Global Social Welfare

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 189–198 | Cite as

Experiencing Health Services Research in the Global South: a Collaborative Autoethnography of Two Social Work Researchers

  • Karen M. TabbEmail author
  • Miriam G. Valdovinos


Maternal health services research yields the potential to improve global health outcomes across countries. Many of the low-cost and effective clinical innovations to improve maternal mental health outcomes are implemented in the Global South. However, there remains a lack of collaboration from the Global South to the Global North. In this qualitative narrative, we use a collaborative autoethnographical approach to describe a doctoral training health services research experience between North America and South America. In this paper, we describe the ways power and privilege manifest in a South American research training program and our particular positionality as North American women of color. We will also describe the role of cultural humility and awareness of colonization as it translates to research training across the North and South. In conclusion, we will share lessons learned in forming skills to establish partnerships and where our maternal health collaboration aims to continue to build mutual collaboration across countries.


Maternal health services Collaborative autoethnography Global health Social work education Research partnerships 


Funding Information

The authors received fellowship support from National Center for Research Resources TL1 RR025016, Fogarty International Center awards R25TW007490-02, D43TW008438-0109, and D43TW009375, but the views presented in this paper do not reflect the funders. No funding was received to produce this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional review board of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. All individual participants included in the study provided their informed consent.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.University of ConnecticutHartfordUSA

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