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Internships in Global Health - Issues Surrounding Global Kidney Replacement
*Any, - (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: Summer
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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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Restrictions: Princeton applicants only
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Dept Offering Program: Global Health and Health Policy Program Type: Internship
Language of Instruction: English Language Prerequisite: NO
Program Features: Global Health, Health Policy Degree Level: 1st year u/g students, 2nd year u/g students, 3rd year u/g students
Time Away: Summer Duration of Program: 8 or more weeks
Program Description:
Program Description:

Ethical and Social Issues Surrounding Global Kidney Replacement
Research Internship

Location: Remote
Duration: 8-12 weeks
Number of Positions: 1
Stipend: $1,500
About: The issue of kidney replacement sits at the intersection of anthropology of medicine, history of science, and bioethics. Kidney disease is one of the most visible and costly effects of aging populations worldwide. Kidney disease results from prolonged exposure to chronic disease factors such as sedentariness, excess consumption of food or alcohol, hypertension, or diabetes. Not long ago, kidney failure meant death. But rapidly changing medical treatments and biotechnologies have made life longer for many people, particularly in industrialized counties. Now patients can live for decades while undergoing kidney dialysis, a treatment which filters a patient’s blood supply through an artificial membrane (a hemodialyzer), removing waste, sodium, potassium, and extra water—a process repeated by necessity every other day for 4-5 hours. The other treatment for kidney failure is a living tissue graft—a kidney transplant obtained from a living or deceased donor.

The ability to prolong life also raises ethical, social, and economic questions. Who is eligible for receiving costly medical resources? Who pays? Who donates and who receives? How should resources be allocated to prolonging life and for how long? What about quality of life? The kidney is a laboratory for exploring ethical issues around managing aging populations. It is an inquiry into the resources (human, material, emotional, economic) a society commits to prolonging life. The current project looks specifically at kidney replacement in Japan, but seeks to create a broader context for this analysis.

Note: Depending on the student’s specific skills and interests, this research opportunity could focus more heavily on compiling quantitative data or on qualitative, ethnographic or historical context and data.  

Intern Responsibilities: Students will take part in the following main activities, in collaboration with EAS Professor Amy Borovoy
  1. Compile a data set of both numbers and qualitative descriptions to characterize how several countries are handling the ethical and social challenge of kidney replacement. Compile data from WHO sources (“Global Observatory on Donation and Transplant”), national government sources, etc. including data on per capita numbers of people on dialysis, age of dialysis patients, gender, organ donors and recipients, living vs deceased, local legal regulations, etc.
  2. Compile an annotated bibliography discussing key articles and books on the anthropology, sociology, economics, and ethics of kidney replacement
  3. Compile a slide presentation on landmark historical moments in kidney replacement:  Examples: the first dialysis machine built by Dutch physician Willem Kolff in 1943 from used materials; the first successful living donor kidney transplantation between identical twins, Richard and Ronald Herrick, conducted by Joseph Murray in 1954; the Seattle Kings County Medical Society’s “God Squad,” a citizens’ group chosen to make decisions about which patients could be eligible for dialysis in the early 1960s at the new Artificial Kidney Center; the Istanbul Declaration on Organ Trafficking in 2008, framework and context; ethical and legal guidelines around experimentation with animals and prisoners in organ transplantation
Qualifications: Students with skills in either representation of quantitative data OR in history of medicine, anthropology, ethnographic analysis, bioethics, or sociology are welcome. Japanese language skills is a plus. Data-scraping skills or experience with Python is useful. Students should have competence with making charts and graphs in Excel.

New Internships for 2020; no past Princeton interns.

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Dates / Deadlines:
This program is not currently accepting applications. Please consult the sponsoring department's website for application open dates.
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This program is currently not accepting applications.