Eight months into practicing medicine at Hiwot Fana Hospital in Harari Regional State, Ethiopia, Yassir Ahmed was named the hospital's medical director. Despite his limited experience, he embraced the challenge and discovered that he had a talent for managing people. After two years of honing his managerial skills, Ahmed was promoted to head the Department of Health Services and Training for the Harari Regional Health Bureau. The scope of his work broadened even further when he joined the Johns Hopkins-affiliated NGO, Jhpiego, which works to improve the health of women and families in over 50 developing countries. As Jhpiego’s deputy country director for Ethiopia Ahmed played a key role in expanding the nonprofit's HIV program and establishing new programs on maternal and child health. Still, he felt the need to do more. “I was hampered, constrained, and at times frustrated in my work to deliver the best care possible by the limited resources, poor infrastructure and poor management, of the health care system I was working in,” Ahmed says. He came to the conclusion that he could have a greater influence on his patients’ lives by focusing on management in the public health sector At the Bloomberg School, Ahmed plans to concentrate on international health and management. “I am interested in this area because of the huge gap that I have observed and experienced in managing the limited resources we have in Ethiopia and other parts of the developing world,” he says. Especially frustrating, Ahmed says, is that resources and interventions are often available. “What is often lacking is strong leadership, understanding the root causes of the challenges and systematically addressing them,” he says.
Internal Medicine Resident, Aurora Health Care