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The Downs Fellowship

Harry Hyunteh Kim collects data from local residents regarding their WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) behavior, and other relevant topics. He was accompanied by the two local villagers, who served as translators.

The Downs International Health Student Travel Fellowship honors Wilbur G. Downs (1913 - 1991), MD, MPH, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, renowned physician/scientist in the fields of tropical medicine and infectious diseases, mentor to many students and colleagues.

Since 1966, the Downs Fellowship has provided opportunities to over 500 students to live, learn, work and do research in low- and middle-income countries. Many projects have led to outstanding research projects, as well as oral presentations and posters at national and international health conferences demonstrating an understanding of epidemiological, genetic, biological, clinical and social patterns in health and medicine. Surveys show that past fellows have been deeply influenced by their experiences abroad, which have helped them shape new perspectives on their responsibilities and capabilities as health professionals.

Research is carried out in the context of host countries’ culture, health problems and resources. Although students may initiate projects, Yale faculty members provide intellectual support, practical assistance and links with host-country sponsors who serve as mentors during the Fellows time abroad. The choice of research topic and methodological detail are joint responsibilities of applicants and advisors. Any member of the Yale faculty may sponsor applicants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why apply for the Downs Fellowship?

The Downs Fellowship provides unique opportunities for Yale graduate students:

  • Travel and conduct original research abroad in LMICs*
  • Challenge yourself professionally to respond to unanticipated situations
  • Gain new perspectives on your responsibilities as multidisciplinary professionals
  • Be an ambassador to promote equity in global health
  • Participate in workshops to develop professional writing and pre-departure training
  • Receive support of Yale faculty members to provide intellectual support and practical assistance
  • Experience new cultures and make lasting memories
  • Modest award to undertake research (Fellowship separately covers airfare and ground transportation to the host site, pre-travel health consultation and immunizations/site-specific drugs, and visa related expenses)
*pending Yale and destination travel restrictions due to COVID-19
More Information

Info sessions (each September) and other pertinent Fellowship events/deadlines are posted on the YSPH online calendar.

All final applications must be submitted on the Student Grant & Fellowship Database at Yale.

For more information, please contact Anjuli Bodyk.

Which students are eligible to apply for the Fellowship?

All Yale graduate students proposing to conduct original, health-related research in low-to-middle-income countries (LMICs) are eligible to apply.

What are some examples of past Fellow projects and locations?
  • Designing an intervention for breastfeeding in low-resource communities in Mexico using the socio-ecological framework
  • Assessment of the current status of diabetic self-monitoring and readiness for mobile e-healthcare control in a high-risk population of Samoa
  • Investigation of the Burden of Q-Fever And Melioidosis in Two Agricultural Provinces in Thailand
  • An investigation on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), colorism and stress coping behaviours in Black Bajan women in Barbados
  • Patient Prioritizations when Accessing Medicine for NCD Management in Rural Uganda
  • Investigating the community-level variation of soil-transmitted helminth prevalence in Kpandai district, Ghana: a qualitative study
  • A Qualitative Assessment of the Social Media Usage and Sexual Risk Behaviors in MSM and Transgender Women in Chennai, India

Fellowships Help Student Study Abroad

As a recipient of two Yale School of Public Health fellowships, Matthew Benczkowski was able to conduct epidemiological research in Colombia to enhance his education in global health.

Read more