Currently Funded Projects

The Fund for Research and Innovation in Global Health and Social Development supports cutting-edge research and interventions to address pressing global health and social development challenges. Information on the annual request for proposals and eligibility requirements can be found here. 

Pinar Alakoc, PhD, Committee on International Relations
Frontline Health Workers and the Integration of Syrian Refugees in Turkey

This research will examine the ways in which frontline doctors, nurses, and social workers shape public attitudes and behaviors toward Syrian refugees in Turkey. It will also investigate how these individuals can support or undermine health service delivery for refugees, as well as the factors that shape these different behaviors, and their connections to broader integration efforts.

Kavi Bhalla PhD, Public Health Sciences/BSD
Research to Support Large Scale Investments in Bicycling in the Cities of India, Bangladesh, and Ghana

This study will assess the current state of bicycling in Delhi, Dhaka, and Accra, including the demographic, socioeconomic, and trip characteristics of cyclists, and what incentivizes and deters bicycling. Self-reported and police-reported crash data will also be analyzed to evaluate the key risk factors for bicycle crashes to develop a road audit tool to determine bikeability, which can be used to assess the bicycling safety and comfort of the urban built environment in low- and middle-income country settings.

Cara Brook PhD, Ecology and Evolution
Safeguarding Food Security to Reduce Risk of Bat-borne Zoonoses in Rural Madagascar

Partnering with Health In Harmony, an organization working in local communities to safeguard rainforests while simultaneously promoting human wellbeing, this project will implement a community-designed alternative subsistence program to alleviate human reliance on wildlife for subsistence to reduce the risk of bat-borne virus spillover (such as with COVID-19). This work offers a rare opportunity  ty to pair scientific research into the biological drivers of viral emergence with active intervention efforts designed to interrupt zoonoses before they occur.

Gina Fedock, PhD, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice
Building Global Collaboration to Advance the Health and Human Rights for Women in Mexico, Kenya, and Sierra Leone

This pilot study focuses on creating a novel multinational collaboration to advance human right protections and improve incarcerated women’s health and wellbeing in Mexico, Kenya, and Sierra Leone. Incarcerated women from these communities will be hired as Project Coordinators and will co-facilitate virtual focus groups. They, along with the research team, will examine the lived experience of incarcerated women spanning multiple countries and diverse contexts to inform potential policies and practices that can improve the health and wellbeing of incarcerated women.  

Aimee Hilado, PhD, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice
Preparing a Workforce to Address Significant Psychological Distress Among Afghan Children and Youth in the U.S. Unaccompanied Children Program

This multi-phase project will examine behavior trends among unaccompanied minor participants and gaps in training for frontline residential staff working in government-sponsored unaccompanied minors residential programs for Afghan youth in Chicago. Findings from the initial exploratory phase will inform targeted, advanced training with particular attention to de-escalation strategies for severe psychological distress and staff burnout. The project includes training implementation and evaluation, and opportunities to scale-up training across other unaccompanied minor programs and programs serving diverse, forcibly displaced youth.

Anne Karing, PhD, The Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics
Tackling Social Constraints to Complete Covid-19 Vaccination in Sierra Leone

This project will implement a field experiment in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to test if misinformation and/or vaccine literacy training changes individuals’ ability to discern false from true information, their likelihood of getting the Covid-19 vaccine, and the extent to which misinformation is spreading within their social network. This project will also use administrative data on Covid-19 vaccinations to describe how different socio-economic indicators such as occupation, gender, and ethnicity are associated with the take-up of the second dose of the vaccine in a country where vaccine uptake has lagged, with only a 27% coverage. 

Darnell Motley, PhD,  Department of Medicine/BSD
Sexual Wellness & Growth Programming for Sexual Minority Men in Kisumu, Kenya

This project seeks to adapt the Sexual Wellness and Growth (SWAG) Toolkit for use among sexual minority men in Kenya. Developed in response to the continued disproportionate impact of HIV on this population, SWAG include topics like healthy communication in relationships, interpersonal disclosures, and trauma and stigma. The research team will use the SWAG Toolkit as the foundation for tailored holistic health programming. After the intervention has been adapted, we will then conduct a small pilot to assess acceptability, feasibility, and changes in health knowledge among sexual minority men in Kisumu, Kenya. 

Funmi Olopade, MD, Department of Medicine/BSD
Assessing the Impact of Covid-19 on Education and Teenage Pregnancy in Rural and Underserved Communities in Ghana

In collaboration with local partner Dr. Alex Eduful and NGO Family Support Lifeline (FASUL), this project seeks to better understand how children in rural and less resourced areas of Ghana cope with new educational demands, engagement in risk behaviors, and other pressures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This pilot project will feature detailed interviews with 15  respondents: five each from three Ghanaian local government areas of Agona West Municipality (Central Region), Ejisu municipality and Ahafo Ano South District (Ashanti Region). Interviews will explore the challenges in education these individuals face while aiming towards the development of interventions that promote empowerment and social inclusion for all leaners in Ghana.

Raul Sanchez de la Sierra, PhD, Harris School of Public Policy
Reducing Vulnerability to Violence in Civil War in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

This research project will study armed combatants in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by leveraging a once-in-a-lifetime research relationship with one of the largest armed groups nurtured since 2015 through continuous 7 yearlong fieldwork. With authorizations from both the armed group and state authorities, the research team will introduce interventions on active combatants, from the time they join, to decrease their tendency to be violent against civilians. The project will deploy a 6-month long perspective taking program, a tool used in psychology shown to promote empathy, to determine the extent to which combatants use violence against civilians in the months and years following the program. We will contrast this intervention to another intervention targeting the misperceptions of most combatants in this setting, from the angle of their self-interest. The second intervention focuses on international humanitarian law to train combatants to the specific actions against civilians that could expose combatants to prosecution, and will examine whether increased knowledge of legal risks reduces certain types of abuses against civilians. 

Alan Zarychta, PhD, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice
Decentralization, Covid-19, and the Governance of Municipal Health Systems in Honduras

 This project aims to understand the institutional contexts that shape governance and performance of local health systems in developing countries. The project will examine the relationships across various levels of government to determine the conditions necessary to sustain positive change in municipal health service delivery following fifteen years of decentralization of the healthcare sector reform in Honduras. In addition to performing a comparative analysis of the subnational health data, the project will administer health worker and inter-organizational network surveys to characterize the attitudes and behaviors of health workers in 270 health centers in 58 municipalities. Together with past data, this project will analyze the dynamics associated with health sector decentralization reforms in terms of governance structure, health services outcomes, and the ability to support local health systems in the face of a major health crisis.

Scroll to Top