4th Class, 2007-2009
Field Placement: Zanmi Lasante/Partners In Health, Boucan Carre, Haiti
Erica Phillips worked at Partners In Health (PIH) in their Agriculture Program to reduce under-nutrition in children under-5 years old through increased agricultural output of the household. The program distributed seeds, tools and goats to each of the families in the program and provided general extension services to families. Among her responsibilities, Erica helped revise existing nutrition and malnutrition training sessions for use by community educators, researched new nutrition and agriculture training materials to be adapted for use in Haiti, and looked at adherence to the locally made Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods distributed to children enrolled in PIH’s child nutrition program.
Policy Placement: Partners In Health, Boston, MA
At Partners In Health Erica continued to work on a research project she started while in Haiti that studied the food security of community health workers. She also wrote a case study on the delivery of ready to use therapeutic foods in Malawi for the Global Health Delivery Program at the Harvard Medical School, a partner of PIH. Other projects included assisting PIH in evaluating agricultural damages after the hurricane season in Haiti and supporting the Haiti team on nutrition related activities.
Erica grew up in Potomac, Maryland and attended Pennsylvania State University. After graduating from college, Erica joined Peace Corps and served in Niger for nearly three years. While working as a Community Health Educator in one of the poorest countries in the world, Erica discovered that in an agrarian based society, one can not teach health or nutrition without understanding people’s primary activity – agriculture. In order to better understand Nigerian food systems Erica worked with community members to weed millet, pick beans and harvest peanuts in the sandy fields. Upon returning home to the United States, Erica set out to learn more about the dynamics of food systems in America and worked on diversified organic vegetable farms. Seeking to merge the lessons from her various international and agricultural experiences, Erica earned a degree from Cornell University’s International Agriculture and Rural Development Master’s program.