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UW Second-Year WWAMI Student Works on Health Project in Nepal

January 10, 2019
woman with backpack standing outside in mountainous area
Second-year medical student Sarah Maze, of Ranchester, helped establish a Gestational Diabetes Education Awareness Program in Nepal during the summer of 2018. (Maggie Webster Photo)

A second-year medical student from Ranchester has been recognized for her efforts to combat a gestational disease in Nepal.

Sarah Maze, who received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wyoming and is now in the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) medical education program, is passionate about quality health care for individuals in underdeveloped communities. In the summer of 2018, her passion carried her to Dhulikhel, Nepal, where she worked with local health providers to develop a Gestational Diabetes Education Awareness Program in the hope of improving patient understanding of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and promoting the adoption of effective disease management strategies.

GDM affects one in seven births worldwide, and it is becoming increasingly detrimental in developing countries. Recent epidemiological studies in Nepal indicate that the national prevalence of GDM was 6.6 percent -- 4.68 percent in patients seen at Dhulikhel Hospital -- and both percentages are steadily increasing.

Maze’s effort was, by all accounts, successful. In November, she presented her work and was recognized by the University of Washington School of Medicine, receiving the 2018 Outstanding Poster Award. Additionally, her work was accepted for presentation at the prestigious Western Student and Resident Medical Research Conference this month.

All student and resident abstracts at this conference are published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine.

“I was inspired by the deep sense of community in Dhulikhel and the way it guided all aspects of health care, education and outreach at Dhulikhel Hospital,” Maze says. “It was an incredible opportunity to be part of their mission, learn from them and explore a health issue beyond the physiologic mechanisms of disease to incorporate cultural, societal and community-specific factors. I will certainly incorporate this approach and Dhulikhel's spirit of community into my future practice.”

Maze was the recipient of the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award as the University of Wyoming’s outstanding graduating woman in 2017.

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