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Recent nursing grad takes her studies overseas

The Gresham Outlook featured Twyla McKinney ’10, who conducted health outreach and studied barriers to AIDS prevention in Kenya as part of her senior project.

Her experience gave her new insight into how difficult it is to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa

McKinney chose Linfield for her nursing degree because of its emphasis on the humanities, and last spring spent a month in Kenya’s rural Suba District in Nyanza Province where 34 percent of the population has HIV/AIDS. She based herself out of her brother’s orphan-feeding center, which has an on-site AIDS ward.

“You cannot just hand somebody a flier on hand washing,” she says. “Can they read the language the flier is in? Do they have running water at home? Can they afford the alcohol-based hand sanitizer we use?

“My reality is different, and I need to be open, neutral and curious,” McKinney says.

She presented her findings to her professors and student peers, complete with a 27-slide presentation that detailed the HIV/AIDS prevention barriers she uncovered.

McKinney graduated in May with her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She was awarded the college’s prestigious annual nursing excellence award.