Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Herman Meyers

Second Advisor

Betty Rambur


From Dar es Salaam to Dartmouth: A Case Study of the Experiences of Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program Fellows at Dartmouth

Lisa Purvis, EdD Candidate, MPH, MBA


The United States (US) is a major host nation to international college students and scholars who study a variety of disciplines (Farrugia & Bhandari, 2014). Beginning in the last decade, the demand for global health training has risen (Kanter, 2008; Kerry, Ndung'u, Walensky, Lees, Kayanjas, & Bangsberg, 2011).

Since 2000, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth has been one of 26 US universities participating in a global health training program, funded by the National Institutes of Health, Fogarty International Center's AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP). The Fogarty AITRP annually trains scholars (Fogarty Fellows) and focuses on building HIV/AIDS research and medical capacity in low- and middle-income countries through advanced training. Along with the economic, social, and cultural assets that international students bring, are key challenges in students' transition, assimilation, and acculturation. It has been observed that many of the Dartmouth Fogarty Fellows have experienced issues in matriculating at Dartmouth.

Purpose of Research

Little data exists on the experiences of international students studying global health in the US. Using a case study of the Fogarty Fellows at Dartmouth, this qualitative research project sought to examine their unique transition and assimilation experiences as international graduate students. A secondary purpose of the case study was to identify ways to improve students' experiences. Berry's theory of acculturation provided the theoretical framework for the project (Berry, 1997).

Research Approach

A qualitative approach was used, guided by Action Research methodology. Action Research focuses on problem-solving and it is typically defined as a reflective process of progressive problem-solving led by an individual(s), who is part of the community of practice, to address issues and solve problems (Bargal, 2008).

Research Methods

To gain a fuller understanding of the issues and to identify solutions to problems of acculturation that may already exist, in-depth interviews took place with 22 participants: 1) 10 alumni of the Fogarty Program at Dartmouth College; 2) 5 MPH faculty at Dartmouth; 3) 2 MPH administrators; 4) 4 Dartmouth Fogarty Program administrators; and 5) the Fogarty International Fellows Program Officer at NIH. Field research also took place in Tanzania, the home country of the Fogarty Fellows at Dartmouth, to understand the Tanzanian context.


Recommendations for program improvement included formalizing the program at several milestones; providing comprehensive pre-matriculation information; using technology to orient Fellows to their new environment; formal mentoring and networking; cross-cultural training with students; and orienting the faculty to the program and the needs of international students. Colleges and universities need to understand the unique experiences and the student support needs of the international student. Future research at the 25 Fogarty AITRP US-based sites is recommended before implementing any of the Dartmouth-based recommendations.



Number of Pages

293 p.