August 27, 2019

Meet our 2019-20 HGHI Burke Global Health Fellows

Harvard Global Health Institute Awards Three Burke Global Health Fellowships

Cambridge, MA – The Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) has announced three Burke Global Health Fellowships for 2019-20. The Fellowships, made possible by Harvard alumna Katherine States Burke, AB ’79, and her husband T. Robert Burke, support Harvard junior faculty engaged in global health research and training in the early stages of their careers.

The 2019 Burke Global Health Fellows are:

Satchit Balsari, MBBS, MPH

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Instructor, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Fellow, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Stéphane Verguet, PhD, MPP, MS

Assistant Professor of Global Health, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Core Faculty, Center for Health Decision Science, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Ashley Whillans, PhD, MA

Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit, Harvard Business School; Member, Behavioral Insights Group, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Visit for the Fellow’s biographies and project abstracts.

“The Burke Global Health Fellowship is a catalyst in the careers of some of the most impactful junior faculty at Harvard. The award comes at a critical juncture in people’s academic development and allows them the freedom to focus on important work that will change global health. This year’s awardees are working on critical issues – from bridging the gap between the hype and reality of artificial intelligence in low- and middle-income countries, to understanding the tradeoffs that the poor make when faced with constraints of both time and money, to understanding how issues of cost effectiveness affect equity and distribution of resources. The Fellowship will help these innovative scholars, who come from a range of schools across Harvard, provide critical insights about ways forward on these central issues in global health. This work would not be possible without the generous and ongoing support of Kathy and Bob Burke, whose commitment to the long-term improvement of global public health through investments in our most promising faculty is hard to overstate. We are so deeply grateful for their support in these scholars,” said HGHI Faculty Director, Ashish Jha.

Ashley Whillans from Harvard Business School, who studies how people navigate trade-offs between time and money, said, “This fellowship will provide the tangible and intangible support necessary to complete this ambitious, interdisciplinary project. I am extremely grateful to have the support of the Burke Fellowship to pursue this project, which is something I always dreamed of conducting in graduate school but never believed would be possible to complete. Thanks to the support of initiatives of the Burke Fellowship, I will not only be able to complete the project but complete the best version of the project possible, with the goal of having the most practical and academic impact possible.”

Stephane Verguet from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health discussed the importance of the opportunity as it relates to his timely research: “I have co-led the development of extended cost-effectiveness analysis (ECEA) which goes beyond cost-effectiveness analysis in explicitly assessing the equity and distributional benefits and financial risk protection gains per given expenditure on a policy. The next step for ECEA is to develop an aggregate metric based on health and financial risk protection benefits across socioeconomic groups to enable setting priorities based on one summary figure, which the Fellowship will enable.”

Satchit Balsari, whose research has contributed to advocacy on behalf of vulnerable populations affected by disasters and humanitarian crises, said, “The HGHI Burke Fellowship will provide critical support at an important juncture in my career. It allows me to focus on my research goals, and helps launch a time-sensitive examination of the readiness of health data in the developing world for big data analytics.”

To date, the Burke Fellowship has supported 35 Harvard junior faculty at critical stages of their careers. Applicants across disciplines apply for one-year research or curriculum development awards, worth up to $75,000 or $25,000, respectively. Proposals are reviewed by a committee of established Harvard global health faculty. Previous recipients have been promoted to tenured faculty and have received key research independence and career development awards from the NIH.

“As a former Burke Fellow myself, I know from experience what a tremendous gift this fellowship is for junior faculty who work on global health. For many of us whose careers focus on trying to solve some of the world’s most vexing problems, resources to sustain this effort can be hard to come by. The Burke Fellowship plays a critical need in advancing life-saving work,” said Ingrid Katz, HGHI Associate Faculty Director.

Ashish Jha added, “Harvard is blessed to have junior faculty working to improve the lives and well-being of the world’s most vulnerable populations. We are committed at HGHI to helping these faculty succeed, and this scholarship is instrumental to that effort.”

The Harvard Global Health Institute leverages the expertise and resources across Harvard and beyond to pioneer solutions to address the biggest challenges in human health through the creation, dissemination, and translation of new knowledge. Collaboration within Harvard’s community of students, faculty, researchers, and staff allows HGHI to redefine global health through multisectoral engagement and the creation of sustainable health outcomes in low-, middle-, and high-income countries. HGHI will continue to utilize its platform to train the next generation of leaders and push the status quo with evidence-based knowledge and tools.


Kathryn Kempton Amaral

Director of Education, Research and Operations, Harvard Global Health Institute