Global Health Corps Fellows find inspiration and camaraderie at Yale

Ninety emerging leaders representing 12 countries assembled at Yale for the Global Health Corps (GHC) Training Institute July 9-21. The two-week orientation program, held in conjunction with the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute, is designed to prepare young professionals for one-year public health fellowships around the world.

YaleNews interviewed four of the Global Health Corps Fellows about their experiences at the Yale GHC Training Institute. In addition to being challenged by the institute’s rigorous curriculum, the fellows described how they built a community with their co-fellows, formed bonds that will extend well beyond the training program, and enjoyed opportunities for personal time on the Yale campus.

The biographies of the fellows interviewed are below.

Choolwe Muzyamba, program assistant, Action Africa Help International

Choolwe Muzyamba is a Zambian economist and an advocate for sexual reproductive health rights. He is widely recognized for his contribution to the fight for equal opportunities and the rights of women, people living with HIV, and LGTBIs in Zambia. He has been a guest speaker at several human rights conferences on sexual reproductive health. Coming from a country that is that is severely impacted by HIV/AIDS and where some cultural beliefs have disadvantaged women and members of minority groups, Muzyamba has played a major role in ensuring that human rights are respected regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation.

He has worked for the University of Zambia (UNZA) HIV Response Office, ZAMANAWE, Population Council, UNHCR, UNZA Radio, and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a regional organization comprised of 19 member countries in eastern and southern Africa.

Dr. Brian Ngwatu, access to medicines analyst, Clinton Health Access Initiative

Brian Ngwatu is from Uganda. He is a medical doctor by training, with a degree in medicine and surgery from Mbarara University of Science and Technology. He performed a one-year medical internship at St. Mary's Hospital Lacor in the Gulu district of northern Uganda.

Ngwatu was a teaching assistant at Gulu University and has worked predominantly in the field of HIV/AIDS care with community-based programs such as The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) in Uganda. He served as a medical officer and medical coordinator at TASO before moving on to work as a care and treatment specialist at Baylor-Uganda in a health-systems-strengthening project in the West Nile region.

Ngwatu also holds a postgraduate diploma in project planning and management from the Uganda Management Institute.

Dr. Adejoke Christiana Ogunrinde, research fellow, Children’s Health Fund 

Adejoke Christiana Ogunrinde is from Lagos, Nigeria. She earned her medical degree at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. During her studies, she was involved in several community engagement activities that delivered health services such as immunizations, and empowered high school students through career guidance, counseling, and mentoring on sexual health and preconception education. After graduation, Ogunrinde practiced for over four years as a family practice physician before deciding to pursue a population-based approach to health equity.

Ogunrinde recently earned her Master’s in Public Health degree. She has worked with grant support from Beyond the Condom, a national campaign to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy and promote the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives among college students. She also worked on a University of South Florida student challenge grant that aimed to address issues of paternal involvement during pregnancy amongst a minority population in Tampa, Florida.

Lauren M. Smith, monitoring and evaluation fellow, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Lauren M. Smith is from Yorba Linda, California. She completed her undergraduate studies in sociology at the University of California-Irvine.. In 2010, She earned a Master’s in Public Policy degree from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA). While completing her master’s, Smith worked at the UCLA Center for Health Policy, analyzing the health status and health care utilization patterns of American Indian elders in California, and tobacco control policies for American-Indian communities. She completed a thesis on the impact of several cost-controlling policy options for the California AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

Following her work at UCLA, Smith joined the Washington, D.C., office of Mathematica Policy Research, where she worked for two years as a health policy analyst performing program evaluation of federal health care quality improvement and quality measurement initiatives.