By Kate Ayres
Healthcare in refugee camps topic of Vinson Fellow’s research project
I am a third-year Honors student studying international affairs and Arabic, and my research interests involve healthcare access in refugee camps. My interests are focused broadly on refugee health in camps, including the prevalence of mental illness among refugee populations.
After hearing about the Institute of Government’s International Center, I began searching for a way to become involved in its global outreach in governmental planning and organization. Last semester, I began studying potential policy solutions on improving healthcare in refugee camps in Greece. The role of the government is critical in providing care in these camps, so I became more interested in the organizational and political structure of Greece, in addition to refugee health and the conditions in the camps.
I wanted to continue to learn about how the Institute of Government works with international governments to help them develop more effective organizational structures and implement policies, and the Vinson Fellows Program was a way in which I could learn hands-on.
This semester, I will be working with faculty mentor Rusty Brooks, associate director of the International Center. My research project with Dr. Brooks will focus on information sharing in humanitarian clusters to improve health outcomes in refugee camps. Through my prior research and through talking with individuals who have worked within these clusters, it is clear that information sharing is critical to how camps are set up, and subsequently, how people thrive within the camps. I hope to learn more about this issue and work towards creating viable solutions.
Dr. Brooks has already become a valued mentor, aiding me in both my professional and academic goals. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with the Institute of Government, and Dr. Brooks has been a valuable resource in learning about the Institute of Government’s international work, its functions and how best to develop my research project for the semester.
Kate Ayres is a junior Honors student majoring in international affairs and Arabic, with a minor in global health. Originally from Dahlonega, she serves as the external engagements coordinator for the Roosevelt Institute’s UGA chapter and is a delivery captain for Campus Kitchen. Kate previously served as a student researcher in the UGA School of Public and International Affairs and is currently conducting independent policy research on the absence of healthcare in refugee camps.