South Africa – Michelle Pent (1999)

Michelle Pent pursued a combined MD/MPH degree at Tufts University during the time period in which the Foundation awarded Michelle $2100 – the cost of her airline ticket to Johannesburg, South Africa – so she could participate in a study of nutrition in children with HIV. The purpose of this research was to assess the value of nutritional intervention in improving the well-being of children who suffer from HIV.

Here are Michelle’s travel safety tips:

Be aware of local customs, legal restrictions and politics when you travel abroad. · Obtain current information about a country’s political situation and general information about health conditions, medical care, crime, and the embassy location before traveling abroad. The State Department provides travel advisories. · Whenever possible, take a cab that is associated with a hotel. If you must choose a cab at random, leave the cab registration number with someone in a very obvious manner before leaving. · If you must remain immobile during a lengthy flight, do frequent isometric exercises with your legs to help keep blood moving and prevent clots. · The rear section and the section by the wings are the strongest areas of a plane. Choose a seat in one of these areas whenever possible. Always note the nearest exit on the plane.