HGHI Presents the 2022 LEAD Fellows for Promoting Women in Global Health

The Harvard Global Health Institute is thrilled to announce the fourth cohort of LEAD Fellows for Promoting Women in Global Health. Founded in 2019, the LEAD Fellowship is a collaboration between the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Women in Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Made possible by the generous support of Jane Jie Sun, the mission of LEAD is to promote leadership skills in women from low- and middle-income countries, where women deliver over 70% of healthcare yet make up only 5% of executive positions. The 2022-2023 cohort of LEAD fellows includes four outstanding women leaders from Somaliland, Colombia, Nigeria, and Zambia. The four fellows will commence their year of leadership development, mentorship, and training this September. During the fellowship, they will engage in individualized leadership training, work with world-class faculty, attend executive courses, participate in skill-building workshops, and take part in extensive mentorship and coaching programs. Please see below to learn more about the 2022-2023 cohort.

Introducing the 2022-2023 LEAD fellows: Ana C. Gonzalez of Colombia, Choolwe Jacobs of Zambia, Flora Nwagagbo of Nigeria, and Ifrah Abdi of Somaliland.

Ana C. Gonzalez, MA, MD, PhD  |  Colombia

Ana Cristina González Vélez is a Colombian Medical Doctor with over 25 years of experience. She holds a master’s degree in Social Research in Health as well as a Ph.D. in Bioethics, Applied Ethics, and Collective Health. Dr. González is a renowned international expert and leader in the field of health and sexual and reproductive rights, the right to health, and gender equality. She has held several positions across the spectrum of her profession: as a service provider, policy formulator, researcher, international advisor, activist, and teacher on “health law” at the Faculty of Medicine. Dr. González is the former national public health director in Colombia and co-founder of La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres and the Medical Group for The Right to Decide in Colombia. She pioneered the Causa Justa movement of Colombia that established the most liberal abortion laws in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is also part of the regional coalition “Articulación Feminista Marcosur” and was recently included as one of the 100 most influential people in the TIME100 list of 2022.

“This program represents a huge opportunity for me personally but also at a collective level, as I have been part of different national and regional efforts in Colombia and Latin America aimed to produce changes in the field of reproductive rights…The analysis around the political method, the innovative framings, or the mentorship process I have helped to build as part of the battles for women’s reproductive freedom could benefit immensely from [the LEAD program’s] executive education courses, the senior advisors, the literature, and the experience from other leaders around the world…I [am committed] to bringing more women leaders into the field of reproductive justice.” – Ana Cristina Gonzalez

Choolwe Jacobs, PhD, MPH | Zambia

Dr. Choolwe Jacobs is a Public Health Specialist and a Socio-Epidemiologist currently working as Head of the Department for Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Zambia. She is the co-founder and country director for Women in Global Health, Zambia. She has extensive experience working on Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health, HIV/AIDS, and non-communicable diseases. Dr. Jacobs specializes in gender and health equity in access to health care services and health outcomes as well as in global health leadership. She has been providing technical advice to the Ministry of Health through her leading role in developing technical national guidance on health topics around sexual, reproductive, and child health.

“I have a vision of taking critical leadership roles to ensure gender equity in global health leadership and in health care access or outcomes for populations at national, regional, and global levels. I look forward to a life-changing transformative experience through the Harvard LEAD Fellowship and to being able to obtain skills, capacity, and experience in leadership. I will maximize this opportunity not only for my career goals in global health leadership but more so for the benefit of many emerging leaders in the country, region, and globally through mentorship.” – Choolwe Jacobs

Ifrah Abdi, BSN, MMSc-GHD | Somaliland

Ifrah Abdi is a Certified nurse-midwife and graduate of Edna Adan University Hospital in Somaliland. Ifrah has worked at Edna Adan University Hospital as a midwife for the past 18 years. In Somaliland, Ifrah trains traditional birth attendants in rural villages to help improve outcomes during pregnancy and childbirth. Ifrah presently serves as the Associate Dean of Nursing at Edna University Hospital and is a recent graduate of the Masters in Global Health Delivery Program at Harvard Medical School. Ifrah’s thesis project at HMS assessed factors that impact maternal health outcomes in Somaliland. Ifrah’s vision for Somaliland is the end of preventable maternal deaths by ensuring women can access care at every stage before, during, and after pregnancy.

“I am honored to be a 2022 LEAD fellow. This is a perfect opportunity to share information and advocate for change by empowering girls at a young age, to help create a new generation of powerful women leaders in Somaliland who are unafraid to pursue their dreams and reach their potential. My goal is to utilize the executive leadership training and courses to help me implement continental frameworks that promote gender parity and inclusion so that, over time, women will be in more positions of leadership and able to contribute to the development of the continent.” -Ifrah Abdi

Flora Nwagagbo, MBBS, MPH, PMP  |  Nigeria

Flora Nwagagbo is a public health professional with over 16 years of diversified healthcare experience, spanning clinical practice, healthcare management, public health, and program management. She is the Senior Program Specialist for TB/HIV Care and Support and leads the TB/HIV implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Nigeria. She also serves as the Incident Commander for the HIV treatment program focused on scaling up access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment in Nigeria and achieving HIV epidemic control. In addition, she provides technical and programmatic management of multi-component awards for CDC Nigeria. Prior to joining the CDC, she led the implementation of large-scale health projects funded by USAID, the Global Fund, and multinational companies in the public and private sectors in Nigeria.

“The LEAD Fellowship program is timely. It is coming at a time when my agency is launching its enterprise-wide Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) plan to address pervasive and longstanding health disparities and inequities…It is an honor to be a part of such a rich community of experienced leaders and to learn from their journey. I look forward to the coaching, mentoring, communication, negotiation, and conflict management sessions which will enhance my leadership capacity. I am confident that the fellowship will help me become the exemplary, inspirational, and transformational woman leader that my country and global health so desperately need, and I will be better able to mentor future women leaders who will positively impact global health.” – Flora Nwagagbo.

For more information on the LEAD fellowship at HGHI, please here.

The Burke Global Health Fellowship program at the Harvard Global Health Institute provides funding for Harvard junior faculty members from across the University for innovative research and curriculum development and teaching in global health. The Fellowships are made possible through the generous support of Harvard alumna Katherine States Burke, AB ’79, and her husband, T. Robert Burke, who established the Burke Fellowship to help launch and advance the careers of promising junior faculty in global health.

We are thrilled and honored to introduce the 2022 Burke Global Health Fellows: 

Crystal North, MD MPH

Dr. Crystal North is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Attending Physician in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. As a Burke fellow, Dr. North will research air pollution and lung health in resource-limited settings: understanding the impact of biomass. 

“The Burke Global Health Fellowship is making it possible for me to expand my research from a single site to a regional air quality network and to create collaborative opportunities to study the impact of ambient air pollution on communicable and non-communicable health outcomes among vulnerable populations in Uganda, positioning me at the forefront of global health researchers working to ameliorate the impacts of air pollution on lung health” – Crystal North 

Jocelyn Kelly, PhD

Dr. Jocelyn Kelly is an instructor in Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s (HHI) Gender, Rights and Resilience (GR2) program. As a Burke fellow, Dr. Kelly will develop an evidence-based intervention to improve human and climate resilience in fragile settings. 

“The Burke Global Health Fellowship gives me a unique chance to expand my research intersection of public health and climate solutions. This support comes at a critical time when the role of women in addressing climate change is being increasingly acknowledged, but there is a gap in identifying successful locally-led solutions. I’m honored to contribute to research at this important intersection of issues, and grateful for the chance to expand my work with our incredible project partners.” – Jocelyn Kelly 

Pooja Chitneni, MD

Dr. Pooja Chitneni is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is also an affiliated researcher at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health. As a Burke fellow, Dr. Chitneni will develop an STI partner notification services delivery intervention in southwestern, rural Uganda. 

“I am thrilled to be the recipient of a 2022 Burke Global Health Fellowship. This fellowship support will allow me to pursue research related to global STI care and prevention which is a relatively understudied and under-funded area. This award would allow me to focus specifically on STI partner notification to develop a novel STI partner notification services delivery intervention which I would then be able to further develop and test in the future, thus launching my career as an expert in STI care and prevention in resource-limited settings.” – Pooja Chitneni

Zahir Kanjee MD, MPH 

Dr. Zahir Kanjee is a hospitalist and firm chief at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. As a Burke fellow, Dr. Kanjee will develop a Professional Development Course for Medical Students for the University of Global Health Equity in Kigali, Rwanda 

“By developing, implementing, and studying this curriculum, I hope to make a lasting impact on health professional education in Rwanda and beyond. The Burke Fellowship will allow me to continue to work and innovate at the intersection of my two greatest professional passions: global health and medical education.” – Zahir Kanjee 

To learn more about our 2021 Burke Fellows, including their full bios and project descriptions, please click here.


The Harvard Global Health Institute has opened applications for the Burke Global Health Fellowship. This Fellowship program provides funding for Harvard junior faculty members from across the University for innovative research and curriculum development and teaching (particularly at the undergraduate level) in global health. The Burke Global Health Fellowship is a career-altering opportunity. For alumni, it served as a career catalyst, coming at a critical juncture in faculty’s academic development. It gives Harvard’s most impactful junior faculty the financial freedom to focus on important work that will transform global health across the globe. 

The Fellowships are made possible through the generous support of Harvard alumna Katherine States Burke, AB’79, and her husband, T. Robert Burke, who established the Burke Fund to help launch and advance the careers of promising junior faculty in global health. Through the Burkes’ generosity, HGHI has funded over 30 Burke Global Health Fellows in the last ten years. Learn more about the past Burke fellows and their projects here. 

Fellowship details and eligibility requirements:

There are two categories of Burke Global Health Fellowship awards:

Research: up to $75,000 each

Research awards provide opportunities for junior faculty to conduct foundational research that prepares them to be independent investigators or to conduct exploratory work on groundbreaking questions seldom supported by traditional funding sources.

Curriculum Development and Teaching: up to $25,000 each

Curriculum Development and Teaching awards provide opportunities for junior faculty to apply innovative pedagogy to course development and teaching, particularly at the undergraduate level.

Who is eligible?

Candidates must hold a junior faculty appointment at Harvard University (ie: Assistant or Associate Professor, Instructor, etc.). We welcome proposals from a broad range of fields and perspectives. Faculty working in disciplines outside of health and life sciences are strongly encouraged to apply so long as the work falls within global health. 

Important Dates:

February 18th: Applicants apply by submitting a letter of intent and supporting information. Submissions are reviewed by the Harvard Global Health Institute and Burke Global Health Fellowship Review Committee. 

March 2022: HGHI and the Review Committee select especially promising letters of intent. These applicants are invited to submit a full proposal for final award consideration.

April 2022: Full Proposals are collected and reviewed by an internal and external review committee. 

June 2022: Applicants notified they have received Burke Award

APPLY NOW

For any questions about the Burke Global Health Fellowship contact Olivia Mulvey, Harvard Global Health Institute, at olivia_mulvey@harvard.edu.

In an effort to equip and empower more women leaders in global health, the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health offer a transformational fellowship specifically designed to promote leadership skills in individuals from low- and middle-income countries who will, in turn, mentor future women leaders in global health. We are pleased to announce that the 2021-2022 fellowship will now include an in-person experience during the spring 2022 semester. The in-residence experience of living in Cambridge, Massachusetts offers the unique opportunity for in-person networking, classes, meetings, events and workshops. We look forward to welcoming the selected fellows here next year! Previous to this update, the LEAD fellowship was entirely virtual for the 2021-2022 cohort. 

Harvard Global Health Institute LEAD Fellows will have access to world-class faculty, are paired with senior mentors and the opportunity to build a custom curriculum that aligns with their own unique personal growth and leadership plan. Based on their specific interests and leadership goals, LEAD fellows will engage in a tailored leadership training program, have ample speaking and networking opportunities, and conduct independent project work. The fellowship offers the unique opportunity to build a global network of peers and relationships across schools and departments at Harvard University. The fellowship experience provides global health leaders time to reflect, recalibrate, and explore uncharted territories.

APPLY NOW 

UPDATED CORE REQUIREMENTS: 

  • We welcome applicants from all continents, regions, disciplines, sectors, gender and gender identities. Candidates nominate themselves by applying for the fellowship. There are no age limits or academic prerequisites. 
  • Applicants must work full-time in the field of global health and have at least 15 years of professional experience. Global-health related work completed as a university student does not count as professional experience.
  • Applicants must have demonstrated leadership experience. 
  • Applicants must have the full support of their employer and a champion in their organization who serves as an internal mentor. 
  • Applicants are required to take a leave of absence (or equivalent) from their home institution/organization during the spring full curriculum semester (January – May 2022). 
  • Applicants must be able to obtain a J-1 visa for travel to the United States in spring 2022, and must be able to reside in Cambridge, MA from January – May 2022. NOTE: Visas, housing, and flights will be covered under the fellowship and a living stipend will be provided for the months in residence.
  • During the two years prior to arrival at Harvard, the fellows should not have participated in a full-time fellowship that lasted 4 months or longer. 

The application deadline has been extended to May 3rd, 2021

APPLY NOW 

Interviews with selected candidates will be conducted in June / July with final selections made in August 2021. For more information on the LEAD fellowship experience, application requirements and eligibility please visit our website here.

For questions about the LEAD Fellowship contact Olivia Mulvey, Senior Coordinator, Harvard Global Health Institute, at olivia_mulvey@harvard.edu.

Stéphane Verguet, MPP, MS, PhD, was awarded a Burke Global Health Fellowship in 2019 for a project entitled “The eDALY: Developing a distributional population health metric that incorporates health inequalities and illness-related poverty.” Protecting from the financial risks of illness and improving the distribution of population health are major health system objectives integral to achieving universal health coverage (UHC). Health priority setting must therefore include the impact of interventions per population subgroup (socioeconomic status) and their financial risk protection benefits – avoiding impoverishment from illness-related out-of-pocket expenditures. This will permit identifying “best buys” in terms of equity and poverty reduction gains when investing in health interventions. Stéphane proposed to create an eDALY, that is a metric that extends the DALY (disability adjusted life years) to quantify health disparity and FRP dimensions into priority setting. The work encompassed both modeling investigations and empirical data collections.

Thanks to the Burke Fellowship, Stéphane was able to allocate significant time to focus on shaping these ideas: “I could really dedicate efforts to fully concentrate on the eDALY investigations and to strategize on how to effectively advance this research further; and the Burke Fellowship provided me with this unique opportunity.” While the data collections initially planned have been partially postponed due to COVID-19, his team was still able to pilot an online survey in the US; and hope to refine, tailor and expand this online platform to carry out research in South Africa and Ethiopia in the near future. “The Burke Fellowship ideally granted me time to reflect on where I would like to take my research over the next few years, and, simultaneously, to concentrate on drafting a few important manuscripts over the time of the project”. 

Before the Burke Fellowship, Stéphane had started with developing extended cost-effectiveness analysis (ECEA) to evaluate the consequences of policies in four domains: health gains; out-of-pocket costs averted and financial protection benefits for individuals; impact per income group; and total implementation costs. ECEA has made important contributions so far. Yet, its results are disaggregated, presenting health and financial protection benefits across income groups; and the next step is to develop a systematic way to assess and weigh these dashboards of outcomes. The Burke Fellowship exactly allowed him to pursue this with achieving two important milestones:

1. To test metrics for incorporating health equity into economic evaluations

2. To pilot an online survey on potentially desirable features of such health equity metrics

First, his team reviewed the mathematical construct of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) that aggregate mortality and morbidity outcomes of diseases and that estimate both Years of Life Lost (YLL) and Years of Life lived with Disability (YLDs). For a majority of diseases, DALYs seem greatly driven by YLLs; hence, we started to focus our research on disease-specific mortality outcomes.

Second, due to lack of available data on systematic disease-specific outcomes across income and wealth groups in many countries, his team examined the population-level distributions in age at death using demographic data: that enabled us to characterize disparities in lifespan and to point to worse-off populations (e.g. those with reduced longevity). For that purpose, they analyzed life table data from 30+ countries and constructed indicators that can summarize features of age-at-death distributions. This can be a stepping stone toward further studying health disparities across income groups, including how these overall disparities are related to disease-specific inequalities and the social determinants of health in various low- and middle-income country contexts.

Third, they studied the financial protection dimension that includes the magnitude of illness-related out-of-pocket costs related to disease treatment (e.g. cost of drugs, hospitalizations). Specifically, they designed analytical tools to jointly aggregate the distributions in both financial protection and health outcomes into economic evaluations, so to yield an aggregated dashboard of health and financial outcomes (per income quintile) resulting from the impact of interventions. This enables them to report on the value for money, in terms of joint equity and financial protection, of health interventions to set fair health priorities.

In order to calibrate their mathematical aggregation and “equity” weights, they designed an online survey. The survey explored how people value equity and financial protection by posing ethical dilemmas. Practically, survey participants face a series of illness situations where they have to choose, as individuals around the world do, between two different options. The dilemmas include issues of disease severity, mortality, out-of-pocket costs and medical impoverishment (corresponding to “catastrophic” expenditures, i.e. substantial lack of financial protection). Subsequent analysis of participant responses can help derive relative weights to shape eDALY subcomponents. Next, they intend to launch it in South Africa as soon as possible.

In summary, national health systems must fulfill multiple objectives including maximizing equity and financial protection, in addition to maximizing health, with limited financial resources. Ultimately, the eDALY project which the Burke Fellowship enabled, has helped develop quantitative methods toward selecting the health interventions to prioritize based on criteria of equity and financial protection, for implementing equitable policies toward UHC. This is a stepping stone toward fair priority setting and reducing health disparities and poverty. 

Stéphane Verguet, MPP, MS, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Global Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a core faculty member of the Center for Health Decision Science. He has two mains areas of research, both related to health systems, health economics, and priority setting: (1) the incorporation of the dimensions of equity and financial risk protection into the economic evaluation of health policies with the development and application of the extended cost-effectiveness analysis methodology; (2) health system analysis and performance, including the study of the interaction and integration of health services delivery platforms and health system modeling. He co-leads the Disease Control Priorities – Ethiopia project, which in close collaboration with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health intends to strengthen health economics and priority-setting capacity in Ethiopia.

It’s not every Zoom conference that you see, at the end of a 3-hour session, over 70% of attendees turn on their cameras and start singing and dancing to “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang while streams of celebratory comments and impactful quotes from the event flood the chat. This was exactly the scene following a mentorship event hosted by the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) at the Consortium of Universities in Global Health (CUGH) Conference.

On March 9th, over 150 rising stars gathered for a 3-hour event run by HGHI’s LEAD Fellows – a cohort of mid and high-level international global health professionals completing a fellowship at Harvard University. This event’s objective was to cultivate female leadership in global health through building networking skills and participating in flash mentorship with LEAD Fellows and fellow attendees.  Attendees at the conference viewed short documentaries of LEAD funder Jane Sun, CEO of CTrip, as well as high-level women in global health, who reflected on the importance of mentorship and networking in building strong female leaders. They participated in a leadership training session with Jacqueline Franklin, leadership coach at Coach2Growth, and had presentations and breakout group discussions led by all LEAD fellows throughout the event focusing on investing in your network and building a robust mentorship support system. The conference concluded in small breakout group networking sessions, encouraging attendees to build connections that we hope to support through 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with LEAD fellows and a LinkedIn group, LEAD Extended, to continue this momentum.

Hosting energizing events that inspire people around the world is just one small part of what it means to be a LEAD Fellow… Over the course of the Fellowship, Fellows join the Harvard community as visiting research scientists for a 1-year immersive experience. Working closely with their mentors, Fellows enroll in Harvard courses, attend tailored skill-building workshops, complete 1:1 leadership training, and participate in networking opportunities that help propel their careers forward. While COVID-19 has restricted the 2020 cohort of fellows (Cynthia Mambo, Aida Kurtovic, and Carmen Contreras) to a virtual fellowship, there have been silver linings. CUGH has certainly been one of them, as it promoted the development of continued collaboration among LEAD fellows from both cohorts, beyond the formation of this event.

So, what’s next? For this cohort of LEAD Fellows, it is back to coursework and attending an expert-led workshop on Crisis Management. Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce that the 2021-22 LEAD Fellowship application is now open! We look forward to welcoming the third cohort of LEAD Fellows, who will join a close-knit community of former Fellows from around the world. More information and the application can be found here. In addition, if you missed the conference and would like to explore the content covered, the full recording is available here.

And for now, amidst the immense challenges the world has faced over the past year, we hope you are finding ways to Celebrate Good Times, as our LEAD Fellows so brilliantly did through this event.

In an effort to equip and empower more women leaders in global health, the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health offers a transformational fellowship specifically designed to promote leadership skills in individuals from low- and middle-income countries who will, in turn, mentor future female leaders in global health. We are excited to announce that the 2021 LEAD Fellowship application is now open.

Harvard Global Health Institute LEAD Fellows have access to world-class faculty, are provided with senior mentors and the opportunity to build a custom curriculum aligned to their own unique personal growth and leadership plan. Based on their specific interests and leadership goals, LEAD fellows engage in tailored leadership training program, speaking and networking opportunities, and independent project work. The fellowship offers the unique opportunity to build a global network of peers and relationships across schools and departments of Harvard University. The fellowship experience provides global health leaders time to reflect, recalibrate, and explore uncharted territories.

We look forward to welcoming a third cohort of LEAD Fellows, who will join a close-knit community of former Fellows from around the world. To date, Fellows have come from 6 different countries, with representation from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and South America. Their areas of focus have ranged from HIV/AIDS and healthcare to health policy at the highest levels of government and span disciplines including research, advocacy, administration and policy. You can learn more about our current and past fellows here.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in accordance with Harvard University protocol, the 2021-22 LEAD fellowship program will begin virtually during the fall semester (September through December 2021). We are excited to announce that the 2021-2022 fellowship will include an in-person experience during the spring 2022 semester. The in-residence experience of living in Cambridge, Massachusetts offers the unique opportunity for in-person networking, classes, meetings, events and workshops, and we look forward to welcoming the selected fellows here next year. 

APPLICATION DETAILS: 

We welcome applicants from all continents, regions, disciplines, sectors, gender and gender identities. Candidates nominate themselves by applying for the fellowship. There are no age limits or academic prerequisites. 

  • Applicants must work full-time in the field of global health and have at least 15 years of professional experience. Global-health related work completed as a university student does not count as professional experience.
  • Applicants must have demonstrated leadership experience. 
  • Applicants must have the full support of their employer and a champion in their organization who serves as an internal mentor. 
  • Applicants must take a leave of absence (or equivalent) from their home institution during the spring full curriculum semester. 
  • Applicants must be able to obtain a J-1 visa for travel to the United States in spring 2022, and must be able to reside in Cambridge, MA from January – May 2022. NOTE: Visa fees, housing, and flights will be covered under the fellowship and a living stipend will be provided for the months in residence.
  • During the two years prior to arrival at Harvard, the fellows should not have participated in a full-time fellowship that lasted 4 months or longer.

The 2021 application is now OPEN and will close on May 3rd, 2021.

APPLY NOW 

Applicants will be notified in August 2021 if they have received the LEAD fellowship opportunity. For more information on the LEAD fellowship experience, application requirements and eligibility please visit our website here.

For questions about the LEAD Fellowship contact Olivia Mulvey, Senior Coordinator, Harvard Global Health Institute, at olivia_mulvey@harvard.edu.

2019 LEAD fellowship cohort with Fellowship Donor Jane Sun 

2019 and 2020 LEAD Cohort engaged in a virtual event with HGHI staff 

The Harvard Global Health Institute has opened applications for the Burke Global Health Fellowship. This Fellowship program provides funding for Harvard junior faculty members from across the University for innovative research and curriculum development and teaching (particularly at the undergraduate level) in global health. The Burke Global Health Fellowship serves as a career catalyst, coming at a critical juncture in faculty’s academic development. It gives Harvard’s most impactful junior faculty the financial freedom to focus on important work that will transform global health. 

The Fellowships are made possible through the generous support of Harvard alumna Katherine States Burke, AB’79, and her husband, T. Robert Burke, who established the Burke Fund to help launch and advance the careers of promising junior faculty in global health. Through the Burkes’ generosity, HGHI has funded over 30 Burke Global Health Fellows in the last ten years.

 Fellowship details and eligibility requirements:

There are two categories of Burke Global Health Fellowship awards:

Research: up to $75,000 each

Research awards provide opportunities for junior faculty to conduct foundational research that prepares them to be independent investigators or to conduct exploratory work on groundbreaking questions seldom supported by traditional funding sources.

Curriculum Development and Teaching: up to $25,000 each

Curriculum Development and Teaching awards provide opportunities for junior faculty to apply innovative pedagogy to course development and teaching, particularly at the undergraduate level.

Who is eligible?

Candidates must hold a junior faculty appointment at Harvard University (ie: Assistant or Associate Professor, Instructor, etc.).  Faculty working in disciplines outside of health and life sciences are encouraged to apply so long as the work falls within global health.

Important Dates:

February 15th: Applicants apply by submitting a letter of intent and supporting information. Submissions are reviewed by the Harvard Global Health Institute and Burke Global Health Fellowship Review Committee. 

March 15th: HGHI and the Review Committee selects especially promising letters of intent. These applicants are invited to submit a full proposal for final award consideration.

June 15th: Applicants notified they have received Burke Award

APPLY NOW

For questions about the Burke Global Health Fellowship contact Olivia Mulvey, Senior Coordinator, Harvard Global Health Institute, at olivia_mulvey@harvard.edu.

Daniel Palazuelos, MD, MPH, is a global health implementer-educator who holds positions at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Partners In Health (PIH). In 2018, he was awarded a curriculum development grant through the Burke Global Health Fellowship. We invite you to read about his educational project and experience below. 


Dan Palazuelos, November 2020 

Through multiple experiences training young doctors to address suffering globally, I realized early on that our traditional methods of education were ill-equipped to truly produce the clinically effective and deeply human agents of change that our toughest challenges demand. To confront global inequity, climate catastrophe, and political dissolution, the next generation needs to both understand the challenges intellectually, and have a deep understanding of how these problems affect real people in complex ways. A classic way of describing different types of education is to consider whether or not the approach provides information, formation, or transformation; transformational education remains the holy grail, but there isn’t clarity on how we can provide such experiences en masse. 

My experience as a Burke fellow gave me the opportunity to explore one potential set of tools: multimedia techniques. My goal was to develop a suite of tools and techniques that I could use in multiple educational settings, including the “Essentials of the Profession” class at Harvard Medical School, with residents in the Hiatt Global Health Equity Residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and with young trainees abroad in the sites where Partners In Health works. Because of the flexibility inherent within the fellowship, I explored widely and was able to successfully implement a number of experiences, including the creation of: 

  • Animated videos to help explain concepts in social medicine
  • Virtual reality (VR)/360° video experiences to help inspire compassion and understanding in medical students and residents
  • Original 360° video footage to inspire collaborators and supporters to engage more deeply with community health programs abroad (an example shown here with the NGO PIVOT, in Madagascar.)

Although my Burke fellowship is officially over, the suite of technologies I developed with this award are only the beginning of much more work. The educational experiences I created taught me important lessons based not only on successes, but also on unanticipated challenges. This includes the reality that young students are already inundated with animated content explaining different topics; any new content will have to compete for their attention and have high production value standards to be considered compelling. Considering that countless news outlets and other groups are already producing high quality videos that touch on global health and social medicine concepts, I will probably not be focusing my attention on educational animations in the future. 

Still from a Video on “The Role of Medicine” in the social medicine section of the Harvard Medical School Essentials Of the Profession Class 2020

On the other hand, virtual reality and 360° videos are still not a common platform for students to engage with content. The ability of VR and video to immerse students in a context makes them a very powerful tool, the limits of which we do not yet fully understand. In my role as the Director of Community Health Systems at Partners In Health, a large part of my work includes visiting parts of the world that most of my students will never see, such as remote rural communities or refugee camps. My ability to capture images of these places, with participation from my colleagues living in these contexts, and then make them available to my students through VR headsets remains a very exciting tool for future educational offerings. Ethical concerns around “voyeurism” remain. This issue is not easily resolved, but we are approaching it with care, humility, and partnership, recognizing that capturing such footage represents a huge responsibility, and that the power of how that footage is used should remain with those who live in those contexts.

Still from a 360° video of a home visit, shot in Madagascar in partnership with the non-governmental organization PIVOT

In short, the Burke Fellowship allowed me to experiment with the acceptability and feasibility of a variety of teaching technologies and techniques. Future interventions will require close analysis to see which lead to transformative educational experiences for our students. We have conducted a series of anonymous post-experience surveys, and Harvard students have nearly universally praised their experience viewing 360° videos on a VR headset. We are currently planning a more in-depth analysis of how these offerings improve understanding, and potentially influence students’ career decisions.

Satchit Balsari, MBBS, MPH is an Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), and in Global Health and Population at Harvard Chan. Balsari’s research is focused on the application of mobile and cloud-based technologies to protect the health of populations marginalized by disasters and war. His signature initiatives include EMcounter, a portable digital surveillance tool deployed at the world’s largest mass gatherings; Voices, a crowd-sourced, online disaster response analysis tool; and the Hurricane Maria Mortality Study (co-led with Professor Caroline Buckee), that refuted the US government’s low death toll in post-hurricane Puerto Rico. Balsari directs the India Digital Health Network (IDHN), an interdisciplinary faculty initiative at Harvard’s Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, advancing digital health implementation science in India.. Dr. Balsari has also developed a range of domestic and international courses in global health and mobile technology, taught in India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the US. At Harvard, he co-directs the university-wide course, “Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Social Problems,” and “Societal Response to Disasters” at HSPH. Dr. Balsari is faculty at the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. He is a recipient of the Dr B.C. Roy National Award presented by the President of India; an Aspen Ideas Scholar, and an Asia 21 Fellow of the Asia Society.

In 2019, Satchit Balsari was one of three scholars awarded the Burke Global Health Fellowship. He was selected for his project titled Testing the readiness of (big) health data in India for advanced analytics and AI. In his application, Balsari argued that billions are being invested in big health data analytics and AI to develop decision making and prediction tools that aim to improve how, when, where and why we seek care. However, fundamental questions about how health data may be used, collated, anonymized, exchanged, sold, traded or analyzed are yet to be answered. International jurisprudence around these issues is still developing: empiric testing is now required to find the right balance between the desire to leverage vast amounts of data for secondary use with the need to protect an individual’s privacy and safety. 

During his year as a Burke Fellow, Balsari sought to test the “AI readiness” of healthcare data in India.. In 2019 and 2020 there were significant milestones in the development of India’s health data ecosystem. The pandemic precluded Balsari’s travel to India, and he subsequently modified the work plan while continuing to work towards strengthening the foundation of health data exchange to support the advancement of AI in healthcare. As Balsari reflected on his time as Burke Global Health fellow he stated “the support provided by the Burke Fellowship allowed me to apply my training and skills to do my bit to contribute to…addressing the pandemic, as well as leveraging technology to advance health care in resource-constrained settings. I am deeply grateful for the trust and encouragement.” The Burke Fellowship gave Dr. Balsari concentrated time to think, synthesize, and write several manuscripts; he describes that time as an immeasurable gift. 

Satchit Balsari (center, top) and teammates on a home visit in tribal Melghat region, conducting a needs assessment and examining potential implementation challenges while designing digital health interventions.

As a 2019 Burke Fellow, Dr. Balsari achieved significant goals, and he  continues to contribute meaningfully to the field of AI in global health. Key accomplishments from his time as a Burke fellow include:

1. Introducing regulatory sandboxes (from fin-tech) to the digital health data ecosystem 

In July 2019, the government of India released a prototype for the nation’s health data exchange. It reflected the key principles Balsari’s team had laid out in a 2017 paper,  “Reimagining Health Data Exchange: An Application Programming Interface–Enabled Roadmap for India,” In response to the open call for public review, Balsari (along with colleagues in India and the US) submitted a detailed response, “Response to the Invitation for Public Comment:  National Digital Health Blueprint,” which is accessible online

2. Response to the Joint Parliamentary Committee (India) on Personal Data Protection Legislation

In January 2020, the government of India tabled a draft of the proposed Personal Data Protection Bill, inviting public comment. Balsari convened a team of experts from Harvard and from India to submit a detailed analysis of the impact of the bill on health data, with a particular focus on health data exchange necessary for future applications like machine learning and AI. This document, Responses to the Government of India’s Joint Parliamentary Committee’s Consultation on The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019,” was submitted to parliament in February 2020.

3. AI, big data, and the pandemic 

The pandemic resulted in an explosion of data in the public domain — data that until now were typically neither easily nor publically available. In particular, human mobility data from cell phones, ad tech companies, and social media corporations were used to monitor and inform physical distancing measures, with the goal of applying machine learning tools to control population flow. While arguably useful, Balsari felt this was a flawed undertaking with significant limitations in methodology, analysis, and translational capabilities. With colleagues from Harvard and the humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief, Balsari launched the COVID-19 Mobility Data Network (CMDN) covid19mobility.org, a consortium of 70+ research scientists from around the world that serves as a trusted intermediary between technology companies and local city and state governments from California to Dhaka. This work will now be expanded to a larger interdisciplinary university-wide platform scheduled to be launched in the fall, which Balsari will co-chair with colleagues from HSPH and Direct Relief.  

4. Applying differential privacy to big data

The proposed prototyping of large health data sets for anonymization and access will begin once travel restrictions in India are relaxed. Meanwhile, Balsari pivoted the work plan to apply the same principles to human mobility data from Facebook, and subsequently applied and received an intramural grant from the Harvard Data Science Initiative. Working with faculty from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) and HSPH, this new research will examine the application of OpenDP (developed by Gary King and Salil Vadhan) on Facebook Data for Good datasets. 

Confronting COVID-19: Science, History, Policy Lectures Available to Watch on YouTube

The ongoing COVID-19 epidemic presents an important opportunity for Harvard undergraduates to closely observe this world-changing, historic episode and to analyze scientific, social, and political elements of the U.S. and global responses. This exciting and unprecedented course is co-led by Dr. Allan Brandt and HGHI Associate Faculty Director Ingrid Katz, and began in September 2020.

The course provides an opportunity for undergraduates at Harvard to deepen their understanding of a contemporary crisis and explicate a wide range of disciplinary methods and skills. The course brings together experts from a wide array of fields who offer approaches for understanding essential issues raised by the pandemic, including: the science of the virus; medical and public health responses; and the impact on economies, society, and culture. The course broadly considers how epidemics reveal existing social structures such as fundamental health disparities and social inequalities. Among the questions explored are: how do we balance basic freedoms and social restrictions as we face critical new threats to human health; and how do we think about risk and vulnerability in the face of uncertainty, from a both a personal and political viewpoint?  As the epidemic unfolds in real time, students have an opportunity to integrate interdisciplinary perspectives for understanding epidemic disease and how it shapes and reflects powerful social forces and global systems.

Over the course of the semester, each course lecture will be recorded, captioned, and made available in the YouTube library. Please use the link provided below to watch recorded lectures on the YouTube Channel.

WATCH Full Recordings of Course Lectures Here

For more information on HGHI undergraduate courses and undergraduate global health opportunities visit here.

In an effort to equip and empower a diverse pool of leaders in global health, the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health offer a fellowship specifically designed to strengthen leadership skills in talented individuals from low- and middle-income countries who will, in turn, commit to the mentorship of future female leaders in global health.  

The Harvard LEAD fellowship is a transformative experience designed to empower leaders in global health. Based on their specific needs and goals, our 2020 fellows will spend time at Harvard University engaging in tailored leadership training, mentoring, speaking and networking opportunities, and independent project work. While a fellow at Harvard, they will each have access to world-class faculty, classes, and executive education programs. They will be both encouraged and challenged in new, inspiring ways. 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we intend to start the fellowship in the fall and offer online introductory activities. The full fellowship curriculum, including leadership workshops, mentorship relationships, and classes, will begin in early 2021. We are exploring different formats for the Spring semester, including an in-person experience, an online program, or a blended format. 

We are thrilled to welcome the 2020 Cohort of Harvard LEAD Fellows:

Carmen Contreras, MPH  |  Peru

“During this fellowship, I will improve my leadership ‘soft skills’ to promote positive team dynamics. I want to improve my ability to recognize early difficulties that team members may be having, and to have the empathy to address these challenges respectfully. I also want to learn strategies for working with young professionals who may respond better to a different style of leadership than what I experienced as a young professional. In addition, I want to learn communication and negotiation strategies that will help me forge partnerships with other organizations.”

Carmen Contreras is a public health professional with over 25 years of experience in the field. Contreras has a graduate degree in psychology, with qualifications in Adolescent Health and Sexual and Reproductive Health, and a Masters degree in public health. Contreras began her career by working with families of hospitalized minors with adolescent mothers. She then moved into work that supported research on drug use/abuse prevention in adolescents, domestic abuse prevention, and the development of educational mental health materials with the Department of Health. For 17 years, Contreras has been employed at Socios En Salud (SES), Partners In Health, Peru. At Socios En Salud, Contreras coordinates diverse research projects on the understanding and improvement of tuberculosis (TB) affected populations, community health, and mental health. Between 2013 and 2016, Contreras was part of the SES Community Advisory Board, a group made up of community representatives that discussed and proposed recommendations to different TB protocols in Peru. From 2014 to 2017, Contreras was a member of the Community Research Advisors Group (CRAG) of the Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (TBTC) housed at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CRAG is an advisory group consisting of representatives from five continents, established to increase the value and impact of TB research and interventions to bring greater benefit to affected communities.

Aida Kurtovic, MA, LLB  |  Bosnia

“I am a big believer of life-long education, and after completion of a massive task with the Global Fund, and an analysis of my goals and aspirations, I feel it is the right time to focus again on my personal and academic development. At Harvard, I will seek for intellectual challenge, expansion of my horizons with new knowledge, and approaches which will help me to create more impact, meeting world class experts and my cohort fellows. I believe that Harvard will have a catalytic effect on my current and future roles, career, and help me to grow as a leader.”

Aida Kurtovic is Head of Partnerships in Health (PH), a prominent civil society organization striving to enable equal access to health to all people and strengthen the health system. Aida brings a comprehensive set of skills, including strategic vision, diplomatic sensitivity, and attention to detail, all of which were developed over more than two decades in positions in international development and health program management, with a proven track record of working in complex and politically sensitive situations. 

In her previous professional endeavors, Kurtovic served as the Chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) from  2017 – 2019. Prior to that, Kurtovic served as the Vice-Chair of the Board of the GFATM from  2015 – 2017.  Kurtovic was named into the honorary title of the Chair Emeritus of the Board of The Global Fund by the Board in May 2019. From 2012 until 2014, she represented the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region and was a member of the Strategic Investment and Impact Committee of the Board of the Global Fund.  Deeply involved with Global Fund’s governance reforms, Kurtovic served as the Chair of the Ad Hoc Nominations Committee in charge of selection of the new Inspector General of the Global Fund. Kurtovic was the Vice-chair of the Country Coordinating mechanism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, focusing on strengthening the health system’s response to HIV and AIDS, development of the national programs, policy papers, guidelines, and support to the key affected populations.

Cynthia Mambo, BSc, MA  |  Malawi

“The Harvard LEAD Fellowship will give me the opportunity to strengthen and develop strong management and effective leadership skills, foster teamwork, and growth. This fellowship will not only impact me, but the communities that I interface with. I am grateful for this opportunity.”

Cynthia Mambo is a public health professional with over 15 years of experience implementing and managing programs for HIV/AIDS, nutrition, sexual reproductive health, and orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Mambo is the Deputy Coordinator & Senior Program Advisor for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program at the U.S Embassy in Malawi. Mambo is currently focused on supporting Malawi’s epidemic control trajectory and continues to use her experience in epidemiology, coordination, and relationship building with governmental, bilateral and multi-sectoral counterparts (Malawi government, Ministry of Health, U.S. government), and civil society organizations), to sustain achievements in the HIV response. As the world grapples with how to best address global pandemics such as COVID-19, the gains made over the years to eradicate HIV and achieve epidemic can be lost. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Mambo’s goal is to actively participate in local initiatives that aim to mitigate the impact of HIV on vulnerable populations like adolescent girls and young women (AGYW). She works to ensure that resources mobilized for the response are efficiently used and address gaps highlighted by the faith and civil society communities. During her time as a LEAD fellow, Mambo will conduct research to assess feasibility and acceptability of a mentorship model among AGYW to improve self-efficacy and promote health seeking behavior to access to HIV services in faith-based settings.