It didn’t take long for Benjamin Herzel to see the snake problem. In the first day of his field research on snake density in India, the 2014 Union College graduate saw professional snake catchers capture, count and release 120 snakes—mostly Indian cobras and Russel’s vipers—in four hours.

Herzel, who recently completed a master of science in global health program at the University of California at San Francisco, was awarded the John L. Ziegler Award for Outstanding Student Capstone for his thesis research: “Treatment Strategies for Venomous Snakebites in Southern India: A Cost-Effective Analysis.”

The study compared the cost-effectiveness of two major treatment options used in India for snake bites. Using antivenom is extremely expensive for individuals and the health system at large. Herzel explained that snakebites are an often overlooked global health issue in terms of the amount of attention and funding it gets compared to the mortality and morbidity it causes.

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