Dr. Amy Nichols-Belo, associate professor of anthropology and global health studies and chair of the International and Global Studies Department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to Kenya.
From January to July of 2024, Dr. Nichols-Belo will teach at the Institute of Anthropology, Gender, and African Studies at the University of Nairobi and conduct anthropological research on the lived experience of COVID-19 in Kenya. This data will contribute to a larger study comparing the COVID-19 experiences of urban Kenyans and Tanzanians.
“Kenya and Tanzania took radically different approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic with Kenya implementing robust policies and adopting vaccination, while Tanzania did the opposite,” explained Dr. Nichols-Belo. “I’m really interested in understanding how these different policy approaches affected physical and mental health and adverse economic consequences, including food insecurity.”
Dr. Nichols-Belo has taught in the global health studies and anthropology programs at Mercer since 2014. While new to research and teaching in Kenya, she has carried out research on ideas about witchcraft as a source of illness, traditional healing and religious anti-witchcraft practices in Mwanza, Tanzania since 2001. Her previous research was supported by a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) grant and funding from the University of Virginia and Mercer. She has also co-led three Mercer On Mission programs to Tanzania.
“Dr. Amy Nichols-Belo is an excellent teacher and scholar and being named a Fulbright Scholar recognizes the importance of her work,” said Dr. Anita Olson Gustafson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Her comparative research regarding the divergent policies related to COVID-19 protocols in Kenya and Tanzania has significant implications in the field of global health studies. I know that Dr. Nichols-Belo’s experience at the University of Nairobi will be professionally and personally enriching and will ultimately benefit her students at Mercer.”
Dr. Nichols-Belo holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Virginia, a bachelor’s degree in history and international affairs from James Madison University, and a master’s degree in science and technology studies from Virginia Tech.
“I’m incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work with Kenyan students and faculty and to build potential connections between Mercer and University of Nairobi,” said Dr. Nichols-Belo. “Since arriving at Mercer in 2014, I’ve predominantly taught global health courses. I’m looking forward to developing a new research project that integrates critical medical anthropology and global health.”
About the Fulbright Scholar Program
The Fulbright Program, the United States government’s flagship program of international educational and cultural exchange, offers passionate and accomplished students and scholars in more than 160 countries the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to mutual understanding. These talented Fulbrighters from all backgrounds inspire, innovate, and contribute to finding solutions to challenges facing our communities and our world. For more information, visit fulbrightscholars.org.