Feature story image, Sarah Jacobi in Senegal

Fall 2015 — A passion for prosthetics and orthotics led Sarah Jacobi, a senior majoring in kinesiology with a French minor, to work on a research project at a rehabilitation center in Senegal. Jacobi was transformed by her exposure to healthcare in this West African country.

“I experienced both the hope and despair of medical care in the developing world. I held a child's hand as he took some of his first steps. I helped fabricate medical devices that brought much relief to the patient and the family,” Jacobi said. “I also witnessed children denied life changing medical care because of its cost. I sat with patients as they were told their disease would kill them because they could not access the necessary medicine.”

Sarah Jacobi posing in front of an informational poster

Sarah Jacobi displays information about her experiences at a rehabilitation center in Senegal.

Her research is one of the only studies that examines the connection between patient care for disabilities and international policies in the developing world.

Jacobi says that countries providing international aid often fail to identify the most pressing problems faced by countries receiving aid. She believes that major policy changes are required for long-term improvement, but building awareness and strengthening current international healthcare systems is the first step.

Jacobi’s experiences ignited her desire to establish self-sustaining medical clinics run by local workers in Sudan and Chad, a dream she hopes to accomplish once she graduates. “My experience in the clinic significantly shaped my worldview and turned my passion into a personal obligation,” she said. “I will no longer be satisfied if I do not contribute to global health.”

You can find a research project that fuels your passion and expands your worldview too. Learn how to get started.