Graduate Certificate in Global Health Alumni

Click here for more information on the Graduate Certificate in Global Health.


Taiye Winful, PhD, entered the anthropology PhD program at Vanderbilt in the Fall of 2018. Previously, she completed a bachelor's degree in molecular biology from Loyola University Chicago and a MA degree in anthropology from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Broadly, her interests are centered around understanding how life experiences translate into physiological systems and the biocultural impacts of stress on health. She also has an interest in translating her anthropological skills to global health issues to further address health disparities and sustainability initiatives. Taiye plans to stay involved at VIGH as a member of the Student Advisory Council.
Andria N. Li, MD, attended the University of Virginia for undergrad, where she developed her passion for global health through a water filtration project in Guatemala. In her time at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, she has served as co-president of the Global Health Organization and the Global Surgery Student Alliance as well as a World Health Week Coordinator. She worked with the Lwala Community Alliance and research contraception usage and behavior in Migori County, Kenya. She has been selected to receive the 2024 Sten H. Vermund Award for Excellence in Global Health. After graduation, she will begin her residency in Urology at the University of Michigan. 
Gloria Nashed Mina, MD, completed a global health certificate while pursuing her MD Degree at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. During her time at Vanderbilt, Gloria spent one month in Kijabe, Kenya where she participated in the anesthetic and perioperative care of patients having surgery. She also piloted a quality improvement project where she helped analyze the hospital's compliance with published Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols for Cesarean deliveries. She presented her work in a poster at the Vanderbilt Department of Anesthesiology's 18th Annual Research Symposium. The poster was also presented at the Kenyan Society of Anesthesiologists 30th Annual Scientific Conference in Ukunda, Kenya. In her other course work, Gloria also did rotations at Siloam Clinic as well as Vanderbilt's Children Primary Care Clinic Smyrna, both of which see a significant number of the refugee and immigrant patient population in Nashville. Post graduation, Gloria intends to pursue residency training in anesthesiology with a long-term career goal of mission trips and service in under-resourced settings.
Zhizhen Liu, MEd, completed a master's degree student in International Education Policy and Management. She is driven by a passion for creating positive change at the intersection of education policy, social justice, and public health in low-resource settings. With a deep commitment to addressing inequities and promoting holistic well-being, Zhizhen's academic journey is guided by a desire to leverage education as a powerful tool for improving health outcomes and fostering sustainable development worldwide. In the future, Zhizhen will work with a multidisciplinary approach, drawing insights from education policy, public health, sociology, and international development. By synthesizing knowledge from diverse fields, she aims to develop comprehensive solutions that address the interconnected challenges facing vulnerable populations. 
Gianna Ferrara, MPH, graduated from the Masters of Public Health program from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Before joining the MPH program, Gianna received her BA in Biological Sciences with a minor in Economics from Connecticut College. Gianna's thesis research explores the association between household secondhand smoke exposure and subsequent wheezing and asthma outcomes in infants. While at Vanderbilt, Gianna worked with Lwala Community Alliance to research COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among a rural Kenyan population, as well as a variety of other projects. She worked with the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) at VUMC throughout her two years in graduate school on the respiratory surveillance team. On campus, Gianna was a member of VIGH SAC and served as an abstract reader for the Global Health Symposium. She participated in Project Pyramid through Vanderbilt Owen School of Business, serving as an international consultant for an NGO based in Antigua, Guatemala. Gianna plans to pursue a career in public health in the New York metro-area.


headshotNicolás Prada-Rey graduated with a master‘s degree in the Medicine, Health, and Society 4+1 program. He received his bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University in Spring of 2022, after majoring in MHS and Spanish & Portuguese and minoring in French. Motivated by his vested interest in the accessibility of healthcare, his research interests include health disparities and health services, as well as immigration status and language proficiency as determinants of health. Nicolás's thesis investigates how the Project Access model of care addresses healthcare disparities and breaks down barriers to care through a case study of Project Access Nashville Specialty Care, a healthcare equity nonprofit that provides a coordinated system of care to low-income, uninsured residents of greater Nashville. Exploring this data will show how immigration status, limited English proficiency, low income, and lack of health insurance do not need to be barriers to care in the US. Upon graduating, Nicolás hopes to pursue a profession in global health to address current and emerging global health challenges in foreign, resource-constrained settings by applying his research and analytical skills to evaluate global health interventions in Lusophone and Francophone countries. Afterwards, Nicolás intends to return to school to obtain his doctoral degree and become a university professor in global health.    

headshotMengling Hu graduated with an M.Ed. from the International Education Policy and Management Program. She is passionate about student well-being and creating an environment that promotes long-term learning. Throughout her time at Vanderbilt University, she has actively engaged in initiatives that aim to improve the overall campus experience for students, including collaborating with student organizations and university departments to promote diversity and inclusion, and develop programs that foster personal and academic growth. After graduation, she plans to work in higher education to continue her work on promoting student well-being and building learning environments that encourage long-term success. She hopes to apply her global health experiences to address health disparities and promote health equity among underserved communities worldwide. Mengling's long-term career goals include working in leadership positions to drive change in education and healthcare systems, with a focus on promoting social justice and improving health outcomes for all individuals.

headshotYuting Lu graduated with an M.Ed. from the International Education Policy and Management Program at Peabody College, where she explored her research interests in social justice and equity, particularly in addressing educational disparities in low-resource areas. She recognized the close relationship between global education and global health and sought to deepen her understanding of both fields to inform her future research in the sociology.



headshotSarah Walker graduated from the Community Development and Action Program with her M.Ed. from Vanderbilt's Peabody College. Her focus was on International Development and the role that global health plays in communities around the world. Sarah is a native Texan who completed her BA at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, and then worked with an international development group in Spain for several years before making her way to Vanderbilt. She is excited to continue learning and growing in whatever role comes next!



headshotCitlali Padilla fulfilled the Global Health Certificate while completing her Master's in Theological Studies. During her time at Vanderbilt, she focused on ethical issues within healthcare. The Global Health Program has helped her discern an interdisciplinary approach to achieving better access to healthcare. As an Interprofessional Fellow of the Cal Turner for Moral Leadership, she has worked with Medical, Midwife, and Business students to navigate the socio-moral concerns related to post-partum depression. She hopes to work with Latinx communities to address needs as it relates to the global health context.    




headshotAlexander Mina, MD, thoroughly enjoyed his  involvement with VIGH throughout medical school. He started with three months of research immersion with a focus on central line associated bloodstream infections in rural Kenya. At that time, he  also completed three months of quality improvement where he investigated causes for prolonged fasting in children undergoing elective surgery. Through this research, he was able to implement central bundles and use evidence-based medicine and research to change the policy for fasting prior to surgery. He spent over four months on site in Kijabe, Kenya through his global health AE and ISC medical school courses as well as his research immersion and quality improvement time. He will begin his journey in pursuit of global and pediatric surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston for the next seven years.

headshotJeffrey W Chen, MD, completed his undergraduate degree at Princeton University where his interest in global health was sparked after working with the Oxford Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam researching the epidemiology of Central Nervous System (CNS) infections. At Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Jeffrey's interest in neurotrauma and global neurosurgery led him to do a rotation at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana where he helped create the neurotrauma registry. He will pursue neurosurgery training at Baylor College of Medicine within the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, with long-term goals of expanding access to neurosurgical training and care domestically and abroad.    




headshotEki Olumese, MD, MPhil, attended Southern Methodist University for undergrad, where she developed her interest in the medical humanities. After college, she studied Health, Medicine and Society at the University of Cambridge, completing her dissertation in History of Medicine; specifically, she studied health policies in 20th century Sierra Leone and the way they shaped Sierra Leone's contemporary healthcare system. As a medical student, Eki has served as Co-President of the Social Mission committee, SNMA Academic advisor and URM recruitment coordinator, and was selected to be an SNMA global health fellow. She also completed her research immersion project in Pediatric Emergency Triage in Kenema, Sierra Leone. In March 2023, Eki was invited to give a lecture as a part of a monthly Flexner Lecture series on Decolonizing Global Health as a Trainee. In medical school, Eki has received a VIGH travel grant for research in Sierra Leone; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. award for working to enhance the economic and health status of individuals; and the Levi Watkins award for contributions to diversity equity and inclusion. She was also inducted as a member of the Gold Humanism society. After graduating from medical school this summer, Eki will begin Emergency Medicine Residency at the University of Chicago.
headshotJacob Lorber, MPH, graduated from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine's Master of Public Health program with a concentration in Health Policy. During his time at VUSM, Jacob's work focused primarily on improving health access and services for at-risk, immigrant, and refugee populations. He worked with the Tennessee Office for Refugees to improve health education programs for newly resettled individuals and families with the goal of enabling them to live independent, sustainable lives in their new communities. He also worked with Siloam Health, which provides medical screenings to refugees, immigrants, and low-income communities in the Nashville area, to build and implement a program evaluation plan for refugee medical screening services. As Jacob leaves the Vanderbilt community, he hopes to continue to bridge the gap between global health, domestic health policy, and community health initiatives.    



headshotKalika Likhi graduated with a Masters in Economics (Economic Development) at Vanderbilt University and also pursued a Graduate Certificate in Global Health. While at Vanderbilt, Kalika and her team placed second in the 2022 VIGH Global Health Case Competition. After graduation, Kalika will be working for the Competition and Antitrust vertical of a boutique economic consulting firm, where she hopes to gain experience working with Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals industry clients.




headshotChesley Ekelem, MD, graduated from Harvard with a bachelor's degree in Biology and Global Health & Health Policy. During and after college, she completed projects in Madagascar, Panama, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea. She also spent a year in Botswana and South Africa learning about HIV patient care. Furthermore, she served as an ambassador in Taiwan while studying Mandarin and taught for a year in Martinique while developing working proficiency in French. As a medical student at Vanderbilt, Chesley received an NIH Fogarty Global Health Fellowship and a Vanderbilt Medical Scholar award to conduct research at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research in Lagos. Her research helped develop a mobile app designed to improve viral suppression and social support among Nigerian adolescents living with HIV. Chesley is excited to continue promoting global health equity through research and practice during her psychiatry residency at Stanford.
headshotDaniel Wrocherinsky, MA, is motivated by his background in American health inequities and politics from his undergraduate degree in Medicine, Health, and Society and Political Science at Vanderbilt University. He intends to interrogate how to generate enough political mobilization to tackle environmental, economic, and racial inequities. Inspired by Jonathan Metzl's work in "Dying of Whiteness," Daniel aims to further understand the sentiments of white working-class (WWC) voters. Despite the widespread harm inflicted on the WWC by government policies and their shared material interests with the rest of the working class, Progressives have difficulty capturing a supermajority of their support. In his research, Daniel conducted the first quantitative survey and analysis of resistance to American Progressive politics, exploring the gap between widespread support for progressive economic policies and vast disapproval of contemporary Progressivism. In collaboration with Dr.Metzl, Daniel's research highlights the main issue holding the WWC back from support is a distrust in Progressive's ability to govern without hurting or exploiting working class economic circumstances. This led Daniel to investigate evidence based sustainable trust building initiatives on disaffected populations through a lens of personnel and resource limitation. This research spans anti-corruption campaigns, medical research efforts, and social movements. This research provides value to global health initiatives that often face the challenge of building trust in disaffected populations. After graduating, Daniel will continue his work in labor organizing for economic justice for those most vulnerable. 

headshotKyle Hart, MPH, was introduced to the global health certificate when he first started the program. He had the opportunity to connect with excellent global health practitioners, including Dr. Moon, Dr. Audet, and Dr. Aliyu. These mentors increased his knowledge of global health and community engagement skills. Kyle’s future plans include going to medical school and working with rural communities throughout the world. He also wants to do research with these communities to improve health outcomes and access to care.



Megan Croly
Megan Croly was a student in the Graduate Program for Economic Development. Before arriving at Vanderbilt, she received her B.A. in Economics and B.A. in Government & Politics, with a minor in Global Poverty from the University of Maryland, College Park. During her time at Vanderbilt, she interned at the Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health. She also participated in the Global Health Case Competition in 2021 and 2022. After graduation, Megan aims to find a research job, specifically relating to economic development and global health.

Kate Jensen
Kate Jensen’s global health endeavors began as a child growing up in Thailand, yet her experience continued to be molded through her graduate studies at Vanderbilt. During her master's program, she was able to expand her perspective of global health through serving as vice president for Volunteers Around the World, competing in the annual VIGH Case Competition (and placing second with her team), and interning with Dr. Troy Moon and colleagues\ in Mozambique.

Nicole Kloosterman
Nicole Kloosterman was born and raised in Miami, Florida, received her Bachelor degree from the University of Miami in Neuroscience and Public Health, and entered medical school at Vanderbilt University in 2018. During medical school, she analyzed the costs of a hearing screening program in Malindi, Kenya with a focus on expanding services to school aged children in the region for which she received the 3rd place Charles Ferguson Award. She also participated in a month-long otolaryngology rotation at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana. She is pursuing residency training in otolaryngology, with a long-term goal of a career that includes sustainable global surgery and education initiatives.

Zi Wei “Alice” Liao
Alice Liao’s global health engagement at Vanderbilt includes administering the Vanderbilt Global Pain Survey in Monrovia, Liberia and performing a systematic review and meta-analysis on the prevalence of pediatric chronic pain in low-and-middle income countries. She hopes to become an anesthesiologist suitable for practicing in a variety of settings around the world.

Mallory McKeon
Mallory McKeon graduated from the Vanderbilt School of Medicine in May 2022. Before attending Vanderbilt, she graduated from Columbia University and spent two years conducting clinical research at Boston Children's Hospital. She was first introduced to global health through the lens of marine biology and quickly became enthralled by the intersection of climate change and human health. At Vanderbilt, she has continued to explore these interests working with the Head & Neck Global Outreach Team. Their mission is to achieve equitable surgical education for head and neck surgeons, globally. As a part of this, Mallory conducted a feasibility study examining the practicality of virtual educational resources focused in head and neck ultrasound. Her adaptability and innovation have transformed the approach to surgical mission trips by providing a foundation for "flipped classroom" style teaching during future surgical training camps with the Head & Neck Global Outreach Team. She is eager to apply the lessons learned through this global health certificate during her residency training and beyond.

Emily Morrow
Emily Morrow is a speech-language pathologist who completed her Graduate Certificate in Global Health while pursuing her Ph.D. in Hearing and Speech Sciences. She is committed to advocating for individuals with cognitive disability, especially related to traumatic brain injury, in healthcare and policy settings. During her Ph.D. program, she focused on increasing public brain injury awareness and provided outreach to college students, older adults, and staff at domestic violence shelters. She has received funding from the National Institutes of Health for her research in traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. After graduation, she plans to complete a post-doctoral fellowship focused on improving long-term care for individuals with chronic traumatic brain injury.

Sarah Pourali
After receiving her bachelor's degree is Cell and Molecular Biology from Tulane University in 2017, Sarah Pourali earned her Doctor of Medicine from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. While a medical student, Sarah spent a month in Amman, Jordan doing clinical work in dermatology. She plans to pursue a career in global health dermatology.

Kia Kelia Quinlan
Kia Quinlan is originally from Atlanta, though both of her parents are from St. Kitts, where her interest in global health first began. She explored the field in college through work in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Namibia. She graduated from Yale with a BS in psychology in 2016. At Vanderbilt, she completed a dual MD/MBA degree and pursue global health through coursework and field work in Guatemala and St. Kitts. Kia spent a month in St. Kitts to learn more about medical care, health policy, and the business of health on the island. In 2021, her team won first place in the Vanderbilt University Global Health Case Competition. After graduation, she will attend pediatric residency and then pursue her ultimate career goal of creating a children's hospital in St. Kitts.

Dongying Tao
Dongying Tao completed her Master of Education in International Education Policy and Management at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development, where she discovered her passion for multidisciplinary research and earned her graduate certificate in Global Health. Her research focused on impact evaluation and benchmark studies. During her time at Vanderbilt, she worked with the University of California Davis as an evaluator for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. In the field of public health, she worked with the University of Notre Dame as a data manager in the COVID Border Accountability Project and contributed to a published dataset in Nature Portfolio's Scientific Data. After graduation, she plans to work as a policy researcher.

Kehan Yu
Kehan Yu graduated with a Master of Arts in Economic Development. Through her time in the program, she studied international trade and its effects on global health. She also completed HIV related research on community and individual levels. She is pursing a PhD in economics with specialized field in health economics.



Audrey Robertson
Audrey Robertson, MSN, RN, completed a Graduate Certificate in Global Health while completing an MSN with Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. Prior to attending Vanderbilt, she majored in global health and anthropology at Mercer University in Georgia where she collaborated with Upendo Daimo. This organization, located in Tanzania, provides shelter and education for homeless children, implementing educational material related to health, drug and alcohol prevention, first aid, and the English language. While at Vanderbilt, she developed and implemented educational and patient discharge materials covering diabetes with the aim of improving Guyana's Georgetown Public Hospital Emergency Department (GGPHED) personnel's knowledge of diabetic crisis. Additionally, she participated in Vanderbilt's Global Health Case Competition to develop a high-quality and cost-efficient system that addressed maternal healthcare needs in Abuja's internally displaced persons (IDP) camps located in Nigeria. The proposed system took into account existing resources in IDP camps and directly combatted urgent challenges to adequate maternal health. After graduation, she plans to work in the critical care setting as an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and eventually collaborate in policy. She is interested in pursuing opportunities with global health research and implementation to promote health outcomes and equity for vulnerable populations, specifically in the Caribbean.

Yasmina Haddad
Yasmina Haddad, M.Ed., graduated from the Peabody School of Education and Human Development from the International Education Policy and Management program. During her time in graduate school, Yasmina worked with Pencils of Promise, a for-purpose organization that works across the globe to achieve education for all. She also worked with the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), a network for practitioners who support education in emergency contexts. In both roles, Yasmina pulled from her global health knowledge to encourage an inter-disciplinary approach whenever possible. Yasmina also  competed in the 2020 Global Health Case Competition alongside some  classmates from her global health classes. In the future, Yasmina hopes to continue on in the field of international education as a researcher and, perhaps someday, as a professor.

Sehee Jeon
Sehee Jeon is pursuing her M.Ed. in International Education Policy and Management at Peabody College. While at Vanderbilt, she has engaged in global health through various interdisciplinary coursework, developing interests in  global health themes such as child nutrition, infectious disease, and displaced population. In particular, she has gained deeper knowledge in the mental health status of refugee women in Nashville by conducting qualitative research at Catholic Charities of Tennessee. She is also working with Cocoa360, a non-profit organization based in Ghana. She has supported this organization's research on the effectiveness of their COVID-19 intervention which features community health education as a core aspect. Through this work, she has once again realized how impactful the role of education can be in improving health. Based on these valuable experiences, she hopes to work for an organization that aims to improve the education and health of marginalized students and teachers in underdeveloped/developing countries, focusing on program evaluation.

Rebecca Silvers
Rebecca Silvers, DNP, completed the certificate of Global Health while pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). She is committed to cultivating evidence on nursing education and training programs in resource-limited settings, specifically in the field of pediatrics and critical care. Through her DNP fieldwork, she completed the project Capacity Building in Northern Laos: An Evaluation of the Pediatric Nursing Training Program at Lao Friends Hospital for Children. In this project, Rebecca assessed the nursing training program development and implementation as it related to cultural competency integration and sustainability. She is currently a pediatric critical care and neurosurgery nurse practitioner at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Benioff Children's Hospitals. She also teaches at the UCSF School of Nursing. Rebecca is currently collaborating on various projects through the UCSF Anesthesia Division of Global Health as a member of the Respiratory Care Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and Critical Care Education Group for the USAID COVID-19 pandemic response. Over the last fifteen years, Rebecca has worked with various academic organizations, NGOs, and Ministries of Health abroad to build clinical capacity.  After graduation, she will continue to expand upon her work in pediatric and critical care education and training with the UCSF Institute of Global Health.

Abigail Vetter
As a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Abigail Burkett Vetter, DNP, certified in both acute care and primary care, worked to improve adolescent healthcare for the indigenous Maya population in rural Belize, Central America through education and provision of culturally competent care. She worked closely with Hillside Healthcare International in the development of their sexual education program. After graduation, she plans to continue her work in Belize and expand her programming to other areas in Central America and Africa. She will continue to include both undergraduate and graduate level nursing students in her global health work to assist expanding the understanding of global health principles and concepts.

Sai Rajagopalan
Originally from Southern India, Sai received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in Dynamics and Control theory from The Ohio State University. He  worked as a staff researcher in propulsion control systems at General Motors Research and Development Center in Warren, MI before matriculation into Medical School at Vanderbilt. At Vanderbilt, he was able to travel to Guatemala with Dr. Brent Savoie as a part of the MIDP program. He is a winner of the MIT-COVID19 challenge and is working in South Africa to implement a technological solution towards sustaining pre-natal primary care during the pandemic and beyond. He plans to pursue residency followed by a clinical career that also includes systems and devices innovation for low-resource settings.

Shaloma Taylor
Shaloma Taylor is a  a Nurse-Midwifery MSN graduate with a post-master's certificate in Family Nurse Practice. After spending the majority of her undergraduate career on Active Duty with the Navy as a hospital corpsman, she chose to get her graduate certificate in Global Health. During that time, she deployed and served several humanitarian missions in Africa and the Middle East. As a current Navy Reservist, she hopes to continue to go on missions to help in low-resource settings. Her plan with Vanderbilt University is to work with the Lwala Community Alliance after graduation, with a long-term goal of working in Medicines San Frontiers as a Nurse-Midwife. She is specifically interested in maternal-child health initiatives for people living with HIV and AIDS both inside and outside of the United States. She is looking forward to a long and interesting career in many settings, and the training in global health that she gained during her nursing program has prepared her for her future endeavors.

Taiye Winful
Taiye Winful, MA, joined the anthropology Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt in the Fall of 2018. Previously, she completed a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Loyola University Chicago, and a  master’s degree in anthropology from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Broadly, her interests are centered around understanding how life experiences  affect physiological systems, along with  the biocultural impacts of stress on health. She has an interest in translating her anthropological skills to global health issues to further address health disparities and sustainability initiatives. Taiye plans to stay involved at VIGH as a member of the Student Advisory Council.

Andrew Rees
Andrew Rees  earned a certificate in global health while completing his Doctor of Medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He spent a month doing clinical work in Lima, Peru and worked with international colleagues doing research on medical education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Andrew is passionate about contributing to global health and hopes to pursue a career in global surgery  after completing residency training in orthopaedic surgery at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Catherine Zivanov, MD
After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama in 2016, Catherine Zivanov earned her Doctor of Medicine from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. While in medical school, Catherine earned her certificate in global health. She also became involved in several surgery organizations, leading the General Surgery Interest Group on campus. She is now completing her surgical residency at the Washington University in St. Louis.

Sean T. Berkowitz, M.D., MBA
After receiving his bachelor’s in science from Duke University, Sean T. Berkowitz, M.D., MBA, completed his Doctor of Medicine from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, earning his certificate in global health while there. Following medical school, Sean completed his Master of Business administration from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate school of management. Sean currently works as a scientific operations associate at Cogentis Therapeutics, a neuro startup focused on developing a drug for Alzheimer’s disease.

Rebecca Silvers, DNP
Rebecca Lauren Silvers, DNP, is currently a pediatric critical care and neurosurgery nurse practitioner with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and health care industry. Specifically, Silvers graduated in 2021 with a Doctor of Nursing Practice, a certificate in Global Health, and received the Founder’s Medal from Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing. After working with Project Hope in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and caring for Haiti’s most injured children in a pediatric critical care unit, Silvers realized she wanted to be part of long-term global solutions, not just crisis response. She recently joined the University of California San Francisco Anesthesia Division of Global Health as part of the Respiratory Care Technical Advisory Group and Critical Care Education Group as the nurse lead on the team for USAID COVID-19 pandemic response. She intends to continue her clinical practice at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, faculty position at UCSF School of Nursing, and global health development work with the UCSF Institute of Global Health. Ultimately, she hopes to continue exploring long-term, sustainable solutions through nursing education and empowerment of local providers in resource-limited settings.

Jacob T. Ramsey, M.D
Jacob Ramsey, MD, attended the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine after receiving a bachelor's degree in pharmaceutical sciences from Purdue University. While at VUSM, Jacob was an advisory board member for the Vanderbilt LGBTQ Community, as well as a member of the New Medical Student Orientation committee. Jacob also served as a Spanish translator at Shade Tree Clinic, a free clinic for underserved patients, before spending one month in Guatemala to improve his proficiency of the language and his awareness of Central American culture.

Lin Ammar, MPH
After receiving her Bachelors of Science from The George Washington University, Lin Ammar, MPH, earned her Masters of Public Health at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine. At Vanderbilt, Ammar participated in the Region IV Pathways to Practice Scholars Field Placement Program, which provides opportunities for current public health students to gain practical experience working with seasoned public health practitioners serving or working on behalf of underserved communities or populations. With this program, she worked with the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the Tennessee Department of Health and helped inform the council on steps to address income equality during COVID-19. Currently, she is working as a graduate research assistant at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, surveilling hospitalized and laboratory confirmed cases of Influenza and COVID-19 as part of the CDC Emerging Infections Program.

Yujia Ji, GPED
After studying International Economics and Trade at Beijing Language and Culture University, Yujia Ji participated in research focusing on the relationship between human capital and economic growth rate at Peking University. She continued her studies at Vanderbilt University’s Graduate Program in Economic Development (GPED) while simultaneously receiving a graduate certificate in Global Health. During her time at Vanderbilt, she traveled to Costa Rica to meet with social workers and beneficiaries in the Acosta region and implement social programs with the Joint Social Aid Institute. She also completed data analysis and evaluation of PEER Liberia Faculty Development Program and ISC Course. Yujia hopes to work for an international aid organization in her future.


  • Magaela Bethune, Ph.D.

    Magaela C. Bethune is completing a Ph.D. in the Community Research and Action program in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University. Her research looks at the role of adolescent media use and engagement in the sexual socialization, behaviors, and health of youth and young adults at intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. While at Vanderbilt, she has coordinated or collaborated on several research projects, including the Pathways to African American Success preventive intervention program with Vanderbilt's Center for Research on Rural Families and Communities, which promotes parent-child communication to reduce sexual risk engagement in rural African American youth. She also worked as the study coordinator in the Center for Health Services Research at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, evaluating the usability of a web-delivered, medication adherence promotion intervention for type-2 diabetes patients. Dr. Bethune will join the faculty at Loyola Marymount University as an assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies, beginning in fall 2020.

  • Hannah Carlile, M.Ed.

    Hannah S. Carlile is pursuing an M.Ed. in International Education Policy and Management, but loves everything interdisciplinary because she appreciates problem solving from systems thinking. As such,  she is completing graduate certificates in both Global Health and Caribbean and Latin American Studies. Hannah is a Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) Fellow, which has given her deeper insight into Caribbean cultures and languages, especially Haitian Creole. She was also a Fellow with Columbia University's Center for Public Research and Leadership, serving as a student education research consultant for a semester on Bill and Melinda Gates new Networks for School Improvement initiative.

  • Rian Djita, M.Ed.

    Rian Djita is a Fulbright student from Indonesia (2018-2020) pursuing his master's degree at Peabody College of Education and Human Development (Vanderbilt University) by majoring in International Education Policy and Management. Outside of education policy, Rian’s interests include program evaluation and improving access to health care, particularly in difficult contexts, leading him to pursue the Graduate Certificate in Global Health Global Health Certificate through the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH). During his time at Vanderbilt, he worked as a Research Assistant at Peabody on the Policies for Action research project with Professor Carolyn Heinrich that aims to address the health and education needs of vulnerable children in Tennessee. In spring 2020, he received a research fellowship from Columbia University’s Center for Public Research and Leadership to research schools with students from low-income households. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. upon graduation in International Education Policy / Comparative Education.

  • Larry Aaron Ferguson, M.A.

    Larry Ferguson received his BA in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2018 with a minor in Business Management. During his time at Vanderbilt, he engaged with a course through the Economics Department which involved policy analysis work in Chile with a concentration on multidimensional poverty and access to healthcare through their program "Chile Solidario". He intends to enroll in a Health Policy Ph.D. immediately following graduation, with the intent to focus on mental health policy. His primary goal is to work as a health policy researcher, stationed in D.C.

  • Shelby Gamble, MSN - AGACNP

    Shelby Gamble, MSN, RN, completed a Graduate Certificate in Global Health while completing a MSN (Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner - Intensivist Focus) at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She also received a Bachelor of Science from the University of California, Berkeley in Nutritional Science and Dietetics. While at Vanderbilt, Shelby had the opportunity to develop a quality improvement project to address burnout, trauma-informed care, and self-care among emergency department nurses in Guyana. After graduation, she plans to work in the critical care setting as an Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and eventually complete a DNP degree. She is interested in pursuing opportunities to teach other nurses abroad, and to produce global health research to promote quality improvement in low resource settings.

  • Ashley Hill, M.Ed.

    Ashley Hill is completing her M.Ed. in International Education Policy and Management at Peabody. While at Vanderbilt, she has engaged in global health through the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health's Student Advisory Committee (SAC). Through her work with SAC, she was able to work on the Global Health Case Competition committee and co-chair the 2020 Global Health Symposium. She also found interesting ways to merge her interest in global health with her international education coursework - one of her favorite projects to date is a blog that encompasses articles on international education, global health, and economic and human development within the continent of Africa. Ashley completed a summer practicum in Ghana with an organization that provides tuition-free education and improved health services to rural communities. In addition, she aided in program implementation and improving the financial stability of an organization in Guatemala through Project Pyramid. She hopes to work within the continent of Africa, with a focus on monitoring and evaluation.

  • Frances C. Knight, Ph.D

    Frances C. Knight completed the certificate in global health while working on her graduate degree in biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt. While her Ph.D. research focused on the development and characterization of nanoparticle-based pulmonary vaccines for protecting against respiratory infections, her work on the global health certificate provided a means to connect her lab research to potential applications in public health. The certificate's courses allowed her to gain an understanding of the practical aspects of implementing new technologies and interventions in low-resource settings, and led her to become interested in global health policy development. 

  • Didi Odinkemelu, M.D.

    Didi Odinkemelu says that her involvement with the Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health (VIGH) has been nothing short of exciting. She spent a summer in Liberia, working with Liberian nurse anesthetists to better understand the challenges in training anesthesiology providers in the country. She reports that her mentors at VIGH continue to go above and beyond to support her interests. Didi says it has been truly inspiring to learn from and alongside people who walk the walk of true global health partnership, and are equally committed to ensuring better health for humans around the world. She is currently applying into anesthesiology residency, and global health will be a central focus of her future work.


  • Sharo Costa, M.Ed.

    Sharo Costa received a Masters of Education in International Education Policy and Management at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development. In the summer of 2018, she interned with the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, where she worked on development and implementation of a mentorship program for junior and senior faculty at the University of Zambia and briefly assisted with a faculty development project at the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine in Liberia. In the long-term, she is interested in exploring risk and protective factors related to equity and access to education and health (particularly, mental health) among children in traditionally marginalized communities worldwide.

  • Sam Edwards, M.A.

    Sam Edwards fulfilled the requirements for a Master's of Arts in Medicine, Health, & Society. A native of Toledo, Ohio, Sam is a 2018 graduate of the Vanderbilt University with a B.A. in Medicine, Health, & Society. During his undergraduate career, Sam worked in Global Health regards through service trips to Jamaica and Nicaragua as well as academically, via a comparative healthcare systems course, in France. As a graduate student, his global health knowledge increased through academic study in global health topics such as HIV/AIDS, socio-cultural, economic, and political considerations of global health inequities, as well as leadership and management in global health companies. Sam will be joining the Peace Corps as a Rural Family Health Educator in Belize after graduation to apply his new knowledge for the betterment of the needy across the world.

  • Jessica Howard, M.Ed.

    Jessica Howard received her M.Ed. in the International Education Policy & Management program at Peabody. Before coming to Vanderbilt, she worked for eight years in Central Asia, initially as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan, and later working in research and program development with non-profit and corporate social investment initiatives. At Peabody, she worked as assistant coordinator for the Humphrey Fellowship Program for visiting education professionals from around the world, and also worked to support first-year students through the Peer Career Mentor program. Jessica and her team were first-place winners of the Vanderbilt Global Health Case Competition in 2018. Post-graduation, Jessica hopes to continue working with non-formal education programs in low-resource communities.

  • Johan Kasim, M.A.

    Johan Zulkarnain Kasim completed the Graduate Program in Development Economics. Through one of his global health courses, he had the opportunity to take part in the 2019 International Global Health Case Competition in Emory University, Atlanta, representing Vanderbilt University. He worked on several projects related to cigarettes tax policy and child nutrition, while he was in the program. Upon completion of his degree, he went back to his office as Fiscal Analyst in the Ministry of Finance of Indonesia. He hopes he can formulate a better fiscal policy to improve health quality in Indonesia.

  • James Leathers, MD

    James Leathers received his Doctor of Medicine degree at Vanderbilt University. His early work with underserved communities, in combination with his Latino heritage and Spanish language proficiency, led him to global health. Over the last four years, James has spent nearly 14 months in Latin America, in both clinical and research settings. Between his third and fourth years of medical school, he completed a Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellowship, where he worked in the public hospital system in Cordoba, Argentina. James has also spent time in Nicaragua and Chile, and plans to continue his work abroad as he prepares for a career in emergency medicine.

  • Mingke Li, M.A.

    Mingke Li received her masters in the Graduate Program in Economic Development. She graduated from Babson College in 2012 and worked in the mobile health industry for a few years before coming to Vanderbilt for her graduate studies. During her time at Vanderbilt, she has completed the Global Health certificate and participated in the Global Health Case Competition. As a member of the VIGH SAC, she was also actively involved in organizing the Global Health Symposium and other events.  After graduation, she will go back to her home country and continue to develop her career in the healthcare industry.

  • Jordan Moody, M.A.

    Jordan Moody, MA, completed the Certificate in Global Health while earning her MA in the Social Foundations of Health through the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society. Her interests include the intersections between social justice, faith communities, and public and global health interventions. Upon completion of her degree, she hopes to use her knowledge gained at Vanderbilt to pursue a career that is dedicated to improving population-based health.

  • Elizabeth Schaubert, MSN

    Elizabeth Schaubert graduated from the PNP-PC program with a global health certificate. She completed several independent studies and projects through this global health program that she says have equipped her for her dream job of caring for immigrant, refugee and generally underserved children, which abound even within her own community of the greater Washington, D.C. area. She plans to continue working or volunteering in a global capacity throughout her career and she is grateful for the training and resources she received through this certificate program.

  • Shailja Shah, MD

    Shailja C. Shah, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. During her gastroenterology fellowship at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, Shailja developed a deep interest in understanding etiologies for the marked racial/ethnic disparity characterizing gastric cancer epidemiology, especially in the US. Although the US is overall considered a low incidence country, racial/ethnic minorities and some immigrant groups are at a disproportionately high risk, with rates mirroring those in endemic countries globally. As such, these groups might benefit from targeted gastric cancer prevention and early detection efforts, such as endoscopic screening and surveillance, which do not routinely occur in the US. Shailja's work in global health is focused on defining the epidemiology and burden of gastric cancer among racial/ethnic minorities and immigrant groups, along with adjunct risk determinants, in order to appropriately define the scope of the problem and direct resource allocation/research efforts. Her goal is to construct the evidence profiles needed to inform the implementation of a targeted gastric cancer prevention and early detection program in the US for high risk groups. 

  • Hope Wiggs, M.Ed.

    Hope Wiggs received her Master of Education degree in International Policy and Management at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development. During her time at Vanderbilt, she was able to incorporate global health into her coursework and her practicum experience. She completed her practicum at the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH.) This allowed her to experience the intersection of education and global health in a real-world setting. While at VIGH she had the opportunity to work with Vanderbilt faculty and faculty from around the world working to improve health outcomes. After graduation, Hope plans to work in the field of research studying how education and health interact and impact communities

  • Elsa Young, M.A.

    Elsa Young received her master's degree in the Social Foundations of Health program from the Vanderbilt Center for Medicine, Health, and Society. She is primarily interested in the social determinants of malnutrition and the intersection between agriculture and nutrition. As part of her master's degree, Elsa completed a practicum with Mani+, a social enterprise in Guatemala which combats malnutrition by pairing the provision of a nutrient-fortified food product with education and agricultural support services. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career that increases access to healthcare and good nutrition for marginalized populations.


  • Eftitan Akam, M.D.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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 Elhert, M.A.

    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.

    Maryam Gul 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, M.D., M.B.A.

    Benjamin Li’s 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.


  • Rafal Sobota, M.D., Ph.D., M.S.

    Rafal Sebastian Sobota, M.D., Ph.D., M.S., will be completing his Residency training at Northwestern University in the field of Neurology, with a long-term goal of pursuing a research career in the genetics of neurological infectious disease. Rafal was born and raised in Krakow, Poland, and he moved to the United States at the age of 14. After graduating from the University of Chicago, he matriculated at the Vanderbilt University Medical Scientist Training Program in 2008. He was the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar at the Malaria Research and Training Center in Bamako, Mali. He received a Ph.D. in Human Genetics, working under the tutelage of professor Scott Williams. His thesis project studied genetic predisposition to tuberculosis in Tanzania and Uganda, evaluating the hypothesis that HIV-positive patients living in areas endemic for Mycobacterium tuberculosis who do not develop clinical tuberculosis are resistant, and that this protection has a genetic component. This work has yielded several peer reviewed journal articles, and it was recognized with Reviewers' Choice award at the American Society of Human Genetics conference and a plenary talk at the VECD conference. Rafal also received a Master's of Science degree in Biostatistics Methods in Global Health from Vanderbilt. Throughout his time at Vanderbilt, he also carried out volunteer work in Senegal, Kenya, and Nicaragua.

  • Khaliungoo Ganbat, M.A.

    Khaliungoo Ganbat is a masters student in development economics on a Fulbright Scholarship. When it comes to development, she believes that health becomes one of the major issues, but one that people think of less. She was interested to learn more about global health, which led her to take courses related to global health and to compete in the Global Health Case Competition (won third place). Upon completion of her degree, she will go back to her home country-Mongolia, to continue to work with mining impacted communities on poverty and development issues. Health and environment are the main issues for communities near mining project. She hopes to use her knowledge she gained at Vanderbilt to serve these communities.

  • Muhammad Chauhan, M.A.

    Muhammad Zain Chauhan M.A., will be graduating in the Social Foundations of Health program from the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society (MHS). Before joining MHS, Zain received his B.A. in MHS with a minor in Neuroscience at Vanderbilt. As an undergraduate, Zain received the Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education for his research on the affects of waste water discharge on rural creeks. Zain's thesis research is exploring the institutional and economic factors that contribute to the adoption of electronic medical record (EMR) systems in rural and urban dental clinics. He has applied this research in a global health setting by examining the factors that contribute to health IT adoption in resource-constrained settings, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Zain plans to go onto to medical school and work on the development of health IT systems catered to specialty practices in low resource settings.

  • Jennifer Neczypor, C.N.M., F.N.P., R.N., M.S.N.

    Jennifer Lynn Neczypor, CNM, FNP, RN, MSN, is originally from California, graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing with a dual specialty in certified nurse-midwifery and family practice nursing. While at Vanderbilt, she served as the chairperson of the 2015-2016 Global Health Case Competition case-writing committee, and also sat on the VIGH Student Advisory Council. As a recipient of the Nichols Humanitarian Fund Grant, she returned to her Peace Corps country of Vanuatu to provide nursing, family planning, and malaria prevention services in the aftermath of a devastating cyclone, and as a participant in Project Pyramid, she worked with the women of the Sibimbe sewing cooperative in rural Ecuador. Throughout her nurse-midwifery clinical rotations, she had the opportunity to explore the many implications of global health inequities for marginalized populations in the United States, including undocumented Spanish-speaking women in Nashville and Chicago, adolescent mothers, refugee women, and Saudi Arabian college students in rural Idaho. As a recipient of both the Frist Global Health Leaders Program grant and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Jeanne Raisler International Award for Midwifery, she will be traveling to Kathmandu, Nepal, after graduation, where she will be partnering with the maternal-fetal health organization One Heart World-wide to train traditional birth attendants and Nepali student nurse-midwives. Jennifer's long-term career goals include working as a nurse-midwife for Doctors Without Borders, developing effective, midwife-led solutions to the problem of malaria in pregnancy, and establishing a birth center in Vanuatu that integrates traditional birth customs, woman-centered care, and evidence-based practice.

  • Christine O'Brien, Ph.D.

    Christine M. O'Brien completed a certificate of global health while completing her Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University in 2017. This certificate program was a wonderful experience and training opportunity, during which she conducted a practicum project in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras. The project aims to improve early detection of gastric cancer using optical methods that can be incorporated into routine endoscopic gastric screening methods. She plans to begin a testing approach in Honduras this spring. After graduation, she plans to work as a post-doctoral researcher to gain new engineering and biophotonics skills. One day she hopes to become a principal investigator and focus on the development of point of care optical technologies for use in global health.


  • Eryn Block, M.Ed.

    Eryn Block, M.P.P., will pursue a Ph.D. in Public Health focusing on Health Policy and Management at UCLA starting in Fall 2016. She intends to focus on bridging the gap between health and education policy, promoting health and mental health programs within schools, and methods for health and education practitioner collaboration, both domestically and internationally. As an undergraduate student at the University of Oregon, Eryn was an active member of Students for Global Health and interned at the Red Cross in Burkina Faso. While at Vanderbilt, Eryn participated in the VIGH Global Health Case Competition.

  • Lin Chang, M.Ed.

    Lin Chang, M.Ed., graduated from Peabody College of Education and Human Development's International Education Policy and Management program. She credits one of her foundational international education courses as being pivotal in sparking her interest in global health, and she is particularly interested the relationship between education and health, and how together the two considerations can be collectively leveraged for successful implementation of child and youth-targeted programs. She interned with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education in the Republic of the Maldives for her summer practicum, working on child and maternal health programming and research/data analysis on the health status of Grade 1 students in Maldivian schools, which culminated in a report presented to the Minister of Education. Lin is pursuing opportunities involving social entrepreneurship and education/global health-related programmatic work, and intends to return to pursue a Ph.D. in the future. 

  • Kelly Diaz, M.D.

    Kelly Diaz, M.D., is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and received her undergraduate degree in both Spanish & Portuguese and Medicine, Health & Society from Vanderbilt University in 2011. She participated in various global health organizations and projects in Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Brazil as an undergraduate and continued to explore her passion for global health while in medical school at Vanderbilt, completing several research projects in Mozambique related to the effects of a livestock lending intervention on quality of life and health outcomes as well as a study analyzing the determinants of health care access for women and children in Mozambique. Kelly is a proud wife and mother and plans to continue her global health engagement as she pursues residency training in family medicine. Her long-term career goals include shaping her practice as a medical home for immigrants and refugees in the US and continuing to engage in global health work abroad.

  • Magdalena Dorvil-Joanem, M.D.

    Magdalena Dorvil-Joanem, M.D., was awarded the Overall Fellowship in 2012 in support of her international work. During the summer of 2012, she worked at Visitation Clinic in Petite Riviere de Nippes, Haiti where she conducted a descriptive survey on disease burden in the adult population. As she served in this rural province, Magdalena had some of her first experiences working in women's health, which inspired her to pursue a career in this specialty. Magdalena's involvement in global health continued into her last year at Vanderbilt as she served on the Global Health Committee as a health fair chair. She plans to remain active in global health throughout her career as a physician.

  • Bethany Fjeldheim, M.S.N.

    Bethany Fjeldheim, M.S.N., is a certified nurse midwife and family nurse practitioner. She earned her undergraduate degree at Loyola University Chicago, where she studied biology and medical ethics. While at Vanderbilt, Bethany served as co-director for Shade Tree Clinic's Early Pregnancy Program providing women with free prenatal care and social services. Her global health interests include maternal and infant health, global midwifery education, and violence reduction. After graduation, Bethany hopes to provide care to underserved and at-risk populations.

  • Dafini Krasniqui, M.A.

    Dafina Krasniqi, M.A., came to Vanderbilt from Kosovo to study Development Economics. She credits her global health courses at Vanderbilt in helping her learn to apply a quantitative data analysis approach to the most salient health and developmental problems in developing countries. As part of her studies, Dafina analyzed the outcomes of a book program designed to educate mothers on child development and childhood injury prevention, to promote reading and better health practices, and to improve mother-child interactions. Dafina is passionate about global health issues and looks forward to professionally engaging with healthcare programs and organizations that address the needs of vulnerable populations.

  • Jieun Lee, M.Ed.

    Jieun Lee, M.Ed., is a graduate of the International Education Policy and Management program at Peabody College of Education and Human Development. At Vanderbilt, she worked with Lwala Community Alliance as a monitoring and evaluation intern, evaluating the public health and education programs in Lwala, Kenya. She also worked with World Relief, a nonprofit serving the refugee community in greater Nashville, developing education and cultural orientation programs for newly arrived refugee children.

  • Melanie McWade, Ph.D.

    Melanie McWade, Ph.D., completed a certificate of global health while completing her Ph.D. in global health in 2016. As part of her studies, she spent a summer in Georgetown, Guyana where she completed a project mapping road traffic collision hot spots using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). During that time, she worked closely with the Georgetown Police Force to collect collision data. She conducted several courses for the police force and public health students at the University of Guyana on how to use GIS to inform public health policy. After graduation, Melanie will be taking a job at a medical device firm that partners with universities and companies to develop innovative therapies.

  • Ajay Sundaram, M.S., M.Ed.

    Ajay Sundaram, M.S., M.Ed., began his association with VIGH in Spring 2015. He was on the winning team at the Vanderbilt Global Health Case Competition in 2015 and represented Vanderbilt at the inter-university Global Health Case Competition hosted by Emory University that same year. He also holds a M.S. in Biology from the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Pune, India and recently earned a M.Ed. in International Education Policy and Management from Vanderbilt. He sees himself working at the intersection of education and health policy.

  • Karen Trochez, M.L.A.S.

    Karen Trochez, M.L.A.S., is a Bilingual Research Analyst III in the Institute for Medicine and Public Health at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she works on a cluster, randomized control trial that examines the utility of literacy, numeracy, and culturally sensitive educational materials for uninsured patients with Type 2 Diabetes. A Honduras native with 13 years of public health services in Miami and Nashville, serving under-represented populations has been a personal passion that she has followed for almost a decade. She has worked with Latino populations at the Make-a-Wish Foundation, serving as a mediator to bring hope to children going through life threatening illness. While studying at Vanderbilt, Karen placed 3rd in the 2016 Vanderbilt Global Health Case Competition. Karen’s future career plans include continuing to research the Latino population and health disparities in Middle Tennessee, and becoming a Family Nurse practitioner.

  • Rui Wang, M.Ed.

    Rui Wang, M.Ed., graduated from Peabody College's International Education Policy and Management program. She participated in two global health case competitions during her program and was also involved work with the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) as a health screening program volunteer with the refugee and immigrant population in Nashville. Her interest in public health is focused on air pollution related health issues and non-communicable diseases in China. After graduation, Rui will pursue a M.P.H. in Global Health and later hopes to work with an organization that focuses on programming in health and education.


  • Jonathan Andereck, MD, MBA

    Jonathan Andereck, joint M.D. and M.B.A., designed and executed a research study on prevalence of and risk factors for parasitic infections in adults living in Lwala, Kenya for his Global Health certificate practicum. This summer, Jonathan will enter residency to train in Emergency Medicine.

  • Jordan Cohen, M.D.

    Jordan Cohen, MD, completed his medical education at Vanderbilt from 2010 to 2015. During his time at Vanderbilt, Jordan pursued his interest in global health through two projects abroad. As a first year, Jordan spent 3 months in coastal Kenya working with an empowerment program for single mothers. After completing his third year, Jordan took a year to complete a research project working with a combined HIV monitoring study and empowerment program for young women living in the Umlazi township of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Jordan is pursuing a career in Emergency Medicine and hopes to continue his work abroad through resident education using simulation and ultrasound.

  • Morgan De Kleine, MSN

    Morgan De Kleine, M.S.N., worked with the Centering Pregnancy program at La Clinica Nueva Vida in Nashville for her Global Health certificate practicum, where she explored the benefits and challenges of implementing group prenatal care within a Spanish-speaking immigrant population. Morgan remains committed to caring for underserved populations, and her long-term career goal is to help train midwives internationally.

  • Kathleen Doherty, M.D.

    Kathleen Doherty, MD served on Global Health Committee as chair for the Student Seminar Series and was the distribution coordinator for REMEDY (Redistributing Medical Equipment to the Developing world) during her first two years of medical school. She was also awarded an Overall Fellowship to spend the summer after her first year in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, studying the effects of a traditional medicine on cortisol secretion. This early experience cemented Kathleen’s desire to take a full year to pursue global health research after her third year of medical school. She returned to South Africa to study the effects of vaginal drying products on risk for HIV-acquisition in high-risk young women. Kathleen is pursuing residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and hopes to make global health an integral part of her training and future career.

  • Sarah Eckhardt, M.D.

    Sarah Elizabeth Eckhardt, MD, is preparing to graduate from Vanderbilt School of Medicine and enter a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Sarah has wanted to go into Ob-Gyn since her public health work in Latin America throughout college, where she noted significant gender inequality between men and women. Her Emphasis Research Project during her first two years of medical school focused on knowledge, attitude, and practice of family planning methods in rural Kenya. She then returned to Kenya for a global health immersion where she again focused largely on women's health. Sarah will continue to do global health as a physician and looks forward to a career of working to empower women through health and education in developing nations.

  • Gretchen Edwards Edwards, MD

    Gretchen Edwards, MD, plans to pursue a career in general surgery with an emphasis on working with immigrant populations domestically. While at Vanderbilt, Gretchen performed her Emphasis research looking at the impact of immigration upon the development of resilience among Latina immigrant mothers. Her certificate practicum had her at Primeros Pasos Clinic in Xela, Guatemala during her fourth year.

  • Dierdre Ehule, M.S.P.H.

    Diedre Ehule (Nchelem) holds a MSPH at Meharry Medical College, and will complete her Global Health certificate practicum in Ogbomoso, Nigeria on Common Health Conditions in the Hospitalized Elderly. Diedre’s long-term goal is to become a clinician who works with the elderly population across the globe to improve their system of health.

  • Inyoung Kang, M.Ed.

    Inyoung Kang holds a M.Ed. in IEPM. She worked as an ESL to Go’s special programs intern for her Global Health certificate practicum, and developed a health survey and nutrition education program for Burmese women and their families to attend ESL to Go mobile classes. In her future, she may work in the research and evaluation department at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, and as a Korean service liaison related to health administration and communication at the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute.

  • Renée Martin-Willett, M.A.

    Renée Martin-Willett will complete her MA at the Center for Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt in the Spring of 2015. Her global health practicum was a pilot study leveraging technology to quantify psychosocial wellbeing among resettled refugees in Middle Tennessee. She was named the 2014-15 Meharry-Vanderbilt Community Research Scholar in recognition of this research, as well as received the VIGH Anne Potter Wilson award. This year, Renée was invited to speak on transparency in healthcare by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Washington D.C., presented a paper on refugee mental health and methodology to the Society for Applied Anthropology, and presented a poster at the North American Refugee Health Conference. The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship Competition also recognized her for honorable mention. Her future plans include a recent appointment as Research Coordinator at the Vanderbilt Memory and Alzheimer’s Center, and eventual application for PhD in clinical psychology.

  • Irène Mathieu Mathieu, M.D.

    Irène Mathieu, M.D., researched intimate partner violence and childhood obesity prevention in Nashville’s Latino community and through medical rotations in North Carolina with the Lumbee indigenous community and Guatemala with indigenous and Ladino populations for her Global Health certificate practicum. Irène is interested in community-engaged research, plans to have a residency in pediatrics, and pursue academic primacy care.

  • Arfraja McLeod , M.T.S.

    Arfraja McLeod holds a Masters of Theological Studies, and completed his Global Health certificate practicum at Siloam Family Health Center where he studied refugee and immigrant health as a medical case manager. To satisfy his ever-increasing passion to serve marginalized and underserved populations, Arfraja sees himself attending medical school with goals of practicing medicine that is religiously and theologically informed in order to combat global health issues.

  • Ashley Scott, M.A.

    Ashley Scott holds a M.A. in Economic Development. She was involved in health related projects in Cambodia through the Owen Graduate School of Management’s Project Pyramid for her Global Health certificate practicum. Ashley hopes to work with an organization that promotes quality accessible global healthcare, continuing her passion for innovation and technology.

  • Priya Sivasubramaniam, M.D.

    Priya Sivasubramaniam, M.D., has done neonatal intensive care research in Amman, Jordan, as well as having researched breast, cervical, and gastric cancer in Beijing, China during her medical school career and her Global Health certificate practicum. Priya plans on conducting a residency in pediatrics in 2015, and pursuing a subsequent fellowship in either pediatric critical care or emergency medicine.

  • Jessica Van Meter, D.N.P.

    Jessica Jade Van Meter, DNP, completed a Doctorate in Nursing practice at Vanderbilt School of Nursing in addition to the graduate certificate in global health. Her practicum took place in Georgetown, Guyana and focused on implementation of a disaster preparedness plan in the Accident and Emergency Department at Georgetown Public Hospital. She received the VUSN Alumni Award for Service and Leadership to the Community as well as the Sigma Theta Tau International Professional Development Award.  Jessica is currently a flight nurse with Vanderbilt LifeFlight and plans to continue to participate in medical and disaster aid mission trips following graduation.

  • Wenting Wang, M.Ed.

    Wenting Wang holds a M.Ed. in International Education Policy and Management, and completed her Global Health certificate practicum through work done at VIGH this past summer on development of global health coursework and programs at Vanderbilt. Wenting plans to focus on preventive interventions for maternal and children health in low resources settings, especially for the left-behind children (LBC) in rural China.


  • Katie Barcy, M.Ed.

    Katie Barcy is a M.Ed. candidate in International Education Policy and Management. During her first year at Vanderbilt, Katie was involved in health-related projects in Guatemala through the Owen Graduate School of Management's Project Pyramid and the Global Health Case Competition. During the summer of 2013, Katie assisted Vanderbilt with its CDC-funded grant in Guyana to develop the country's first Master of Public Health program at the University of Guyana. In her second year, Katie was a member of the VIGH Student Advisory Council, assisting in the logistics, fundraising, and case writing for the Global Health Case Competition. After graduation, Katie hopes to work with an organization that designs programming in health and education to empower marginalized populations.

  • Katrina Byrd, M.D.

    Katrina Byrd is currently a fourth year medical student at Meharry Medical College.  Her career interests include completing residency in Internal Medicine/Pediatrics and a fellowship in Med/Peds Infectious Disease.   She grew up in Detroit, Michigan but graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana with a BS in Microbiology and The George Washington University with a MS in Public Health Microbiology and Emerging Infectious Diseases.  She has always wanted to incorporate practicing medicine internationally into her career.  That is why she’s pleased to be going to Clínica Esperanza, a clinic in Roatán, Honduras, as a medical student volunteer.  Infant malnutrition is a significant problem on the island; therefore, she will be preparing a teaching session to educate mothers on the importance of breastfeeding.   In the future, she sees herself practicing academic medicine and spending a couple of months per year doing medical mission work globally.

  • Leigh Cummins, M.Ed.

    Leigh Cummins was involved with the VIGH Student Advisory Council while at Vanderbilt. She was a participant in the 2013 Global Health Case Competition and served as a case writer for the 2014 competition. She completed her practicum at VIGH during the summer of 2013. Additionally, Leigh traveled to Guatemala and Haiti to work with international organizations focusing on projects of childhood malnutrition and water/sanitation issues as part of Project Pyramid. In the future, Leigh plans to work within the field of health education. She hopes to find a job stateside that will allow her many opportunities to travel abroad!

  • Julie Dunlap, M.S.P.H.

    Julie Dunlap gained interest in the disparities manifested in infant and maternal morbidity and mortality across the globe as an MSPH student at Meharry Medical College and as a candidate to receive a Certificate in Global Health from Vanderbilt. She is most interested in how implementing socially competent community-based health programs focused on health education, promotion and empowerment through social engagement can lead to improved community health outcomes. This summer, she has completed her practicum with Vanderbilt affiliated Friends in Global Health, LLC looking at prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV program located across Abuja, Kwara and Niger states in Nigeria. The program gave her experience working in global community-based health service delivery that utilizes community members as advocates, mentors and educators to bring awareness to PMTCT in Nigeria, which carries the largest burden of pregnant women infected with HIV across the globe. Following her practicum, she plans on returning to the United States and continuing to work in maternal and child health research for a year before returning to finish her academic career. She currently plans on pursuing a PhD in Sociology focused on global health and social capital theories. It is her long-term goal to implement global community-based health facilities aiming to impact MCH and community health through the promotion of community advocacy, engagement and social connectedness.

  • Melissa Hazlitt, M.D.

    Melissa Hazlitt will enter an Emergency Medicine Residency in the summer of 2014 following graduation from Meharry Medical College. In addition to a BA in International Relations from SUNY New Paltz, she earned a Master's degree in Diplomacy from Norwich University. Working as a VECD Fogarty Global Health Fellow, Melissa travelled to Beijing where she worked with the Chinese CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS and STDs to examine the impact of ART treatment initiation on outcomes in Henan province's plasma donor population. She intends to follow residency with a career in emergency medical service development and expansion in rural settings.

  • Lamar Johnson, M.D.

    Lamar Johnson is currently a fourth year medical student at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. His career interests include completing residency in Internal   Medicine/Pediatrics and possibly a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine. His father was in the air force and he moved around a lot as a child, but he calls San Antonio, TX home. He graduated from Howard University in Washington, DC with a BS in Biology.   He’s always been deeply invested in helping those who need it most, and the field of global health allows him to do this while also feeding his hunger to travel and learn about different cultures. He will be volunteering at a clinic in Roatán, Honduras called Clínica Esperanza. He loves working with children of all ages, so in addition to providing medical care with the clinic, he will also be visiting schools in the area to perform eye exams and do vision screenings. Ultimately, his goal is to have a career that incorporates providing primary care, teaching medical students, and traveling abroad at least once every year to continue to serve underserved populations.

  • Marie Prom, M.D.

    Maria Prom is graduating in May 2014 with an MD from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Her interest in sustainable global intervention started as an undergraduate at Carleton College when she was accepted for a Service Internship for International Development Fellowship and worked with the Foundation for Sustainable Development at a local NGO in Masaya, Nicaragua. As a medical student her interests developed in global mental health, as well as public health policy and economics research. Her primary focus is on Spanish speaking populations both locally and internationally. She was awarded a Vanderbilt Overall Fellowship in International Medicine to work with a free mental health clinic in rural Ayacucho, Peru for three months. There she investigated potential interventions to prevent patient drop-out from mental health therapy. She was later selected as a Vanderbilt Medical Scholars Fellow and completed a one year research investigation in public health policy and economics in urban and rural Peru. She will be completing residency training in psychiatry, with a focus in global mental health research in the area of mental health systems and services development. She later hopes to complete fellowships in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Global Psychiatry.

  • Dilyara Yusupova, M.Ed.

    Dilyara Yusupova, M.Ed. (pictured far left) is currently a second year Master's student in the International Education Policy and Management Program in the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University.  Being born and raised in Uzbekistan, Dilyara received her undergraduate degree from the University of World Languages in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, with a bachelor of arts in English philology. She was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to complete her graduate degree at Vanderbilt University studying about the intersection of health, education, and economic development. As part of her M.Ed. program, Dilyara conducted her internship with the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, where she helped organize the Nursing Leadership in Global Health Symposium that took place in Nashville on February 27th-28th, 2014.