University of South Florida College of Public Health graduate student Jennifer Burges recently received an invitation to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda. Her post begins in late April.
After arriving in country, Burgess participates in a 10-week, pre-service exercise. As a part of this community-based training, Burgess lives with a Ugandan host family and receives intensive language training, as well as learns more about cross-cultural communication, community integration, development issues, health and personal safety, and technical skills that she will need for her assignment.
Peace Corps has been in Uganda since late 1964, when the first volunteers arrived to serve as secondary school teachers. Currently, Peace Corps-Uganda has over 140 volunteers serving in the areas of community health, education, and community development. As a community health volunteer, Burges works to foster healthy behaviors and improve the health status of Ugandans via HIV and AIDS prevention and care activities; to strengthen the capacity of communities and service providers, including village health teams, in gathering, qualifying and analyzing local health data; and, to promote health and disease prevention behaviors and practices affecting maternal and child health, particularly through hygiene, safe water and malaria prevention sensitization and training.
Burges joins six other COPH graduate students currently serving in the Peace Corps. They include: Aditi Desai (Uganda), Jessica Chambless (Botswana), Stephen Cormier (Cameroon), Mezelle Moore (Mongolia), Folashade Osibanjo (Zambia), and Samantha Spedoske (South Africa). Burges and the other students are volunteers through the Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) Program. The PCMI program is a unique opportunity which allows these students to carry out their graduate coursework in Tampa and their International Field Experiences as Peace Corps Volunteers in different countries around the world.