Spotlight on Ann Crawford-Roberts

Ann Crawford-Roberts '12


Ann Crawford-Roberts was awarded a Framework in Global Health Scholarship to conduct research on the social lives of HIV-positive children living in Southeastern Botswana. Ann traveled to Botswana during the summer of 2010 and worked closely with Bianca Dahl, visiting assistant professor in Anthropology and Population Studies at Brown. Ann plans to attend medical school after graduation and to continue her work in global health through research and/or the practice of medicine.

Read on to learn more about how her interest in and commitment to global health has grown through her study of community health and medical anthropology at Brown and through her Framework scholarship. 

Q. What is your current status at Brown?

A. I am a rising senior undergraduate student at Brown.

Q. How did you first get interested in global health?

A. My initial interest in global health was sparked on trips in high school to Peru and Brazil, during which I helped promote traveling free clinics and I saw the living conditions that cause many to suffer from ill health. Since starting college, I have learned more about global health through classes and other activities. I attended the Unite for Sight Global Health Conference in New Haven, CT, interned at the United Nations in New York researching the health as a human right framework, and volunteered with Health Leads. I've studied community health and medical anthropology through classes at Brown and on a study abroad program.

Q. How did you become involved with your project?

A. I learned about the project through Professor Bianca Dahl, the primary investigator. She shared her research interests and upcoming research projects with me, and I immediately became interested in being involved in this one.

Q. What is most difficult about your global health work? What is most rewarding?

A. I found navigating personal and professional relationships with people who were simultaneously my hosts and friends, subjects and informants, to be the most difficult. I believe the most rewarding part of the work was learning about the many ways in which public health and medicine influence people's personal identities and social lives, which was both fascinating intellectually and important to the people I grew to know and care about.

Q. How does your global health work fit in with your career plans?

A. I am interested in global health from both a research angle, through medical anthropology, and one day from a practitioner's side, through public health or medicine. I plan to attend Mt. Sinai School of Medicine after graduating from Brown, and from there see where my interests in global health take me, whether that be out into the world of practice, or eventually back into researching and learning more about public health and/or medical anthropology.

Q. What has your experience been with global health at Brown (Framework, GHI, etc.)?

A. I received a Framework in Global Health scholarship.

Q. Any other thoughts/comments you'd like to add?

A. I do believe that for undergraduates receiving the Framework scholarship, it is very important to have a component of data analysis after the trip. During my two months in Botswana, I was mainly conducting research, and the real analysis only began after I returned to the U.S. I was fortunate to be able to continue discussing the project and analyzing the results with Professor Dahl this fall through an apprenticeship program in the anthropology department, but even now, we have not finished the long and difficult work of making sense of all that we learned and saw during our research. Requiring an analysis component after the trip is completed would provide more in depth and fruitful analysis of projects.