Jonas Global Scholars Study in the Dominican Republic

This past winter, two Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students traveled to the Dominican Republic to work in the rural bateyes. Associate Professor Maithe Enriquez, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAAN, has been taking students to the Dominican Republic as part of the Jonas Global Fellowship.

The Jonas Global Fellowship provides funding for graduate nursing students to participate in global health research experiences.

DNP student Morgan Shahan knew she wanted to participate in the fellowship. Planning to graduate in May 2019, Shahan will not only earn her DNP but also two graduate certificates related to global health, including the participatory health research certificate through the Sinclair School of Nursing.

Morgan coordinated with Fundacion Enciende una Luz (Light a Candle Foundation) on their youth coaching project. The project teaches trustworthy adolescents about hypertension and medication adherence. Each participant is then paired with people with hypertension who have poor health outcomes in hopes they will encourage better medication adherence. Morgan was interested in the effects this partnership had on the adolescents, and she measured their sense of purpose before and after participating in the program.

Through this trip and her coursework for her certificate, Morgan says she has gained knowledge on development aid that she hopes to put to use.

“My goal is to publish my findings and Fundacion Enciende una Luz can use them in their grant writing in order to continue their work,” she says.

Stacie Bevill, a fellow DNP student who will be completing her program this May, was also on the trip and focused her studies on unplanned youth pregnancies and sexual health.

The teen pregnancy rate in the Dominican Republic is three times the world average, and young mothers are less likely to finish their education, which is crucial to their ability to earn an income.

Stacie traveled to rural bateyes to recruit adolescents to attend her education seminars, where she led a discussion on risk factors and health outcomes associated with unprotected sex and taught them how to use contraception.

She found her education increased their knowledge in pregnancy prevention knowledge and STI prevention attitudes.

“I was so grateful to get the fellowship because I am passionate about global health and think it is important to see different cultures,” Stacie says.