Senior Capstone Explores Eradication of Polio

In Collegiate School’s senior Capstone course, Global Public Health, students are challenged to answer the question, In an increasingly globalized world, how should we best address public health for human populations given their unique cultural, economic, environmental and political situations?
The mission of public health is to promote global health, eradicate diseases and, in turn, protect human populations around the globe. Given this goal, during the Capstone, students explore additional questions such as, What should we do? How might we effectively and ethically approach the grand problems of caring for a growing global population within their local contexts?  

In working toward a solution, the seniors recently connected via Skype with Shannon Stokley, M.P.H. about the last hurdles for eradicating polio. Ms. Stokley serves as the Associate Director for Science for the Immunization Services Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. With more than 18 years of experience implementing and evaluating strategies to improve vaccination coverage among children, adolescents and adults, she is currently leading the evaluation of MyIR, a pilot project that allows consumers quick, easy access to their immunization records through a secure online portal.

The Capstone explores the role of social, cultural, economic, environmental and political factors as it relates to access to health care and quality of life. Students seek to understand the unique challenges affecting citizens across multiple regions, both domestically and internationally, to study the impact of globalization on state of wellness and the spread of disease and to develop a mindset for seizing opportunities for innovative approaches for care.  

Learning will transcend from mere case study to experiential through a commitment to building partnerships with organizations working in developing and developed communities, internationally and locally, such as South Sudan, Belize, Southwestern Virginia and the greater Richmond region.