Madona Farag


Senior biology major, Madona Farag, recieved a VURF travel grant to intern this summer at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Roberts Center.

On her experience: 

"This summer I interned at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Roberts Center. I, along with other Villanova students, were research assistants under Dr. Roy Wade. Over the course of the summer, we worked on three different projects. The first project, Dr. Wade’s primary focus, was the impact of paternal childhood adversity on the health outcomes of not only that individual, but their offspring as well. This research is an extension of the original ACE study conducted by Kaiser Permanente. Adversity is defined by the following three domains: abuse, household stressors, and neglect. Within each domain, there is a list of specific factors. For example, abuse includes physical, psychological, and sexual abuse.  The same ideas were transposed on underprivileged Philadelphia communities, a starkly different demographic than the original study. Our role in this research involved refining the survey that would be administered to predetermined families. These families were chosen based on if they received care at certain pediatric primary care clinics. The data collected using this survey will allow us to determine if and the degree of the relationship between the domains on various health outcomes and health risk behaviors, such as alcohol abuse, smoking, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression. Understanding this relationship can allow physicians to better asses their patients and tailor their long-term care.

Our second project was the creation of the Mount Zion Baptist Church medical history codebook. We took family medical history interviews that Dr. Wade had previously conducted in this specific, predominantly African American community and broke down each one in order to determine any common themes. Using qualitative coding, we determined common themes around environmental, community, and cultural factors. The end product can be used as a resource for this population in realizing trends and improving health accordingly.

Our final project is the development of a national youth firearm risk and safety assessment tool. We assisted in organizing and documenting focus groups for various age groups to determine what type of gun exposure and warning education they had received. Their responses assisted in creating a questionnaire that pediatricians could use to talk to their patients about gun safety, with the ultimate goal being decreasing gun related death and injury in children.

This experience was so valuable to me and allowed me to work in an environment where I was learning something everyday. Dr. Wade was a very approachable mentor and clearly loved his work. Without the Research and Travel Grant, none of it would have been possible and it is something I am very thankful for."

Contact Information

Center for Research and Fellowships
Garey Hall 38
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Fax: 610-519-6623

Dr. Michael T. Westrate
Director, Center for Research and Fellowships & Presidential Scholars Program

Ms. Catherine M. Stecyk
Associate Director, Center for Research and Fellowships

Dr. John J. Shanley
Assistant Director, Center for Research and Fellowships

Ms. Chelsea T. Benincasa
Program Coordinator, Center for Research and Fellowships & Presidential Scholars Program

Dr. Alexandra M. Was
Postdoctoral Scholar, Center for Research and Fellowships