UI College of Nursing to help health in Africa, Haiti

With a new donation, UI Nursing is set to go global in new health initiatives.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by James

Associate Dean of the College of Nursing, Anita Nicholson, poses for a portrait in her office Jan. 16, 2017. Starting on April 21st of this year, eight University of Iowa students will spend two weeks in Swaziland while studying community and public health practicum (James Year/The Daily Iowan)

With the help of a recent donation of $191,500 from Susan and Andy Code, both University of Iowa graduates, the College of Nursing will launch health initiatives in Haiti and Swaziland.

The initiatives for Haiti and Swaziland differ slightly in nature. For Haiti, the donation will fund the establishment of a health-care clinic to provide primary care and health promotion, training, and education to local families.

The Kingdom of Swaziland, located in southern Africa, is a developing country dealing with such health issues as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Swaziland has the highest prevalence rate of HIV in the world.

Leading the initiative in Swaziland will be Assistant Clinical Professor Susan Lehmann and Anita Nicholson, a nursing clinical professor and associate dean for undergraduate programs. Lehmann said the idea to get involved with Swaziland came from Nicholson’s experience working with faith groups in the country.

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The Swaziland project, part of the Community and Public Health Nursing Practicum, will see the UI students in different communities and situations, such as inpatient care in local hospitals, home visits for near-death patients, and a visit a high school to develop learning activities for high-school freshmen on HIV/AIDS prevention. They are planning to depart on April 20 and return the first week of May.

“We’re really excited about it,” Lehmann said about the high-school plan. “It’s going to be very different from doing a presentation like that in Iowa, because the needs of the community are different.”

Erin Kleinow, a nursing student involved in the Swaziland project, said she heard about the opportunity through an email sent to her class.

“I decided to join the program because I have always been interested in traveling as a nurse in the future and thought that this would be a great opportunity to begin that journey,” she said in an email to The Daily Iowan.

Kleinow said she hopes to gain a better understanding to appreciate the culture in Swaziland in addition to providing the people with health care and vital information to positively affect the community’s health.

The Haiti initiative will be led by nursing Assistant Professor Andrea Achenbach and Tippie College of Business Lecturer Dimy Doresca, the director of Tippie’s Institute for International Business.

In partnership with El Shaddi Ministries International, UI graduate students will work on developing a primary-care clinic and working with the Nursing College to have a shared learning experience in Jérémie, Haiti. Jérémie was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

“This is a partnership between us at the College of Nursing and the community of Jérémie to work together and learn from one another,” Achenbach said.

Achenbach said she wants UI students to be able to learn from their Haitian counterparts and learn about a different health system from that of the United States.

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