November 3, 2017



  • The Community Tool Box: Addressing the Social Determinants of Health [January 2018]. In this workshop, Vince Francisco and Christina Holt from the Center for Community Health and Development will present an overview of the Community Tool Box and the theoretical foundations that underscore the content of the site.
  • The Research Process and Proposal Development [March 2018]: Participants will consider elements of the research process and discuss how to formulate research questions, conduct literature reviews, plan methodologies, and review aspects of research proposals. They will also learn about funding opportunities to support summer fieldwork.
  • East African Fieldwork: A Planning Session [April 2018]. Participants will brainstorm a range of different projects that we would like to pursue individually or as a group and review a portal to the CTB developed in partnership with the WHO African Regional Office. We will also discuss logistics for an August 2018 field school trip.
  • Translation, Cultural Adaptation, and the Challenges of Communication in Health Promotion [May 2018]: This workshop, included in the larger NEH-sponsored Global Medical Humanities Curriculum Development Workshop, will introduce participants to translation and interpretation research, as well as the technologies that assist this work.

The Summer African Language Institute

The Kansas African Studies Center and the Department of African and African-American Studies at the University of Kansas sponsor the Summer African Language Institute on the Lawrence campus from June 6 – July 28, 2017. The institute will offer expert instruction in beginning and intermediate Kiswahili (among other African languages), where students will experience the equivalent of one year of university-level language instruction in just eight weeks of instruction.  The environment of the Institute fosters a close community of African language learners over the course of both summer sessions. All language courses will be supplemented with a variety of activities including guest lectures, field trips, films, language tables, and cultural immersion. In addition to language classes and extracurricular activities.

Students in this LAB are expected to complete at least one year of KiSwahili before participating in the August 2018 field school. The cost of summer tuition to cover these courses, as well as room and board in Lawrence, are the responsibility of the student.  Those who complete elementary KiSwahili (KISW 110 and KISW 120) during the academic year are eligible to apply for a summer FLAS fellowship, which covers full tuition and a stipend to assist students with costs related to the field school in Tanzania.

Research Proseminar

In tandem with Summer African Languages Institute, students will participate in a 3-credit research seminar designed to prepare them for a two week-long immersive fieldwork experience in East Africa at the conclusion of the Institute. Students will examine a series of case studies that bridge critical and humanistic modes of inquiry in global health and medical humanities and will cultivate an advanced level of digital literacy. They will critically question the roles digital technologies play in shaping social life and appraise the implications of these technologies and the innovations they enable in Africa. All LAB-affiliated faculty will be invited to give guest presentations.

Summer ColLABorative Field School

The signature collaborative research component of this LAB is the Summer ColLABorative Field School.  For August 1-15, 2018, we are exploring a partnership with Mufindi Orphans, a Tanzania-based Non-Governmental Organization, that was founded by KU graduates in 2005. Mufindi Orphans carries out projects that provide social, educational, and healthcare resources and services for vulnerable children in a rural Kiswahili-speaking village. They routinely host volunteers from KU, including student interns and volunteers with college degrees in medical and education fields.

Students are provided a $1000 award to assist with costs associated with travel, room, board, and travel insurance for this trip. A cost breakdown will be provided once plans are solidified. However, $1000 will not be sufficient to cover the full costs of this trip.

All students will work with their advisors to apply for research and travel grants from KU to support costs associated with this trip. This includes funding from FLAS fellowships, Undergraduate Research Awards (UGRAs) from the Center for Undergraduate Research, Honors Opportunity Awards from the University Honors Program, Departmental awards, and support from other research programs on campus including: the McNair Scholars Program, the Global Scholars Program (Office of International Programs), the Office for Diversity in Science Training (IMSD), and the Multicultural Scholars Program. Students may also work with the Financial Aid advisors in the Office of Study Abroad to locate other scholarships and sources for financial aid to support travel costs.


In spring 2020, the LAB will host a conference, where participants will present their work to the public. We will unveil the new contributions of the Community Tool Box, and invite scholars and practitioners from across the region to speak on broader topics of interest. We also plan to work with KU IT Services to stream our presentations back to our respective partners in East Africa.