Sylvia Becker-Dreps, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine. Her research interests include the prevention of infectious diseases in the developing world. She currently studies the effectiveness of rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines in Nicaragua, one of the first developing nations to introduce these vaccines to prevent childhood diarrhea and pneumonia. In particular, she is interested in the effect of the immunization programs on the community level, using population-based surveillance. Her work has involved collaborations with the University of Nicaragua-León and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health. Her previous research included the cost-effectiveness of malaria prevention during pregnancy and HPV vaccine acceptability among Kenyan women. Dr. Becker-Dreps is currently supported by a NIH-Fogarty International Scientist Development Award. She was recognized as a finalist by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases for the Maurice R. Hilleman Early Stage Career Investigator Award.
Within the UNC School of Medicine, Dr. Becker-Dreps serves as the Associate Director of the Office of International Activities. She is co-course instructor for the course, “Foundations in Global Health” (GLBE 201/401).
Dr. Becker-Dreps is a former NRSA-Primary Care Research Fellow at UNC. She completed residency at the Providence-Swedish Family Medicine Residency in Seattle, Washington. She received her medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine and an MPH from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. For over fifteen years, she has performed clinical work in the community health center setting, where she serves primarily uninsured and Spanish-speaking patients. She previously served as the medical director of the North Carolina Farmworker Health Program. Before returning to an academic setting, she performed clinical work in various settings in Honduras, Mexico, and Ecuador, including serving as a volunteer for the Mennonite Central Committee in rural Mexico.
In addition to performing research in Nicaragua, Dr. Becker-Dreps, along with her family and North Carolina community, help to support the Proyecto Barilete in León. Barilete is a preschool and afterschool program for low-income children and those who come from disrupted families. Barilete’s main goal is to help all children complete high school, and then provides links to the local university and technical schools