Higgins headshot

Leland Fellow

Sara Higgins

10th Class, 2019-2021

Sara Higgins holds her MPH in International Health and Development from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and a Bachelor’s in Zoology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to becoming a fellow, she worked in federal healthcare spheres, including four years as a research analyst for an advisory committee providing recommendations to Department of Defense leadership on military health policy. For her Master’s, Sara served in Peace Corps Guatemala with the Master’s International Program. As part of her service, she developed and executed an educational program, A Grassroots Approach to Chronic Malnutrition in Rural Guatemala (based on the positive deviance model), with 31 mothers of children aged 5 and under to combat chronic malnutrition in a rural community. Sara, a Wisconsin native, was motivated to become a Leland fellow given her passion for policy, advocacy, and global health programming.

Host Organization: Catholic Relief Services

First Year Placement
Maiduguri, Nigeria

For her first-year placement, Sara worked with Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS’s) nutrition and markets programs in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state in northeastern Nigeria. For the nutrition program, Sara conducted a trend analysis to help evaluate the community-based supplementary feeding program, Tom Brown, and provide recommendations to improve its implementation. Sara also led the creation of a comprehensive implementation guide for Tom Brown to increase its adoption by peer agencies and other CRS country programs. Further, Sara worked with the markets team to provide guidance on market monitoring efforts, based on best practices and existing tools.

Second Year Placement
Baltimore, Maryland & Washington, D.C.

For her second-year placement in Washington, D.C., Sara will be leading research that examines how policies, systems, and structures can enable or hinder nutrition outcomes, specifically looking at the U.S. government’s programmatic approaches as well as nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programming implemented throughout the global nutrition sector. These research findings intend to help CRS better design nutrition programs for scale up and further commit to localization of nutrition programming. Sara will also lead analyses related to food insecurity “hot spots” in the context of the coronavirus pandemic to inform response programming and donor advocacy.

Publications & Blog Posts