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April 17, 2013

Traverse City graduate to do research in Ghana

TRAVERSE CITY — Ellie Dupler, a 2012 graduate of Traverse City Central High School, will spend the coming summer in Ghana doing research on cataract surgery and working with villagers and local eye clinics.

“A lot of people won’t go to the eye surgeries even though it’s paid for, and it’s just because of fear,” Dupler said in a phone interview between her classes at Yale University. “I’ll be studying what specific factors stop them from going and how we might eliminate them.”

Dupler is a first-generation college student who grew up without health care and now wants to help others obtain the care they need. She recently worked in Uganda, where she taught HIV and hygiene classes with a group of other Yale students.

Two years ago, another Yale student traveled to the village of Accra in Ghana to study the link between cataracts and the poverty rate, she said.

“And it turns out, there wasn’t,” she said. “So I’ll be working with the same 300 people he talked to a couple of years ago, and see if they went in for the surgeries and get qualitative data of why they did or did not.”

Dupler, a freshman, said her trip is fully paid through a Yale scholarship.

“But I’m raising money for the group that does the cataract surgeries,” she said. “I have to raise $1,800 and I have $75 so far.”

Unite For Sight, a nonprofit, has provided eye care to about 1.3 million patients, including more than 50,000 sight-restoring surgeries. A $50 donation would support one cataract surgery, Dupler said.

“I would be so grateful for the community’s support,” she said.

To donate to Dupler’s effort, please email her at Or visit:



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