Examining Global Health Fieldwork Pre-Departure Training on Sexual Harassment and Assault for Students Open Access

Fitzpatrick, Amanda (Spring 2021)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/xg94hq66d?locale=en


Global fieldwork can be an important opportunity for global health students to gain

research experience and invaluable skills for their future careers. However, many global health students’ fieldwork experience is marred by sexual assault and harassment that can have a profound impact on not only the mental health and wellbeing of students but also their career trajectories. An opportunity to mitigate the negative consequences of sexual assault and harassment in the field is a pre-departure training that addresses these topics. The purpose of this study was to describe common pre-departure training practices for global health students conducting fieldwork abroad with emphasis on sexual assault and harassment. A cross-sectional survey was distributed through the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) monthly bulletin asking participants to describe the pre-departure training at their institutions. Results were analyzed to identify useful descriptive statistics and common themes. The survey did not achieve a large enough sample size to produce generalizable results, but it did provide insight into the structure of pre-departure training at global health institutions. The data show that pre-departure training programs are developed with the involvement of multiple individuals across the university. Additionally, there are no mechanisms like conferences or newsletters for institutions to easily share information about their pre-departure training with each other, and organizations like CUGH do not foster conversation about sexual assault and harassment in the field. These findings explain why this topic is so challenging to research and why the response rate for this survey was so low. The data from this survey can be used to inform a more thorough study. The survey has been successfully piloted and can be used with different distribution methods to gain generalizable information that could help to improve pre-departure training at global health universities. The improvement of these trainings would positively impact the health and wellbeing of global health students conducting global fieldwork.

Table of Contents

Introduction Definition of Terms Background Safety of Researchers

Sexual Assault and Harassment in Fieldwork Preparation for the Field

Gender and Global Health Paths Forward


Population and Sample Procedures

Data Analysis Ethical considerations Results Sample Pre-Departure Training

Discussion Limitations Conclusion References

Appendix: Survey

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