News

Science Fellow Taking a Passion for Healthcare Support to Rwanda

Lizzy Hilt ’18 is crossing borders to work with women, children, and survivors of sexual violence in Rwanda. She leaves this week.

This summer, Lizzy Hilt is taking her passion for healthcare beyond borders.

The rising junior biochemistry and molecular biology major at Ursinus College is helping to provide critical healthcare support to women and children in Rwanda through an internship with WE-ACTx (Women’s Equity in Access to Care and Treatment), a non-governmental organization focused on increasing and improving access to primary care in resource-limited settings.

“This organization touched me because of its focus on women and children’s health,” says Hilt, a Wayne, Pa. resident. “I’m also a Peer Advocate at Ursinus, and our mission is to help empower women and educate the campus about sexual misconduct and health.

“WE-ACTx’s commitment to psychological support and prevention education for women, specifically survivors of sexual violence, completely drew me in,” she says.

Hilt is a fellow in Ursinus’ Center for Science and the Common Good (CSCG), which provides opportunities for students to become outstanding civic and scientific leaders. Through support from an Undergraduate Science Education Grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the CSCG funds study abroad opportunities that provide educational and inspiring experiences like Hilt’s Rwanda trip this summer.

During her internship, which beings May 25 and continues through early August, Hilt will blog about her experiences at lizzysrwanda.blogspot.com. She will spend a few weeks shadowing healthcare personnel in a clinic in Kigali, the capital and largest city in Rwanda, and will also provide music and art therapy to patients while also working with support groups that help victims of family abuse.

“I think this internship plays into my interest because it focuses on victims of sexual assault, as well as HIV patients, and it helps them with posttraumatic stress issues and helps kids living with AIDS,” Hilt says. “I’ll be able to work on hands-on programs for women and children coping with medical issues, educate them on healthcare, and help them through their daily lives.”

She continues, “Healthcare is a basic human right and everyone deserves to have access to it and be able to live their lives the way they choose. In these developing countries, education about proper healthcare is most important.” – E.M. (M.L. contributor)