Wilkes University


Wilkes University Professor's Project Highlighted at Global Health Conference April 22 and 23

Linda A. Winkler, professor of anthropology at Wilkes University, will be among competitors pitching projects to improve public health and international development on April 22 and 23 at the 2017 Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale University.

Winkler’s project  -- "A Training-Education Protocol for Implementing Kangaroo Mother Care With Breast Feeding Support for High Risk Neonates in Rural Africa”will be among 15 social impact project semi-finalists  under consideration for the Innovation Prize.  They have been selected out of a pool of 45 social impact presentations for this competition. 

Winkler developed this project with Wilkes senior nursing student Shana Noon and Dr. Andrew Cesari, director of Nyakahanga District Hospital in rural Tanzania where Winkler has done her work.  Two cash prizes of $10,000 and $5,000 are awarded to the two best social impact pitches presented at the conference. Winkler will be joined by Dr. Cesari, Ms. Noon and Wilkes junior Melanie Maskowski at the conference.

Winkler was part of the project pilot starting in 2014 in Tanzania. She was later joined in her research by Noon. The hospital had a critical need for programs to reduce infant mortality.  Between 4 and 20 percent of babies delivered at Nyakahanga District Hospital are low birth weight and neonatal mortality rates are more than two times the national average in Tanzania.  The hospital introduced kangaroo mother care, a World Health Organization-endorsed method of care for premature and low-birth-weight babies. Infants are carried by the mother with skin-to-skin contact, improving infant survival rates and enhancing their development. More recently, through the project developed by Winkler and Noon, education and support to encourage breast feeding were added to the project. Preliminary results for the project showed increases in weight gain and infant survival rates.  Through her pitch at the Global Health & Innovation Conference, Winkler is seeking support to grow the program by purchasing breast milk pumps, developing education materials for local mothers, hiring a neonatal care nurse, and expanding program outreach.

The Global Health & Innovation Conference annually convenes more than 2,200 participants from all 50 states and more than 55 countries. The goal of the conference is to exchange ideas and best practices across disciplines in order to improve public health and international development. The conference participants bring experience from a wide variety of disciplines, and include students, nurses, doctors, policy-makers, public health professionals, health educators, community health workers, researchers, social scientists, social workers, and more. The conference is sponsored by Unite for Sight. Founded in 2000 by then-Yale student Jennifer Staple-Clark, Unite For Sight is a global nonprofit organization that has provided eye care to 1.8 million people in North America, Africa, and Asia.