A Huge Privilege
2014 Alum Wins First Timothy D. Baker International Health Award.
As an MPH student at the Bloomberg School, Shreya Shrestha, who earned her degree in May, had heard mention of Timothy Baker, MD, MPH. But didn’t know the rich details about the life and work of the beloved International Health professor, who died in 2013.
She didn’t have a full appreciation for Baker’s numerous accomplishments at the School—including co-founding the Department of International Health—until a few weeks before graduation when she was named the inaugural recipient of Delta Omega’s Dr. Timothy Baker Award for International Health Development.
“It’s a huge privilege,” said Shrestha, now a third-year medical student at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.
A self-described “big idealist,” Shrestha believes that nobody should die of a preventable disease. Each year for the past several, she has travelled to Nepal to run mobile health clinics in underserved communities.
“It’s definitely not uncommon to see suffering on a daily basis [in Nepal],” she said. “I think people get desensitized to it, which is really a tragedy, and that’s always been a motivating factor for me to make a difference.”
Long term, she hopes to establish permanent clinics to provide more advanced care and hospital transfer services. She’s developing a clinic model and looks forward to collaborating with NGOs to move the project forward.
Shrestha knows that her project’s success depends on more than delivering quality health care. It takes forging key partnerships, working within Nepal’s health system and evaluating outcomes—an extension of the health workforce planning and assessment models pioneered by Baker more than 50 years ago.
In a trip to Nepal after graduating from the Bloomberg School, Shrestha discovered for herself how Baker’s influence endures to this day.
“I was meeting with some doctors and said that I had just graduated from Hopkins,” she recalls. “They immediately said ‘Oh, we had this fabulous doctor from Hopkins visit many years ago. His name was Tim Baker.’”