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W&L’s James Ricks ’21 Earns Fulbright to Study in Nepal James Ricks ’21 has received a Fulbright creative grant to Nepal to photograph patients and healthcare providers at a one-of-a-kind health clinic.

thumbnail_James-Ricks-3-614x768 W&L’s James Ricks ’21 Earns Fulbright to Study in NepalJames Ricks ’21

Washington and Lee University senior James Ricks ’21 has received a Fulbright creative grant to photograph patients and healthcare providers at a one-of-a-kind health clinic in rural Odanaku, Nepal. Ricks is majoring in English, with minors in poverty and human capabilities studies.

The clinic at which Ricks will work is managed by The Oda Foundation, a nonprofit organization co-founded in 2013 by John Christopher ’09, which provides biomedical healthcare similar to that which is practiced most commonly in the United States. The clinic sees thousands of patients per year.

This visit is not Ricks’ first mission to Nepal. He also worked with The Oda Foundation there in summer 2019.

“This project will explore patients’ experiences in these healthcare settings to understand how a community’s approaches to healthcare and perspectives toward health are impacted by a rapidly changing healthcare landscape,” Ricks said.

This award comes on the heels of Ricks earning a Davis Projects for Peace (PFP) grant.

“The PFP is about magnifying community members’ stories and interactions with the goal of fundraising for the community,” Ricks said. “The Fulbright is related in that it also concerns healthcare. Nonetheless, its focus is on exploring healthcare choices, points of care and the healthcare landscape of the region.”

Ricks is a Bonner scholar, an editor for the Vigil, a leadership team member with W&L’s Campus Kitchen and a tutor in the Writing Center on campus. He helped revive the dormant Habitat chapter on the W&L campus, which received an award at the university’s LEAD banquet, and served as the chapter’s co-president last year. He also co-founded and was the co-president of the Remote Area Medical chapter at W&L as well.

Ricks plans to pursue a degree in public health, attend medical school, become a general practitioner and continue contributing to the development of healthcare infrastructure in locations where access is sparse.

“It is an incredible honor to have been selected to return to Nepal and carry out this work,” Ricks said. “I have been supported by countless mentors and friends here on campus to whom I’m extremely grateful, and I am excited to apply what I have learned during my time here to this project and the ongoing effort of the Oda Foundation and organizations like it.”