For the Women Around the World

Carolina physician and researcher Elizabeth Stringer had been to Zambia once before, and admittedly had never considered moving there. But after finishing her OB-GYN residency in 2001, she and her husband, Jeff, were considering the next steps in their careers and lives.  

“It was just scary. To uproot our family with young children and move to this place seemed crazy. But, I knew that I had to do it,” said Stringer, an associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine.

In Zambia, Stringer was tasked with developing a contraceptive project for HIV-infected women. However, what she found was a fragile health care system without routine HIV testing for expecting mothers, even though a quarter of these women were infected.

“There was so much work to do, and there was funding to do it,” she said. “We were getting several grants, and it was so exciting to have the opportunity to do what people said couldn’t be done.”

The one year Stringer and her family intended to stay in Lusaka, Zambia, turned into 12.  

“Once I was there, it became evident that this was exactly where I needed to be. When I threw myself into my work, I found so much beauty, from the people to the place, that I hadn’t appreciated before.”

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