Erinma Kalu grew up in northern Florida and is a Biology major and MPH candidate in the Yale School of Public Health’s Chronic Disease Epidemiology program. She is interested in addressing the socioeconomic barriers to chronic disease care and the intersection between HIV/AIDS and aging. She is particularly interested in Latin America and the U.S. In summer 2013, Erinma conducted research in Lima, Peru on barriers to TB medication adherence. In summer 2012, Erinma worked with the Yale-Ecuador HIV Clinic Initiative (YEHCI) in coastal Ecuador to conduct research, teach in high schools, and test patients for HIV. At Yale, Erinma has served as Co-Executive Director of YEHCI. She also fundraised for and planned a service trip to Puerto Rico for the Yale Gospel Choir. After Yale, Erinma hopes to pursue an M.D. In her free time, Erinma loves reading Spanish and English literature, writing, and digital photography
Researching factors associated with patient adherence to tuberculosis (TB) treatment medication in PeruLimaPeru2013ResearchFaculty advisor (name):Dr. Frederick Altice
In summer 2013, Erinma worked in Lima, Peru with the NGO Asociación Civil Impacta Educación y Salud to design and implement a survey-based research study on the factors associated with patient adherence to tuberculosis (TB) treatment medication. After gaining approval for the study from the Peruvian Ministry of Health, she worked with a team of students, doctors, and nurses to recruit patients in 11 TB clinics in Lima for the study. Although the project had safety and logistical hurdles, it was extremely rewarding because it allowed Erinma to build human connections with TB patients, and gain a deeper insight into the socioeconomic and systemic issues that propagate this disease in marginalized, impoverished groups. Preliminary data show that alcohol and drug use, stigma, and depression characterize many patients in the sample. Erinma and Yale researchers will continue to analyze the data to evaluate the association between these factors and adherence patterns. This project solidified Erinma’s long-term desire to understand and improve socioeconomic determinants of health in Latin America.