2024 Vermund Global Health Travel Award

Dr. Sten H. Vermund was the founding director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH). The Sten H. Vermund Awards for Excellence in Global Health recognize Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM) students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the health of all people through distinguished global health scholarship, education, training, and/or service.  

The annual $1,500 award supports one medical, public health or doctoral level student at VUSM to gain experience in global health while they are enrolled in their academic program at Vanderbilt. Funding can be used to support their global health research, service, or training travel-related costs.

Julia Landivar Donato, a MPH Global Health track student, is dedicated to enhancing childhood nutrition health outcomes and addressing health disparities within underrepresented communities, particularly the Hispanic population. A native of Texas, Julia is trilingual in English, Spanish and Portuguese. While in college, Julia completed both a Baylor Medical Spanish Certification and a Global Engagement Certification. Both of these certificate programs spanned multiple years and included research projects. They equipped Julia with competencies in cross-cultural communication and engagement. Julia is currently a research assistant with the COACH study in the VUMC Department of Pediatrics. In this role, she collects data from research participants to provide behavioral intervention for childhood obesity among Latino preschool-aged children. She will pursue a global health practicum from May to June 2024 in the municipalities of Manizales and Victoria Trails in Colombia to fulfill her MPH practicum requirements. 

Julia is partnering with the Ministry of Health in Columbia to investigate nutrition's effect on primary school students' academic performance from a rural school in the Municipality of Victoria compared to a rural school in the Municipality of Manizales in the Department of Caldas. They hope to characterize the nutrition levels of primary school students in the Santa Isabel and Linda villages in the Municipalities of Victoria and Manizales Caldas, respectively. This will include efforts to identify the social, family, and nutritional conditions of primary school students in the indicated villages and assess their academic performance in primary school. Julia will also collaborate with the Secretaries of Health and Education of the Government of Caldas and the Municipality of Victoria Caldas.

As an aspiring global health leader, Julia has a strong, demonstrated interest in building a career focused on improving nutritional access and outcomes locally and globally, especially among Latinx patients in Nashville and at-risk population groups in Latin America. Her commitment to this cause is not just a professional aspiration but a personal mission, making her an ideal recipient of the Dr. Vermund Global Health Travel Award. Julia's commitment to improving global health through public health practice, research, and service mirrors the values and work of Dr. Vermund, and we are confident she will use her training to make a significant impact on the health and well-being of populations globally.