Based in Los Angeles, CA and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Who we are

The UCLA-DRC program is committed to promoting public health research, training, and programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Sustainable development in low-income countries requires prepared leaders who are committed to change, thus we work with the intent of fostering opportunities for UCLA students and Congolese researchers determined to make a difference in one of the poorest and most logistically complex places in the world.

What We Do

Research: Conducting practical and relevant research studies that provide the DRC Ministry of Health with data that will assist in developing prevention and control strategies for diseases of public health importance.
Training: Developing a corps of public health professionals trained at UCLA and at our field site in DRC to conduct research and run programs in low resource, logistically complex settings.
Technical assistance: Strengthening health research capacity and infrastructure in DRC by collaboration with and training of Congolese researchers and provision of technical assistance to the DRC Ministry of Health.

How we do it

UCLA-DRC achieves its mission through targeted initiatives aimed at preparing leaders in the health research community. We seek to arm the next generation of global health leaders with the knowledge and resources necessary for meaningful change in low resource settings.
Through our integrated research projects, we have developed strong collaborative foundations with local collaborators that include not only the Congolese institutions, but also international non-governmental organizations including WHO, UNICEF and USAID.

Our Impact

Faucett Doctoral Fellows: In Fall 2014, two new two Faucett Doctoral Fellows joined the UCLA-DRC program: Hayley Ashbaugh and Adva Gadoth-Goodman. As a part of their training, we provided support for them to live and work in DRC for the summer to gain field experience and assess possible dissertation topics.

Student Support: We have hosted three medical students from the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine who worked in the UCLA-DRC Research Program and presented a poster of their summer research at a School of Medicine event in Fall 2015.

Post-Doctoral Student Support: With Faucett Catalyst Funds, we were able to hire Vivian Alfonso as our Faucett post-doctoral researcher. Since she started working with us, we have submitted 3 manuscripts that are out for submission and waiting for response from the journals.

Posters and Presentations: In October 2015, the UCLA-DRC group had 14 posters and oral presentations accepted at the Annual American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting in Philadelphia, PA.

UCLA-DRC Infrastructure: In Spring 2015, we were able to purchase a new vehicle for the UCLA DRC Research Program in Kinshasa with FCF funds. We also received funding to support 2 apartments for UCLA-DRC students, staff and visitors to the program
Our Impact:
• Training the next generation of global health workers and field epidemiologists
• Building and maintaining important collaborative relationships with a diverse array of global health partners
• Supporting sustainable immunization campaigns, eradication efforts, and surveillance activities
• Helping implement DRC’s Demographic and Health Survey
• Conducting nationally-representative serosurveys towards understanding population immunity to vaccine preventable diseases
• Understanding the epidemiology of symptomatic and asymptomatic Ebola exposures
• Monitoring high risk populations for emerging and reemerging zoonotic infections
• Mapping and digitizing population datasets to support public health decision making
• Assessing the impacts of environmental and nutritional exposures on infectious disease patterns
• Developing models for detection of interspecies spillover events