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This March, Dianna Hergott, an Epidemiology PhD candidate, completed her research assistantship with START and is now working toward completing her dissertation.

Dianna Hergott is a PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of Washington. She received her MHS in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from Johns Hopkins University. She joined START after spending five years working abroad on public health projects in Equatorial Guinea and Central America. In Equatorial Guinea, Dianna worked with Medical Care Development International (MCDI) on their malaria control projects on Bioko Island. At MCDI, she worked with the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)  team to manage and analyze data from the National Health Information System, annual Malaria Indicator Surveys, and various malaria control strategies and investigative studies. In addition, Dianna worked with Sanaria, Inc. and Ifakara Health Institute to set up  the first ever clinical trial in Equatorial Guinea using Sanaria’s PfSPZ Vaccine. Most recently, Dianna worked in Guatemala, where she was a contractor for CDC-Central America Region’s influenza division. Her main focus was on evaluating and improving the influenza surveillance systems throughout Central America. Dianna’s research interests include immunoepidemiology, vaccines, and infectious disease.

Dianna worked on 9 projects during her two and a half year research assistantship with the START Center, serving as project manager on 6 of the projects. Learn more about some of these projects below:

  • Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Nigeria State Profiles – The team performed data extraction and calculation of Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (MNCH) indicators from Nigerian national health surveys, and conducted a literature review on demand and utilization of MNCH services as they relate to vulnerabilities, social constraints, and differences in the public and private health sectors.
  • HPV Immunogenicity Data Review – The project team performed a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to evaluate the immunogenicity of alternative (i.e. non-standard) dosing schedules for the HPV vaccine.
  • Birth Asphyxia Burden Assessment and Landscaping – The team performed a targeted literature search to assess current interventions for neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), specifically those that show promise in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
  • Birthing Suite of the Future – This project team researched birthing suites and practices in Sweden, Sri Lanka, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They produced a case report for each country that allowed readers to compare and contrast the processes in each of the three countries.
  • Enteric Pathogen-Associated Case Fatality Risks in Hospitals and Communities – The START team conducted a systematic review to identify pathogen-specific CFRs, with particular attention paid to the context of disease (hospital vs. community).

Dianna finished her research assistantship at START in March of 2020, and will be transitioning to work as a study coordinator for a pilot trial on the feasibility of at home daily dried blood spot collection to study malaria infections with UW Faculty and Ugandan collaborators, as well as continuing work on her dissertation analyses.

Dianna will continue to engage with START’s extensive alumni network, established in 2011. START often invites alumni to share their experiences after graduating from the training program at all-team meetings and, additionally, taps into the alumni network for content expertise on projects. The alumni network is comprised of highly skilled START graduate professionals employed in global health, business, and consulting across disciplines.