Emily Meara is working on research related to global public health, international development and health care delivery in rural regions. Early on, Meara worked closely with a case study called, “Where Surgery is Difficult: Overcoming Barriers to Access in Rural Chiapas, Mexico” written by Professor Steve Reifenberg and Notre Dame graduate, Luke Maillie. She is in close communication with members of the Partners in Health affiliate, Compañeros en Salud (CES), working in Chiapas, Mexico. More recently, Meara has been involved in an investigation of the concept of accompaniment. She has been looking into its role in health care, education and Catholic social teaching as well as the different connotations in Spanish versus English. In Latin America, accompaniment is a word that implies true compassion and active participation. Adapting this concept to medicine as understood in Latin America provides a critical understanding of the true nature and pathway to health care equity.
The summer after her freshman year, Meara spent six weeks in Chiapas, Mexico funded by Kellogg’s Experiencing the World Fellowship. She worked with CES to transform a local hospital to a district level hospital with surgical capability in the small, remote town of Jaltenango. In addition to aiding the development of this new program, Meara helped organize leadership training, conduct surveys, and copy two years of referrals data. This data will be pivotal in tracking patient travel time, referred diagnoses and the progress of healthcare delivery in rural Mexico. That summer, she also attended the World Health Assembly in Geneva where she was introduced to large-scale health and development planning by member states and attended a global surgery panel.
During her junior year, Meara studied abroad in Puebla, Mexico, where she spent several days a week in the public, inner-city hospital. She rotated in Pediatric Emergency, Adult Emergency and OB/GYN. Meara also had the opportunity to visit a clinic in the mountains of Zacapoaxtla Mexico to meet with a group of local high schoolers to present a lesson on sexual health and perform HIV rapid tests emphasizing the importance of preventative health care.
I am interested in research involving global health and healthcare delivery in rural regions. Understanding barriers to delivering care is crucial in order to extend access to efficient, equitable medical care in underdeveloped regions of the world.
Currently, I am working with Professor Reifenberg on two projects. The first project explores the linguistic differences in Spanish and English of the word "accompaniment." In addition, I am helping him with a book project involving Partners in Health and Paul Farmer.