Published: 05/28/2024

By Violet Glickman

Two Global Health Equity Scholars from Kenya are visiting Stanford in May and June under the mentorship of Global Health Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor in the Stanford Department of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Christine Ngaruiya, MD, MS. Read on to meet the fellows, Dr. Paul Macharia, PhD and Dr. Carolyne Robai Matifary, MBChB, MMED, MPPM, and learn about their global health research.

The fellows, both from Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, hope to explore their research interests further and connect with research, academic, and policy colleagues.

Meet Dr. Macharia

Dr. Macharia uses more than fifteen years of computer science experience to design digital health interventions for adolescents in resource-limited settings. During his PhD, he developed a cost-effective text-based health intervention to increase awareness about sexual reproductive health and HIV. For his postdoctoral project, Dr. Macharia designed a web-based digital health application for adolescents in urban and rural settings in order to address their concerns about privacy and disclosure of health status. The application prioritizes user privacy and confidentiality, providing a secure and anonymous platform where young people can interact, share experiences, and learn effective HIV prevention, care, and treatment strategies. 

Dr. Macharia plans to co-design a “Wellness Companion” digital health intervention specifically targeting adolescents living with HIV, as they face increased risk of mental illness. His design will include a culturally appropriate generative AI and modules that make mental health awareness and self-care more engaging and fun for young people. 

During his time at Stanford, Dr. Macharia hopes to connect and train with mentors specializing in adolescent health, mental health, generative AI, and human-centered design as he begins to move forward with his “Wellness Companion” design. Dr. Macharia will be on campus through the end of June 2024.

Meet Dr. Robai

Dr. Robai is a family physician and public policy analyst with over twelve years of experience in hospital leadership roles. Her passion lies in providing equitable and reliable emergency medical care. Trauma is among the leading causes of death in Kenya, and as such, there is a greater need for additional, reliable resources for acute care. Dr. Robai recognized a critical gap in the country’s trauma care: the absence of trauma registries in Kenyan hospitals hampers the development of effective public health strategies for injury prevention and trauma care. Her postdoctoral project focuses on the feasibility of implementing formal trauma registries within emergency departments that are integrated into the hospital’s electronic health records system. As part of the project, healthcare workers in the emergency department are trained on using the registry before its rollout. Dr. Robai aims to enhance trauma data collection to inform better injury prevention strategies, pre-hospital care, and overall trauma system improvements in Kenya. 

While at Stanford, Dr. Robai looks forward to connecting with researchers and clinicians working on interventions that improve emergency patient care, training with various professionals to improve leadership, research, and grant-writing skills, and collaborating with trauma registry specialists at Stanford Hospital to improve her designed registry. Dr. Robai will be at Stanford through the end of May 2024.

Presenting at Global Health Club Seminar, May 29

Additionally, during their time here, Drs. Macharia and Robai will be participating in the Global Health Club seminar to discuss the work they have both done at the intersection between public health and digital innovation in Kenya. The seminar, organized by Stanford PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, will take place from 12:00 – 1:30 PM on May 29, both in person and on Zoom. To learn more about the event and register, visit this link

To follow along with Dr. Macharia’s work both at Stanford and in Kenya, visit his LinkedIn and X.

To follow along with Dr. Robai’s work, visit her LinkedIn and Instagram.