Current & Past Fellows
Cynthia Mambo, BSc, MA | Malawi
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.
Aida Kurtovic, MA, LLB | Bosnia
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.
Carmen Contreras, MPH | Peru
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.
Stela Bivol, MD, MPH | Moldova
“Being one of the four inaugural fellows was a privilege and a transformative experience. I come back home with refreshed views and new ideas. I learned about leadership and new trends in global health, I honed some new strategic planning, communication, negotiation and adaptive leadership skills, learned more about design thinking for public health innovations. It was an opportunity to expand the network and put the foundation to a few promising collaborations. I look forward to applying it in our work in the country and the region as part of the 18-month growth plan following the residence phase. We are also starting a mentorship program so I am excited to support women in global health to advance in their careers.”
Stela Bivol is director of the Center for Health Policy and Studies (PAS Center), a non-profit focused on disease response and health systems strengthening in Eastern Europe. A trained family physician, Bivol’s passion lies in bringing a people-centered model of care to Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She has led region-wide efforts to improve the TB response, funded by the Global Fund, contributing to accelerated health reforms in countries such as Belarus and Kazakhstan. While at Harvard, Bivol will focus on what it will take to move Eastern European nations from foreign-funded emergency responses to infectious diseases towards sustainable, more resilient health systems.
Maureen Luba, B.S. | Malawi
“I came to Harvard to hone my professional and leadership skills but in the end I got so much more than that. Spending fourth months at Harvard immersed in a rigorous program gave me the opportunity to network and draw from experiences from many of the greatest global health leaders and advocates. As a LEAD fellow I was able to engage in courses from any Harvard school. The flexibility and customization of this experience allowed me to strengthen the particular skills that define my career as a global health leader.”
Maureen Luba is Africa region advocacy advisor for the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) and an award-winning advocate based in Malawi. A rising force in community work around HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, Luba also founded a mentorship program for girls focused on education and sexual and reproductive health. Working successfully across organizations, geographies and fault lines to build strong civil society organization coalitions, Luba brings Africa-centered leadership and locally-derived agendas to the HIV/AIDS response. While at Harvard, she will explore how to make data tools available for advocacy, and how to drive evidence-based health policy change in her region.
Sai Subhasree Raghavan, PhD | India
“The Harvard Global Health Lead Fellowship is once in a lifetime opportunity which helped me to reflect, rejuvenate and refuel my mind and body, both of which were fatigued from 20 years of continuous and intensive public health program implementation. The world-renown professors of strategy, leadership, communication, and innovation at Harvard University, opened their classrooms for us, not only to learn but also to contribute to the learning. The case study-based class discussions that were drawn from the experiences of leaders and organizations across the world, made us aware of the need for strengthening the unconscious mind by consciously reducing the biases and transforming self, communities, and countries for building one equal and just world we all aspire. The executive education program on climate change made me realize the urgency of action in my country and the program on culture of innovation and leadership transformed me into another world of discovery, inspiring me to want to become an innovation coach for the young public health professionals. The fellowship acquired special status, when we met the benefactor of the fellowship, powerful yet gentle woman leader from China, who reminded me of the importance of continuing the giving circle by nurturing young women leaders who can transform the Asia Pacific Region. Sharing four months with three other extra-ordinary, ambitious and courageous women from Pakistan, Moldova and Malwai taught me, that we often forget the wonders lie outside our conscious purview, if only we allow our minds to peer into and believe the strength of others. “
Sai Subhasree Raghavan is the founding president of SAATHII (Solidarity and Action Against the HIV Infection in India), a non-profit working towards universal access to healthcare, justice, and social welfare for marginalized communities across 36 states in India. Under her stewardship, SAATHII implements HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs as well as initiatives on maternal and infant mortality. At Harvard, Raghavan will research how to expand on SAATHI’s lessons learned and develop a strategic plan that will add new interventions, such as cervical cancer screening and treatment, to SAATHI’s portfolio.
Shabnum Sarfraz, MBBS, MBA | Pakistan
“HGHI graciously opened doors for me to take advantage of the vast intellectual resources available at the various schools and departments of the Harvard University and most importantly gave me the complete freedom to design “my time at Harvard”. The fellowship sharpened my leadership skills necessary to work successfully at the highest policy level while working with diverse stakeholders in contested arenas.”
Dr. Shabnum Sarfraz is senior advisor for health systems and policy research at P2Impact Associates, an organization focused on evidence-informed pathways to transforming the health, education and social sectors in Pakistan. A doctor with an MBA, Sarfaz has found her calling in health systems management, and policy reforms. She has managed large-scale, high-impact health projects while working with the government of Pakistan and partners such as DFID, USAID, and WHO. She is leading the women in Global Health drive in her country. While at Harvard, Sarfraz will conduct research looking at barriers to women in health career advancement in Pakistan.