2013 Recipients of the Graduate Certificate in Global Health

Global health has become an inextricable component of modern-day medical, public health, and nursing practices. There are increasing demands for health professionals who can function competently in a global marketplace, who have research or service interests in health problems of developing countries, or who wish to address global manpower inequities through training or service. This interdisciplinary graduate-level certificate program in the study of global health is a vital step in initiating and promoting joint training opportunities in global health between various departments and schools at Vanderbilt. Students fulfilling all requirements will be granted a global health certificate at the time of graduation

Program Information: Vanderbilt University Graduate Certificate in Global Health

Brian Barnett, M.D. will begin the Adult Psychiatry Residency Program at Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean this summer. A native of Augusta, Georgia, Brian received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor of arts in biology and a minor in anthropology. As a Vanderbilt medical student, he developed an interest in global health and spent two months in Nigeria researching patient behaviors when seeking treatment for typhoid fever as part of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Emphasis Program. He was awarded the a Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship in Public Health and spent a year in Lilongwe, Malawi studying multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, HIV non-standard treatment regimens and psychiatric care. In his essay, Truths Found in Lost Time, Dr. Barnett reflects on lessons learned from his time in Malawi.

Edem Kofi Binka, M.D., will continue his medical training as a resident in Pediatrics at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He is originally from Ghana and earned his undergraduate degree from Vassar College with a bachelor of science in physics. As part of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Emphasis Program, he spent two months in Accra, Nigeria researching the rotavirus as a cause of diarrhea among children less than five years of age. He was awarded an International Clinical Research Fellowship from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to spend a year of training in Durban, South Africa. His work focused vitamin D levels and bone health in severely malnourished HIV-infected children initiating HAART. He continued his research in Durban in his fourth year of medical school with support from the Infectious Diseases Society of America Education and Research Foundation.

Katharine Burns, M.D., will join the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Advocate Christ Medical Center. A native of the Chicago area, Katie earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and was active in global health programs as a medical student at Vanderbilt. During a two-month research program at Fundacion INFANT, she studied dengue virus infection in pregnant women in the Northern provinces of Argentina. With support from the Frist Global Health Leaders Program, she completed a fourth-year rotation in Bolivia. In addition, Katie was instrumental in developing a database of opportunities in global health for students.    

Rachel Cooper, M.S.P.H., recently graduated from Meharry Medical College with a master of science in public health. She earned her undergraduate degree in 2011 from the University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelor’s in world arts and cultures. In 2012 she received the Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award from the American Association for Cancer Research. She plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. degree and work as a physician specializing in global health and health disparity research.

Sravan Dhulipala, M.D., will begin the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program at Atlanta Medical Center. Through the Medical Scholars Program at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, he participated in a one year, in-depth research experience at the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation in Chennai, India. He contributed to an ongoing study on the impact of a lifestyle intervention program to prevent diabetes among pre-diabetic patients. In addition, he completed a project assessing the clinical profile of patients with type 2 diabetes for longer than 40 years duration.

Matthew Gartland, M.D., will continue his medical training at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program. A native of New Jersey, Matt attended Harvard University and spent eighteen months working for the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative in Kenya before beginning his medical degree at Vanderbilt. Through the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Emphasis Program, Matt returned to Africa to study obstacles to the access and delivery of maternal health care in north-central Liberia. He was named a Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar, and spent a year in Lusaka, Zambia researching the impact of universal access to antiretroviral therapy on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV with a second area of focus on patient retention and risk factors for drop-out among all adults on antiretroviral treatment. Upon his return to campus, he served as co-chair of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health Student Advisory Council.

Allison Martin, M.D., M.P.H., will join the General Surgery Residency Program at the University of Virginia this summer. She earned her bachelor of science in chemistry from the University of Louisville. Following her first year of medical school at Vanderbilt, she spent two months evaluating HIV/AIDS risk behavior among youth in post-conflict Liberia as part of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Emphasis Program. She took leave from her studies at Vanderbilt to earn a master of public health from Harvard University. During that time, she worked in Tanzania with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative on a surgical and anesthesia infrastructure project, assessing surgical delivery capacity in low-income countries. Dr. Martin received the Paula C. Hoos Award in recognition of academic achievement at the VUMC 2013 Class Day Awards.

Sydney Nehrig, M.Ed., recently graduated from Peabody College of Education and Human Development with a master’s degree in International Education Policy and Management. She completed her undergraduate studies at Mercer University before joining Teach for America. During her time at Vanderbilt, Sydney worked as a program evaluation intern for the Lwala Community Alliance, creating and implementing a monitoring and evaluation plan for the organization’s HIV clinical care, maternal and child health, and girls’ education programs in eastern Kenya.    

Ana Nobis, M.D., M.S.P.H., is currently a second year resident in the Department of Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ana earned her medical degree and a master of science in public health from Meharry Medical College, where she also completed the Preventive Medicine residency training program in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. For her master’s thesis, she worked with Hispanic women in the Nashville area to investigate how cultural, linguistic, and health literacy barriers contribute to the disparity of gestational diabetes mellitus.

David Silvestri, M.D., MBA, will continue his training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Emergency Medicine program. A native of Boston, he earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 2007 before beginning his medical studies at Vanderbilt. Dr. Silvestri was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society during his third year of medical training. As part of the Emphasis Program, David travelled to Zambia, where he partnered with a short-term mobile clinic comprised of Zambian and American medical providers to measure HIV prevalence rates detected at the clinic under three types of referral. He also assessed local attitudes and acceptability toward routine HIV testing. He received support through the Medical Scholars Program for a year-long project called the Millennium Development Ride to bicycle across Africa and Asia studying why health care professionals are leaving high-need areas, and ultimately, what can be done to prevent it.

Alyssa Small, M.D., is a graduate of Meharry Medical College. In 2012 she was named a Frist Global Health Leader and spent two and a half months in Ciriboya, Honduras completing a clinical rotation with the California Honduras Institute for Medical and Educational Support and the Primer Hospital Popular Garifuna de Honduras. During her time there, she also undertook a clinical research project, studying the outcomes of self breast exam educational interventions on practices of women in Ciriboya. She previously spent a summer in Barbados studying the caregiver burden associated with HIV.

Nadia Winston, M.S.P.H., is originally from Memphis and earned her undergraduate degree at Rhodes College where she majored in biochemistry and molecular biology. While a student in the Master of Science in Public Health program at Meharry Medical College, she was accepted to the 2012 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy Scholars Program. Her graduate work included an externship at the Research Institute Pelé Pequeno Principe in Curitiba, Brazil. The experience gave her the opportunity to assist with laboratory screenings, survey procedures, research epidemiological disease data to expand research on substances considered carcinogenic and to assist in identifying potential risks to human health in the state of Panama, Brazil. With interests in the epidemiology of infectious and communicable diseases, health program management, and health policy, she hopes to become a nurse practitioner.

Victoria Wurster, M.D., will soon join Cincinnati Children’s Hospital as an intern in the Pediatric Residency Program. A native of Dale City, Virginia, Victoria is a 2008 graduate of the College of William and Mary where she earned her undergraduate degree in neuroscience and history. As part of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Medical Scholars Program, she spent a year working at Fundacion INFANT in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She research focused on “A critical role for T helper 17 cells in enhanced respiratory syncytial virus disease.”