February 05, 2010
This isn’t the first time Zanele Mfono, PhD, MS, has been to the United States. But it might turn out to be her most important visit.
Dr. Mfono has just begun a six-month stay at the MGH Institute as a Visiting Fulbright Senior Scholar. In addition to offering lectures related to her area of expertise in sociology and HIV disease to the Institute's community, Dr. Mfono's primary goal is to investigate adherence to HIV medications in HIV-infected people in both the US and South Africa.
“It’s good to have a sounding board so peers can review my research,” said Dr. Mfono, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, who has previously studied at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Ohio University. “I can get a fresh perspective.”
She plans to return to her country later this summer with her wealth of experiences at the Institute and in the Boston community. Both the Institute and Dr. Mfono will learn from the new knowledge gained and together find better solutions to overcome the myriad cultural and other factors that affect HIV adherence. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS estimates that almost 5.7 million South Africans are living with HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Mfono is at the Institute thanks to School of Nursing Professor Patrice Nicholas, DNSC, MPH, RN, ANP, FAAN. Professor Nicholas serves on the Council of International Exchange/US Department of State J. William Fulbright Scholar Review Panel to select scholars from southern Africa for the U.S. Fulbright Senior Scholar program.
The Fulbright Program was initiated in 1945 by then freshman U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright as a vehicle to advance education and promote "mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world."
“This is a great opportunity for our students interested in global health to get first-hand knowledge,” said Professor Nicholas. “Zanele's desire was to find a host school with a focus on international health, and I knew she would be a perfect fit at the Institute.”
Last year the Institute began a collaborative effort with Partners Harvard Medical International to develop a partnership with the University of Fort Hare in establishing a school of health sciences. Several School of Nursing faculty have traveled extensively to the country on academic exchange programs, and have taken Institute students for educational programs.
Four students are scheduled to visit South Africa this summer with Professor Inge Corless, PhD, RN, FAAN.
The MGH Institute of Health Professions, founded by Massachusetts General Hospital in 1977, is an innovative and independent graduate school that operates within the framework of Partners HealthCare. A progressive leader in developing comprehensive models of health care education, the MGH Institute prepares advanced practice professionals in the fields of nursing, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and medical imaging through a distinctive combination of academic study, clinical practice, and research. More than 900 students are enrolled in graduate level and certificate programs, with an increasing number of courses available online. The Institute is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.