses, 2 midwives and 4 doctors. The goal of my placement was to work with the clinic staff in improving the health education and teaching materials the clinic staff were sharing with patients. These health classes and educational materials focused on prevention and care of fever and diarrhea in children, anemia in women, good nutrition and appropriate care of and treatment for children with cold and flu symptoms.

I also developed several secondary projects with local nurses, schools, neighbors, government agencies, and international health agencies. These projects included teaching health classes at high schools and colleges, engaging children at the local orphanage in English classes, conducting a summer health and sports camp for teenage girls, teaching a grant writing seminar for local professionals and organizing a clinical skills training for 30 Uzbek nurses.

My Peace Corps experience further intensified my interest in maternal-child health and demonstrated the importance of public health working collaboratively with clinical medicine for better health outcomes. I chose the University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health for its good reputation, the community approach of the BCHS department, the international centers and networking potential across Pitt’s campus and the city of Pittsburgh’s lower cost of living.

April with women who craft traditional men’s hats
April with women who craft traditional men’s hats

Hot tea for everyone at an outdoor winter wedding
Hot tea for everyone at an outdoor winter wedding

Making a traditional sweet with village women
Making a traditional sweet with village women

Young weavers at local silk factory
Young weavers at local silk factory

Uzbek women selling produce at local market
Uzbek women selling produce at local market

Bukhara along the old silk road
Bukhara along the old silk road

April’s nurse and doctor co-workers
April’s nurse and doctor co-workers

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