Collaborative agreement raises Moravian’s profile, offers students
Sonia Aziz, assistant professor of economics and business, has negotiated a five-year, renewable contract with an international health research institution in Dhaka, Bangladesh. International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) works with rural health issues in this country located between India and Myanmar.
The collaborative agreement puts Moravian on a list populated by prestigious institutions as Columbia and Johns Hopkins universities, much larger schools with similar agreements. “This is something that sets us apart from other colleges of our size and profile,” says Aziz, “and represents unique opportunities for our students and faculty.” She adds that such a contract would not be possible without the administrative support of the college in general and without the vision of Dean Gordy Weil – an instrumental and crucial guiding force.
ICDDR,B bills itself as the only international health research organization in the developing world, and as such, its inception in 1978 focused on providing children and families with clean, safe drinking water. To that end, the Center is credited with the discovery of oral rehydration therapy for the treatment of diarrhea and cholera. Oral rehydration therapy is thought to help save more than 1 million children’s lives each year. ICDDR,B’s research priorities today address major health concerns facing developing countries and include child health, infectious diseases & vaccine sciences, reproductive health, nutrition, population and HIV/AIDS.
The organization’s website says: “Through translation of research into treatment, training and policy advocacy, icddr,b addresses some of the most critical health concerns facing the world today.”
Aziz knows firsthand about the research opportunities, as she’s been working with this group for eight years doing work related to arsenic mitigation and valuation of water quality in rural Bangladeshi communities: Widespread arsenic contamination of groundwater is one of the most challenging public health problems faced by the country.
Moravian students may tie their research to their Honors thesis or SOAR project. “This affiliation can be ideal for those interested in science, economics, biology, chemistry, sociology and political science students,” she explains. “They would work closely with a mentor in this small program, and exactly what they would do would depend on their topic or internship.”
Admittedly a niche program, the ICDDR,B may take one or two Moravian students a year, but for those who can participate, it’s a chance of a lifetime to pursue their passion while making a difference in the world.
Read more about this organization here.