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    UCLA Blum Center Summer Scholars Program




Program Overview

The UCLA Blum Center Summer Scholars Program is a unique opportunity for outstanding graduate students to live in a region of Latin America and work with universities, international institutions or community organizations that are improving the health and social conditions faced by low-income and vulnerable populations in Latin America. UCLA Blum Summer Scholars support the development of specific community responses being implemented in Latin American communities faced with health threatening conditions of poverty and other social determinants of health. Both UCLA faculty members and representatives from host organizations in Latin America provide mentorships for participating students.  


Learn More: UCLA Blum Summer Scholars Program Fact Sheet
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2016 UCLA Blum Center Summer Scholars

The UCLA Blum Center has selected three outstanding students for our fourth iteration of the UCLA Blum Center Summer Scholars field studies program 2016. These scholars will perform research throughout Latin America that will make important contributions to advancing health equity and outcomes. 


2015 UCLA Blum Center Summer Scholars

 Click here to view a photo gallery of our 2015 Summer Scholars

 Edgar Corona, MD '19

 Site: Institute of Mexican Social Security, Epidemiology and Health Services Unit,  Cuernavaca, México

 Project: Evaluation of performance and cost-effectiveness of screening and triage  strategies for high-risk Human papillomavirus (hrHPV) positive women  in México. 

 Edgar Corona is a first year medical student with the UCLA Program in Medical  Education (PRIME) at the David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM).  Edgar is  working with the Institute of Mexican Social Security,  Epidemiology and Health  Services Unit on a population-based study designed to evaluate the  performance and cost-  effectiveness of different screening and triage strategies for high-risk Human  papillomavirus (hrHPV) positive women in México.


 Jose Cuchilla, PhD Sociology '20

 Site: Salud Mesoamérica 2015 Initiative, Panama City, Panamá

 Project: Analysis of factors associated with teenage pregnancy and risky behaviors 

 Jose Cuchilla is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at UCLA. Jose  is  working with the Salud Mesoamérica 2015 Initiative, a public-private  partnership  between the Bill &  Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carlos Slim Foundation, the Government of Spain, and the Inter-American Development Bank  and eight countries of  Mesoamerica. He will be based in  Panama City, Panamá.



 Adriana Quiquivix, MURP '16

 Site: Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico City,  México

 Project: Analysis of urban form on mobility patterns in cities throughout México

 Adriana Quiquivix is a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning candidate  concentrating in community economic development and housing. This summer,  Adriana is  working with CIDE to  conduct research and spatial analysis related to transportation access. Specifically, Adriana will be examining the impact of  urban form on  people's mobility patterns in cities across México.


 Mayra Rascón, MPH, PhD '19 Health Policy and Management

 Site: National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, México

 Project: Evaluation of food labeling policies designed to improve nutrition and prevent  obesity

 Mayra Rascón is a PhD student in the Department of Health Policy and Management  at  the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Mayra is working with the  National  Institute of Public Health  and will assist in the evaluation of a front-of-package  labeling strategy aimed to improve nutritional intake and prevent obesity.  Mayra is  also  working to develop insights on the implementation of  the sugar-sweetened  beverage tax in México, which is another strategy being implemented to  reduce obesity prevalence.                                                       


 Rafaela Rodriguez, MSW '16

 Site: FNE International and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua-León,  León,  Nicaragua 

 Project: Examination of current and past interventions in Nicaragua for reducing  incidents of teen pregnancy

 Rafaela Rodriguez is a Master of Social Welfare candidate with a concentration in  international work. She is working with FNE International and UNAN on a  study  that will examine the work  that is being done to tackle high rates of teenage  pregnancies. Her research will inform the design and implementation of effective intervention programs in rural communities where there are high rates of teen pregnancy.



 Evelyn Sanchez, MSW '16

 Site: World Vision, Guatemala City, Guatemala

 Project: Evaluation of Guatemala maternal and child health programs of World  Vision International

 Evelyn Sanchez is a first year Masters in Social Welfare student. Her project  supports the Child Health Targets Impact Study (chTIS), which is a five-year  research collaboration between World  Vision International and John Hopkins  University that is designed to measure the impact of maternal, neonatal and child  health and nutrition programs on the health of  mothers, babies and  children.  Evelyn's work will involve qualitative and quantitative data analysis along with primary data collection in the form of interviews and focus groups with madres-guias, trained  community health workers who deliver key health and nutritional information to young mothers. 


2014 UCLA Blum Center Summer Scholars

Click here to view a photo gallery of our 2014 Summer Scholars

Luis Artieda, MA Latin American Studies/MURP '14

Salud Mesoamérica 2015 Initiative, Panama City, Panama 
Project: Office of Monitoring and Evaluation

Allyn Auslander, MPH'15
Institute for Mexican Social Security, Cuernavaca, Mexico 
Project: Risk factors associated with the development of liver disease over time




Ana Mascareñas, MPH'15 
FNE International and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua-LeónLeón, Nicaragua
Project: Examination of decision making processes for seeking emergency services and care options in Northwest Nicaragua 



Erik Peña, MA Latin American Studies/MPH'15                        
FNE International and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua-LeónLeónNicaragua
Project: Examination of decision making processes for seeking emergency services and care options in Northwest Nicaragua

Clint van Sonnenberg, PhD Political Science candidate 
Cayetano Heredia University, Lima, Peru
Project: Exploration of the socioeconomic and political barriers for Peruvians receiving reparations following the country's 20-year civil war and transition to democracy


Jennifer Zelaya, MPH/MSW'15 
FNE International and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua-LeónLeónNicaragua
Project: Strengthening the quality of and access to support services for women who have experienced intimate partner violence


2013 UCLA Blum Center Summer Scholars


Graduate Students 

In the inaugural program of the UCLA Blum Summer Scholars, two Fielding School of Public Health MPH students, Claire Bristow and Rebecca Foelber, were selected to spend their summers doing field research in Peru and Brazil, respectively. To learn about each student's work as a UCLA Blum Center Graduate scholar, please click on their project titles below to read their reports.


 Claire C. Bristow, MSc, MPH Student
Assessing factors to increase uptake of testing for syphilis and HIV in men who have sex with men and transgender women in Lima, Peru 2013 

Research: The social determinants of sexual health and HIV/syphilis rapid tests: diagnosis and prevention of adverse birth outcome in Lima, Peru.

Study Design: The study evaluated provider/patient acceptability of rapid tests and laboratory-based comparison of rapid tests with normal test protocols. One hundred participants were interviewed to assess social determinants of sexual health; differences / preferences in testing methods were analyzed.

Rebecca Foelber, DVM, MPH Student 
Multi-criteria-Based Risk Ranking of Foodborne Parasites


Research: Data collection to inform measures to prevent food-borne diseases in Rio de Janeiro Brazil.


Study Design: This research collected and analyzed official data on food-borne disease incidences compiled by national epidemiological centers in Latin America and the Caribbean during the last 14 years. The research team compiled and analyzed the resulting international dataset and produced a final report for WHO / PAHO surveillance purposes.



Undergraduate Students

In our 2013 inaugural year, the UCLA Blum Center supported undergraduate students working on community initiatives in Los Angeles designed to address the health needs of the most vulnerable low-income residents. During the eight-week session, students participated in a two-pronged program that included internships at Los Angeles-based community initiatives and civic engagement coursework. Undergraduate Summer Scholars Aldana Garcia, Jessica Cubias, and Abram Cerda served as interns at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) serving Latin American immigrant communities. Two more Undergraduate Summer Scholars, Erin Standen and Elizabeth Padilla, worked with the Saint John's Well Child and Family Health Center to support the needs of low-income populations. 

To learn about each student's work as a UCLA Blum Center Undergraduate Summer Scholar, please click on their project tittles below to read their reports. 





Abram Paul Cerda
Undocumented Students Framed in the Media 

Jessica Esmeralda Cubias 
What I Learned, What I Earned, and What I Gave 

Aldana Garcia 
CARECEN and Early Childhood Development 

Elizabeth Padilla 
Childhood Obesity & St. John's 

Erin Standen 
Civic Engagement at St. John's Well-Child and Family Center