Q: Please tell us about yourself – where did you live before Seattle and what were you doing?
A: I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas where I studied sociology at the University of Texas at El Paso. After my undergraduate degree I participated in a research project conducting in-depth interviews that examined air pollution exposures and hazard mitigation in communities in Houston, Texas and Miami, Florida. Prior to moving to Seattle I was living in Paraguay where I worked as a Community Economic Development Volunteer in Repatriacion, Caaguazú. My main projects in Paraguay focused on youth development, sexual health, and civic participation.
Q: What’s your academic focus and what research are you doing as a Research Assistant (RA)?
A: I am still in the process of defining my academic focus but I am very interested in health systems strengthening, implementation science, and HIV prevention and treatment. As a Research Assistant I am working with Dr. Carey Farquhar on the scale up of the assisted partner services project (APS, a program aimed at helping to control the spread of sexually transmitted infections through partner testing) in Kenya. Currently I am gaining experience developing standard operational procedures, case report forms and other data collection tools as well as participating in weekly conference calls with Kenyan partners overseas.
Q: What’s been the most valuable part of your Research Assistantship thus far?
A: Thus far I have learned the methods used by institutions and implementation partners to carry out research projects. Being a part of this collaborative process and seeing how teams work together on different areas of the same project have been incredibly valuable experiences. I hope I can further this experience by traveling to Kenya, engaging in fieldwork, and finally meeting with collaborating team members I have thus far only worked with over the phone.
Sofia De Anda is a recipient of the Department of Global Health Endowed Fellowship for Global Health Excellence, Equity and Impact.