M.S. Capstone Teams Improve Maternal and Infant Health in Malawi

For the last three years, TeamLift has graciously sponsored capstone projects for students in the Division of Management’s Master of Science program. Team Lift seeks to improve education, health, and nutrition for women and girls in Malawi. They partner with local villages, donors and organizations, and education programs.  

In 2016, TeamLift opened St. Mary’s Secondary School for Girls in Karonga, Malawi. Four years later, they opened a primary care facility for the region for which our capstone teams helped create operational systems. Previous capstone teams identified an equipment and supply list and developed a triage tool to identify at-risk patients when they present to the clinic. This year’s capstone team developed a plan for their new maternity care wing. The collective work of the teams is improving the health of women and children in the region. Moreover, the M.S. students have accomplished this while successfully balancing the technical aspects such as multiple time zones and the human elements of understanding and appreciating differences and similarities in cultures and values. Don Neureuther, Director of TeamLift, recently shared: 

Each year I have really treasured the Capstone teams from OHSU, and each group has built on the work of the team before them. I appreciate especially the relationships I have formed over the years, and know in my heart that each team’s work is important, and it will be used to improve the lives of some of the most destitute women and families in one of the poorest countries of the world. 

In addition to the typical presentation and report, this year’s capstone team developed physical sample care packages to share with the sponsor (see image). They took it a step further, though. The team raised funds to support the clinic’s mission of improving maternal and infant health and presented this gift to Don at the conclusion of their presentation. The funds will sponsor a St. Mary’s student to complete high school and continue her education to become a nurse. This spirit of generosity runs deep in our students. Judy Richardson, M.D., M.B.A., mentored the capstone team. While earning her M.B.A. with us, she and a classmate organized regular philanthropic activities amongst their classmates. We are honored to continue our work with TeamLift and are humbled by the generosity of our students, faculty, and TeamLift leaders.