We wish to congratulate our 2018 Graduate Certificate in Global Health recipients!
Eftitan "Efi" Akam, M.D., is a Sudanese immigrant who spent a large portion of her childhood living in the Middle East. She attended Harvard College where she studied Neurobiology and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. At Vanderbilt, Efi trained in various clinical settings including Siloam Family Health Clinic, the Shade Tree Clinic, Jordan University Hospital and Al-Bashir Government Hospital in Amman, Jordan, and in diverse locations within the Palestinian Occupied Territories and Israel. She served on the board of the Global Health Organization and was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honors Society. Upon graduating, Efi plans to pursue a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is interested in addressing health disparities and social determinants of health, both domestically and globally. To that end, she plans to pursue a career in primary care for underserved populations with an emphasis on global health, advocacy, and social justice.
Grace Callahan, M.Ed., studied International Education Policy and Management. She became interested in global health when studying international development and is interested in the intersection between health and education. In pursuing this certificate, she had many opportunities to engage with global health problems through coursework and practical opportunities including working with a diabetes clinic in Guatemala through Project Pyramid and participating in the VIGH Global Health Case Competition. She will be working as an education consultant for a Peabody Special Education research project after graduation.
Dia Chakraborty, M.Ed., studied International Education Policy and Management. Post her experience at the Hult Case Competition and the Turner Family Center treks, she took a keen interest in the global health network. Her interactions with global health partners like PSI, FHI 360, and Chemonics during her summer internship in Washington, D.C. deepened her interest in this field. She plans to return to India soon and work with Menstrual Hygiene management in government.
Miguel Cuj, M.A., completed his degree in Latina American Studies with a focus on health issues. His master's thesis, Maya Memories of the Internal Armed Conflict Health and Nutrition Issues in a Small K'iche Maya Community, uncovers the normalization of institutional violence that limits access to food and healthcare among certain groups in Guatemala. This lack of food access increases inequalities between classes, genders, ethnicities, and other social groups that lead to the marginalization of vulnerable people. This research project used qualitative methods to conduct in-depth interviews with the older (>50 years old) rural Mayan population in Guatemala about effects of the armed conflict on their current health and nutrition status.
Ashley Ehlert, M.A., received her undergraduate degree from Clemson University and subsequently pursued her masters in Interdisciplinary Health Studies at Vanderbilt. While at Vanderbilt, she focused on mental health in military veterans while simultaneously expanding her educational foundation in Global Health. Her interests include mental health, gender equality, and providing care in low-resource settings. Ashley plans to pursue a career in health care and continue working to improve care in resource-limited settings.
Maryam Gul, M.A., studied Economic Development and it was during a research course that she realized the importance of Global Health in the context of International Development. The cusp of Global Health and Education is something that specifically interests her and has been her research focus during graduate school. She hopes to work with an international organization focused on poverty alleviation through health and educational interventions.
Benjamin Li’s, M.D., M.B.A., interest in global health evolved into a passionate mission while at Vanderbilt. He worked on four major projects during his five years at Vanderbilt in the M.D./M.B.A. program. One project delivered eye-glasses to the Nicaragua's only ophthalmology clinic in the country; another, with Primeros Pasos Clinic, delivered health screenings, education, and treatment to underserved communities outside Xela, Guatemala; his third project, in collaboration with the Turner Family Center (TFC) at Vanderbilt’s business school, helped the Mayan Health Alliance develop a business model for a diabetes clinic in Tecpán, Guatemala (which would be the first diabetes clinic in Guatemala); and finally, he started a new global health radiation oncology initiative to improve access to cancer treatments in Guatemala City in collaboration with the INCAN National Center. He was invited to present this global radiation oncology work at the Health Connect South Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and in 2018, was named a TFC Fellow. He attributes the incredible mentorship and support he received at Vanderbilt to be a springboard to act on his initiatives and connect with others around the world. In Ben’s words, “The skills and lessons learned here will undoubtedly make me a more capable physician and leader in societal-scale medicine as I enter radiation oncology residency after graduation, where I hope to continue my mission.”
Adoma Manful, M.P.H., was a David Satcher Public Health Scholar in the Epidemiology track of the Vanderbilt M.P.H. Program. Her research interests include using data for decision-making and assessing socio-contextual determinants of health to improve health outcomes. During her time as a student, she completed her practicum in Accra studying the economic impact of non-communicable diseases in Ghana. Adoma's thesis research explored ways to improve refugee healthcare access in Nashville by assessing factors associated with tuberculosis infection treatment initiation. Originally from Ghana, Adoma received her bachelor of arts in biology from Amherst College and spent several years working in research and data management at the Massachusetts General Hospital Biostatistics Center before joining Vanderbilt University. She hopes to work in Ghana and other African countries after earning her M.P.H.
Beatriz Satizabal, M.A., completed the Medicine, Health and Society masters program. During her time at Vanderbilt, she had the honor and pleasure of learning from an interdisciplinary approach to global health issues, current events, and evolution. After graduation, she will enter the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program at the University of Tennessee, her alma mater, where she will conduct research as a research assistant.
Shuyang Wang, M.Ed., completed her degree in Child Studies. As the first student in her program to pursue the Graduate Certificate in Global Health, she is thankful that, “she received enormous support from VIGH and my program director Vicki Harris.” Shuyang continues, “It has been a wonderful journey, with very exciting and enlightening courses, and various on- and off-campus activities. This certificate program enables me to work very confidently in the global context, and contribute meaningfully to the lives of many children and families.”
Shunyu Yao, M.Ed., studied International Education Policy and Management and his interests include economics and various issues in public policy. He is interested in global health because it is a major focus of most policy interventions in developing countries. He believes the best solution to most issues in developing economies is individual liberty and a free market. After graduation, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in economics and eventually become a scholar in a free-market think tank.