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December 12, 2007

First Global Health Scholars Chosen

The first recipients of the Johns Hopkins Global Health Scholarships approach international public health from different vantage points, but as they further their education at the Bloomberg School they're all seeking to broaden their knowledge in preparation for public health careers on a global scale. 

The Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health awarded six scholarships to master of public health students and three to master of health science students with a demonstrated interest in the global health field. The recipients were selected in a competitive process open to all full-time students in the MPH and MHS programs. A Global Health Scholarship covers full tuition for the 11-month MPH program and one year of the MHS program. The awards will be offered on an annual basis.

“We are pleased to support these nine promising students in their public health work,” says Thomas Quinn, MD, the Center’s Director. “The Center works to further global health education among the Johns Hopkins community, and these students already have impressive global health experience they can draw from as they complete their studies. We look forward to witnessing all they will accomplish in their careers.”

The Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health was launched in May 2006 to facilitate and focus the extensive expertise and resources of the Johns Hopkins Institutions, together with global collaborators, to effectively address and ameliorate the world's most pressing health issues. In addition to brokering collaboration among existing global health programs in the schools of Public Health, Medicine and Nursing, the Center also works to educate students on global health issues, both in the classroom and in the field.

Sarah Henly-ShepardSarah Henly-Shepard

Vita

Home Country: USA

Focus at Hopkins: Humanitarian assistance/international disaster relief and development

Goal: To bridge the gap between sustainable development and disaster relief initiatives around the globe, by incorporating a multidisciplinary approach to eliminating inequities in public health; improving access to food, water and education; increasing human security; and ensuring ecologically and culturally sound development.

Through her professional and volunteer work in both the United States and Brazil as an educator and emergency response team member, Henly-Shepard has worked with a variety of populations: migrants, the homeless, mobile underserved populations, and residents of both urban slums and small agricultural communities. Having extensive experience in both temporary emergency situations and longer-term initiatives, she has always focused on understanding and helping the most vulnerable populations, who face additional barriers to accessing services due to language, economic and cultural differences.

Henly-Shepard is continually motivated by “the power of united communities and daring individuals willing to make positive changes in their lives,” and by people dedicating their lives to finding creative and effective solutions to improve the safety, health and well-being of people all over the world.

Allison LindAllison Lind

Vita

Home Country: USA

Focus at Hopkins: Child and adolescent health with an international focus

Goal: To improve child survival internationally through the implementation of sustainable health care programs

While volunteering as a pediatric nurse coordinator in Belize City’s first center to provide care and support for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS, Allison Lind realized that to be fully effective, the fledging center would need to develop an infrastructure, write program policies, obtain medical supplies and hire staff to sustain its work. As she learned on the fly and filled in the center’s gaps the best she could, she was inspired to expand her education to learn how best to establish sustainable health care programs, train health care professionals and implement policy to improve the health of children internationally.
 
Inspired by all the children she cared for who left her asking “Why not?” Lind aims to improve the health of children across on a global scale.

Lillian Aaca Okui, MDLillian Aaca Okui, MD

Vita

Home Country: Uganda

Focus at Hopkins: Epidemiology and biostatistics

Goal: To be a champion of women and children’s health

As a fourth-year medical student studying public health, Lillian Aaca Okui volunteered at a rural hospital in eastern Uganda. She came to see that clinical medicine alone wasn’t the answer for the patients she treating, including over 200 children sick with malaria each day. Okui wanted to work with public health professionals in Uganda to understand the root of pressing health problems in order to implement effective prevention and intervention strategies.

To that end, Okui played a key role in launching an HIV/AIDS clinic in Kumi Hospital in Uganda, which now serves over 500 patients, most of them women and children.

Garima PathakGarima Pathak

Vita

Home Country: India

Focus at Hopkins: Population, family and reproductive health, TB-HIV, and health management

Goal: To contribute to the development of health systems in TB-HIV, and family and reproductive health in India, improving access to quality health care across all sectors, especially to the underprivileged

Garima Pathak was first exposed to the health disparities in the rural, tribal areas of central India during field-postings when her husband was beginning his career in public service. “A strong public health delivery system and correct health practices like clean drinking water could save many more lives as compared to curative services,” she says.

At the Bloomberg School, Pathak hopes to acquire the knowledge and skills to return to India and make a lasting impact on the health of her country. For inspiration, she looks to “the Indian women for their indefatigable spirit and to Mother Teresa for her strength and determination, and the hope she had for public service.”

Shomik RayShomik Ray

Vita

Home Country: India

Focus at Hopkins: Research methodologies, health policies, health systems and health system reforms, and health economics

Goal: To be able to complement public health practices and management sciences with the objective of finding lasting solutions to critical public health and development problems

A management professional, Shomik Ray has worked in the health sector for the last 10 years, assisting public health managers and practitioners by providing technical assistance and support in capacity building. Through his work, Ray realized that while the major problems in public health are science-based, they all pose management challenges. He believes the two fields of knowledge must be combined. With an MPH degree, Ray aims to effectively address public health issues in his home country at both levels.

His motivation is the commitment of health workers who implement health programs for the public: “They are the unsung heroes who brave the weather and all odds and make all efforts to reach out and serve, in spite of all the faults in planning, shortcomings in execution, and lethargies in recognition.”

Tara SuntokeTara Suntoke

Vita

Home Country: USA

Focus at Hopkins: Epidemiology with a focus on infectious diseases

Goal: To use evidence-based approaches to address public health needs—specifically those related to HIV and infectious diseases—in resource-limited settings, and to use my experience in laboratory sciences to help build capacity in developing countries, particularly to improve on-site diagnostic testing capabilities

While in graduate school studying the molecular mechanism of HIV infection, Tara Suntoke was always drawn to the bigger picture: the effect of HIV on people’s lives, how the epidemic was changing in different parts of the world, and how access to care and treatment affected that dynamic.

One evening, she attended a lecture given by science writer and public health advocate Laurie Garrett. “She described emerging infectious disease outbreaks around the world, and the amazing detective work that ultimately leads to identifying the agent and containing the disease,” Suntoke recalls. “She depicted public health as a world that combined science, data analysis, policy, communication and compassion.”

Suntoke soon realized that her real interests extend beyond cellular and molecular biology, and into the realm of public health.

Rita Czabo: Global Health Scholar Rita Czako

Vita
BS, Biology, University of South Carolina
Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship
Paul W. Zuccaire Intern at Institut Pasteur, Paris
Carolina Scholars Scholarship

Home Country: USA

Focus at Hopkins: Global Disease Epidemiology and Control

Goal: To embark on a biomedical research career within an organization committed to achieving and promoting global health

Rita Czako volunteered at a free medical clinic in her hometown during her undergraduate years, and the personal stories she heard there motivated her to pursue a career “with the potential to affect the lives of those in need to access better health technologies.” A summer spent in rural Equador as part of a tropical disease workshop cemented her interest in public and global health.

"The translation of scientific advances into effective international interventions and public health policy is equally as important as scientific progress to improving the overall health of the world’s population," Czako says. "My desire is to be able to facilitate this process by lending the expertise my scientific background will grant me to provide assistance in the design, development and implementation of effective and feasible infectious disease prevention and control programs.”


Attia 2007 Center for Global Health Scholar Attia Goheer

Vita
BS, Psychology; BA, Anthropology, University of Maryland, College Park
Banneker Key Scholar
Maryland Distinguished Scholar

Home Country: USA

Focus at Hopkins: Human Nutrition

Goal: To develop programs designed to decrease the incidence of obesity and diabetes through dietary change

Attia Goheer has always enjoyed observing people's food-related behavior and wondered what factors influence a person’s food decisions. She hopes to parlay this interest into a career through her studies at the Bloomberg School where she is excited to be able “to learn from amazing professors at the top of their field.”

Goheer worked with the nonprofit organization Progressive Maryland to lobby for living wage legislation to allow working-class families  to live above the poverty level. The initiative was signed into Maryland law earlier this year.

Michael Rozier 2007 Global Health Scholar Michael Rozier

Vita
BA, Chemistry, Saint Louis University
Graduate work in philosophy and theology, University of Toronto
Student Body President, Saint Louis University

Home Country: USA

Focus at Hopkins: International health and health systems

Goal: To manage an NGO with an emphasis on caring for refugee and displaced populations, and to explore the areas of population-based bioethics and the intersection of health care and human rights.

Michael Rozier is focused on providing for those with few resources. He gained some limited experience in doing without during a 30-day pilgramage, traveling from Baltimore to St. Paul, MN with only $35 in his pocket. He relied on the generosity of others for shelter, food and transportation. Rozier has volunteered at several education, health and social service organizations.

Rozier is interested in “how we can bring our research-driven universities into more direct contact with the poor. Public health provides a forum in which several different fields can come together to address the most pressing health issues.”

For public health news updated throughout the day, visit www.jhsph.edu/PublicHealthNews.