Christian Capanna, a rising senior biology and classical civilizations double-major, called Montego Bay, Jamaica, his home for 12 weeks this summer.
Through an international health program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, Capanna conducted research on public awareness of prostate cancer by interviewing 600 men in Jamaica.
“I don’t think I’ve ever talked to so many people in my life!” Capanna says. “All I do all day is talk to people.”
According to a 2012 study, prostate cancer affects more Jamaican men than any other form of cancer. When prostate cancer is caught early on, the patient has a high chance of being cured with proper treatment; the program aims to have more men getting preliminary testing.
Full-time researchers on the project in Jamaica will go back in three to six months and contact the 600 interviewed to see if they have been tested for prostate cancer to measure the effectiveness of the awareness program.
Capanna’s trip was his first time traveling out of the country. His trip to a rural clinic in the mountains opened his eyes to the quality of health care in the region. While in Jamaica, Capanna applied to several medical schools, in Chicago and beyond, so that he can pursue his dream of becoming a doctor after graduation.