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YIGH Names First Leadership in Global Health Fellows

May 12, 2020

The Yale Institute for Global Health (YIGH) announces the first six recipients of the Leadership in Global Health Fellowship. The fellowship was created to prepare future global health leaders by training aspiring students who have a passion for and understanding of the critical importance of good health for a just and equitable society. “Pandemic infections, a rise in non-communicable diseases, and social and economic inequities will be at the forefront of the world’s health challenges in the next decade,” said Michael Skonieczny, YIGH Deputy Director. “Global health professionals must be ready to excel in complex, multinational organizations working on these critical challenges.”

The inaugural group of fellows come from diverse academic focuses including health policy, ethics, politics & economics, sociology and health care management. In addition to placements with high impact groups around the world, the fellows will engage in an educational component to provide them with a learning experience on multiple dimensions including the organizational functioning and ethics of global health institutions.

“As an Ethiopian, I have observed first-hand the effects that the combination of a lack of health care expertise, poor policy planning, and inadequate funding have on the health of a low-income country,” said Misikir Adnew, YSPH ’21. “This fellowship will help with my goal to work in the East African region, specifically for a maternal and infant health organization and to improve my skills managing scarce resources within health care settings, developing a culture of quality assurance and quality improvement, and supporting healthcare operations.”

Bayan Galal, Yale College ’23, has seen disparities in health care accessibility when visiting family in Egypt. “Working in global health will allow me to focus on medicine and policy jointly and help increase not only what is possible, but what is accessible. Through this fellowship, I hope to gain a better developed multidisciplinary perspective to shape my understanding of what leadership in global health truly looks like, and how it can be used to empower communities and strengthen healthcare capacity.”

Through weekly seminars, fellows will be introduced to concepts from organizational behavior and ethics to facilitate understanding of their own experiences. During the term of the program, emphasis of the seminar may shift to consider how students can be effective at the individual and organizational level, and how that effectiveness should be measured. This year, the fellowship experience will include placements with the Yale Global Health Leadership Initiative in support of programs with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, UNICEF, the World Bank, and Save the Children. Due to university and state COVID-19 travel restrictions fellows will engage remotely in these placements. “

Mahira Tiwana, YSPH ’21, says her fellowship with UNICEF is an ideal opportunity to explore global health and health policy and to learn more about how behavioral science can improve maternal and child health in developing countries. “As a Pakistani, I am particularly interested in UNICEF’s research concerning South Asian populations,” says Mahira. “This experience will help me understand how decision-makers in various contexts design health policies for better outcomes and how large global health organizations utilize their resources to impact real change across the globe.”

Helen Mooney, Yale ’22, will be working for Save the Children on their Newborn Health Initiative. “I am excited to contribute to a project which is doing so much to decrease inequities in health and hope to learn more about the way they affect positive change on the world. I also look forward to learning more about this area of global health and where I might fit in the future.”

A midwife from Chile, Camila Soto Espinoza, YSN ’21, said she has always been curious about how physical health is affected by more than physiology and pathology. “Our society and culture play a role in how we perceive sickness and how we regain and maintain health,” said Camila. “I feel so fortunate to see how an institution that plays such a fundamental role in global health and has the worldwide outreach like UNICEF, coordinates and implements programs in real time. I want to learn how to aid communities around the world in ways that are meaningful, respectful and sustainable and to learn from the unexpected challenges that may come with this experience.”

Marlika Marceau, Yale ’21, who will intern with the World Bank, explains that her background as a low-income, first-generation Haitian-American immigrant personally informed her understanding of the subtleties of structural violence and has influenced her willingness to observe global health as a collective effort. "I aspire to examine developmental aspects of health systems, particularly the ways by which socioeconomic inequalities shape both the demographic distributions of individuals with access to preventive health services and the systemic flaws in the healthcare delivery chain.”

When developing this fellowship experience, YIGH sought to create an immersive experience to provide a small cohort of fellows with early career exposure to skills that will be required to understand and successfully navigate and work across diverse organizations and settings, including ministries of health, multilateral and bi-lateral agencies, and international non-governmental organizations.

“These students may be in leadership roles addressing some of the most complex global health challenges in the future and we want to provide them with the concepts and skills to help them now and in their future professions,” says Nikole Allen, YIGH senior program director.

Submitted by Alyssa Cruz on May 12, 2020