Vella’s project, “Water Usage and Risk Assessment of Schistosome-Endemic Regions of Pemba, Zanzibar,” was the culmination of research she conducted abroad at the Public Health Laboratory Ivo de Carneri (PHL-IdC) in Zanzibar, Tanzania in the spring of 2013.
Vella’s studies assessed the risk of transmission of the flatworm Schistosoma haematobium in freshwater resources. The World Health Organization estimates that at least 243 million people required treatment for Schistosomiasis in 2011 alone. Vella’s research also assessed local knowledge of the disease.
Her research and trip to the Global Health and Innovation Conference, the world's leading global health conference with representatives from more than 55 countries, was funded by the Stonehill College Office of Academic Achievement, the Moreau Honors Program and World Learning.