Kinesiology Undergraduate Travels to Ghana for Research Program

July 11, 2013

Clarrisa Afum, an undergraduate student in kinesiology, is currently conducting research in Kumasi, Ghana as a participant in the Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). MHIRT is a competitively awarded opportunity allowing undergraduate and graduate students to engage in research projects in various parts of the world. The program is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

“The Office of Undergraduate Research and Studies of UMass Amherst guided me through the application process,” notes Afum.

Working under the supervision of Dr. Pauline Jolly, a UAB professor, Afum is assisting with research for a project examining the association between aflatoxins, a type of toxin created by the fungus Aspergillus, and liver disease. The team administers questionnaires and obtains blood and urine samples from patients diagnosed with hepatitis B and C at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. Using the data collected at the hospital they are examining blood samples in a state-of-the-art laboratory at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

“The experience thus far has been phenomenal,” says Afum. “I’ve had opportunities to impact the lives of the patients I meet during my one-on-one interview sessions. Through this opportunity I have developed an interest in pursuing an MPH in addition to my aspiration of becoming a medical doctor.”

Adds Afum, “In the near future, I aim to utilize my academic achievements to promote effective medical practices in developing countries and underserved communities.”