Recent St. Ambrose graduate Samantha Lee is enjoying learning the culture and customs of the Caribbean republic of Trinidad and Tobago, but her 10-month stay there goes way beyond an opportunity to expand her horizons. As Ambrose's fifth Fulbright Scholar in six years and the first who is an industrial engineering major, the Bloomington, Ill., native is helping find ways AIDS can be reduced in a country where the infection is growing in the population.
Lee is focusing on how technology is impacting the health care facilities serving those with HIV/AIDS. Instead of assuming that a fully automated computer information system is better, Lee is studying each clinic's method of keeping track of patient information.
"Clinics manage information in many ways, all the way from paper to paperless," she says. "Ultimately it's the effectiveness, not the technology, that counts when it comes to patient care."
As a result, the culture and customs she's been learning about have become extremely important in informing her work.
"It's very interesting that Trinidad and Tobago is considered a Third World country, because in some ways it is much more advanced then the U.S.," Lee says. "‘Trinis' are very accepting of different ethnicities, races and religions, and everyone celebrates and observes all religious holidays because the country and people truly support all cultures."