Online programs alumna, student selected for Fulbright Awards

Ruth McDermott-Levy (at left) and Nicole L’Heureux

July 16, 2018

Public Health Practice alumna Ruth McDermott-Levy MPH ’15 and Global Health Certificate student Nicole L’Heureux recently received Fulbright Awards to conduct work in Finland and Ghana, respectively.

Ruth McDermott-Levy, an associate professor in the College of Nursing at Villanova University and director of the College's Center for Global and Public Health, received a Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Health and Environmental Sciences Award for teaching and research. She will study at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) from August to December.

"Climate change is our greatest public health threat,” she says in a university press release. “The Finnish population is at risk due to significant increases in air temperature. My teaching and research grant will focus on the health impacts of climate change in Finland."

She will conduct a mixed method study to determine Finnish health care professionals’ (HCP) perceptions of their patients’ health impacts related to climate change and health professionals’ perceptions of their preparation to address the identified health impacts. The secondary purpose of her study is to inform medical and nursing educators of areas of professional and circular development that can be implemented to address the identified climate change health impacts.

McDermott-Levy will also teach two courses at the University of Eastern Finland’s new Nursing Masters in Public Health and within the University International program related to global health and the impacts of climate change on human health.

Family nurse practitioner and current Global Health Certificate Program student Nicole L’Heureux is working this summer with the Ghana Health Service under the Fulbright Specialist Program to increase family planning utilization in the Wa West District of northern Ghana. The district has high rates of infant and child mortality and an increased rate of malnutrition within families.

While previous public health efforts have targeted women’s utilization of family planning services, few programs have been directed toward men. L’Heureux is working on a public health initiative to engage fathers through the creation of father-to-father support groups in twelve selected compounds within the district. These support groups will offer the opportunity to better understand some of the current barriers to family planning use, and provide opportunity and education to address them. The project includes community health nurses, midwives and families in the community.

“I have a strong commitment to providing quality healthcare to all, especially those who are underserved and have significant barriers to care,” says L’Heureux. “This is reflected in my work over the past fifteen years providing community-based healthcare delivery.”