By Cameron Scott
The complexity of global problems requires partnership with many stakeholders, and when important voices are not involved, efforts sometimes fail. Refusing to fall into this trap motivates Anna Muller, MS (’19), to work to connect all the stakeholders working on specific global health projects.
As an MS student, Muller reflected on a high-school stint volunteering in a hospital in Córdoba, Argentina, realizing how naïve her attempt to help had likely been. Since she joined Global Action in Nursing (GAIN) shortly after receiving her degree, Muller has had a laser focus on ensuring that the program responds to needs nurses flag, using approaches that make sense to them.
Since Muller joined in 2019, GAIN has launched a 6-month paid fellowship in Liberia to address a mismatch between nursing training program graduation dates and public health deployment dates that leave many newly qualified nurses sitting on the sidelines for several months, losing some of the freshness of their training as they wait to be posted to a clinic.
GAIN’s ultimate goal, which Muller has worked hard to realize, is to turn the program over to local nurses and ministries of health. Muller has guided GAIN as it has stepped back into just an administrative role in its more established sites. Muller also manages the data to follow results of the mentorship efforts.
Managing complex international partnerships, Muller has found herself most drawn to one particular challenge. Data analysts naturally want to capture as much information as they can, but busy clinicians don’t have time to input too much data while still providing quality care for their patients.
Muller put it this way: “There’s often no one person who’s working clinically, who knows clinical needs intimately, and who also plays an active part in the data collection and analysis, which would connect the two efforts to make sure that the research really supports better care.”
Muller will head to nursing school at the University of Washington in the fall to prepare herself to play that role in future projects. After a year-long program and some practical experience, she hopes to return to Africa to help develop – and quickly hand over – more programs aimed at empowering nurses to provide better care.
Photo: Anna Muller (left) at a May 2022 cross-site meeting in Blantyre, Malawi, with GAIN midwife mentors Marshall Sackey and Annie Weah