Remy Mercer Slomoff



University of California, San Francisco, MS Global Health

Kisumu, April 25th – June 20th

Upon arrival in Kisumu I was met by two enormous, warm smiles belonging to, as I soon learned, Felix and Lillian of FACES. My time in Kisumu has been filled with similar smiles and kindness from all of the staff and researchers here at the Lumumba Clinic. I arrived assuming I would be working with a small group of researchers on the MIND study, but I am leaving with a plethora of friends whom I will never forget.

The MIND study is an intervention trial of interpersonal psychotherapy for HIV positive women who are suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. As a Masters student in global health from UCSF I was tasked with helping on day-to-day study activities as well as working on my own capstone project. My experience with the MIND study has sufficiently opened my eyes to the world of research. Since arriving at the Lumumba Clinic I have witnessed the complete renovation of the MIND study rooms, the recruitment of 18 patients into the study, the continued training and mentoring of study staff, therapists, and clinical evaluators, and the ongoing treatment of six patients. In addition to assisting with the logistics of the MIND study, I have been working on teaching myself (with extensive help from UCSF colleagues and professors) how to conduct a systematic review.

Aside from my time at the clinic I have deeply enjoyed exploring Nyanza Province. Throughout my trip I have sailed Lake Victoria, hiked Monkey Rock, had clothes tailor-made for me from Kitenge fabric, and discovered secret waterfalls near Kakamega Forest. I had a wild time coming face to face with the animals at Impala Park including almost getting run over by a galloping zebra. My friends and I explored all corners of Kisumu from Hippo Point, Dunga Hill Camp and Kiboko Bay to Nyanza Social Club and Mega City.

Despite my short time here in Kisumu, I have had the opportunity to make incredibly deep and meaningful relationships and collect memories to take back with me to California. As I leave Kisumu, my heart is filled with wonderment and joy and I am already brainstorming how I will manage a return visit soon!

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