Student Advisory Council

HGHI Student Advisory Council

(Not pictured: Audrey Effenberger & Daniela Muhleisen)

The Harvard Global Health Institute Student Advisory Council (SAC) is made up of representatives of Harvard College student groups dedicated to many facets of global health including equity, human rights, mental health, advocacy, altruism and sustainability among others. Led by SAC President, Katie Blanton, members advise HGHI on pressing global health issues at the College level, provide insight and feedback on events and activities, and strategies to strengthen engagement with Harvard College students. SAC members are active leaders in global health engagement at Harvard, in Boston and beyond.

majo acostaMajo Acosta

Hometown: Bogota, Colombia

Student Group: Harvard University Global Health Forum (HUGHF)

Concentration/Secondary: Sociology / Global Health (Pre-med)

Graduation: 2020

Majo Acosta is a freshman at Harvard and an aspiring missionary doctor. She wishes to work with Doctors Without Borders or Samaritan's Purse as a trauma surgeon and get the chance to serve people in her home country of Colombia. 

MNMichaela Nesson

Hometown: Newton, Massachusetts

Student Group: Refresh Bolivia

Concentration/Secondary: Sociology / Global Health and Health Policy

Graduation: 2019

Michaela is a Junior living in Pfoho, originally from outside of Boston. She became involved with Refresh Bolivia when she went on their J-term volunteer trip in 2017, and has since become heavily involved with the board and its various projects in water and sanitation infrastructure, research, and health clinic planning. She is interested in global health and international development, particularly in health policy and the social determinants of health inequities. She is excited to collaborate with other global health groups on campus and pursue a career in global health and development.

Sahar Ashrafzadeh, Founder and Former President (2015-2016), HGHI Student Advisory Council

Hometown: Stevensville, Michigan

Student Group: Harvard College Rural Health Association

Concentration/Secondary: Molecular and Cellular Biology / Global Health and Health Policy

Graduation Year: 2017

Sahar Ashrafzadeh is a senior living in Kirkland House. She has been active in international development and global health groups for the past three years, serving as President of the Harvard Forum for International Development and subsequently the Founder and President of the Harvard College Rural Health Association. She also engages in public health research outside of campus, with projects investigating issues such as barriers to diabetes self-management in rural Kentucky, the effectiveness of diabetes education in improving the health of type II diabetics in Iran, and the influence of dietary acculturation on the growing Iranian immigrant population in Canada through a Cordeiro Health Policy Fellowship.

Katie Blanton, President, HGHI Student Advisory Council

Hometown: Washington, District of Columbia

Student Group: Boston Student Health Activist Community (BSHAC)

Concentration/Secondary: History and Science / Global Health and Health Policy

Graduation Year: 2018

Originally from DC, Katie is a junior in Leverett House concentrating in History and Science with a focus on the history of medicine and public health. On campus, Katie organizes with the Global Health & AIDS Coalition, tutors through the Bureau of Study Council, and serves on the board of the International Women's Rights Collective. She was drawn to the Boston Student Health Activist Community because of their commitment to health equity and social justice, and is thrilled to represent the group on the HGHI Student Advisory Council!

VincentVincent Lin

Hometown: Falmouth, Massachusetts

Student Group: Harvard College Partners In Health Engage

Concentration/Secondary: Molecular and Cellular Biology / Global Health and Health Policy

Graduation Year: 2018

Vincent is interested in social justice work. Vincent co-leads the Harvard College PIH Engage team, serves on the PIH Engage National Steering Committee, is a '17-'18 RESULTS Real Change Fellow, works on health equity campaigns around homelessness, the opioid crisis, and single-payer, and coordinates fundraising and advocacy with the Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors. He's happy to talk with anyone about deep engagement with inequity and structural violence, and channeling our power into taking action in solidarity with our sisters and brothers everywhere. Email to set up a time!

Audrey Effenberger

Hometown: Colts Neck, New Jersey

Student Group: Green Medicine Initiative

Concentration/Secondary: Neurobiology / Applied Mathematics

Graduation Year: 2019

Audrey Effenberger is a sophomore in Leverett. She's deeply interested in the application of science towards the benefit of humankind – hence her interest in global health! Outside of the classroom, she designs for the Harvard Independent, Harvard Science Review, and serves as an officer of the Green Medicine Initiative.

danielle etzelDanielle Etzel

Hometown: Madison, CT

Student Group: Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum (HUGHF)

Conentration/Secondary: Economics / Chemistry 

Graduation Year: 2019

Danielle Etzel is a sophomore interested in global health and comparative medicine and healthcare delivery across different countries. She is interested in the access, cost, and quality associated with healthcare. She is also interested in the crossover between global health and planetary health, and the ways to combine these initiatives for a sustainable, healthier future. Besides being the Outreach Director for HUGHF, she is a member of the Women's Varsity Soccer Team, a Peer Premed Advisor (PPA), and volunteers for Boston Foods. She is looking forward to gaining research experience and volunteer experience.

Karen Malacon

Hometown: Cerritos, California

Student Group: Partners in Health Engage

Concentration/Secondary: Neurobiology / Global Health and Health Policy

Graduation Year: 2019

Karen Malacon is a sophomore in Currier House originally from Southern California. She is especially interested in the fields of maternal and child health, mental health, and HIV/AIDS. Her passion for global health developed after spending January in Bolivia giving public health workshops and conducting water surveys. She spent this past summer in Kisumu, Kenya as an intern for Omega Foundation developing a program with the goal of increasing male involvement in reproductive health in the community. Karen hopes to pursue an MD/MPH in the future. Besides being a part of the HGHI SAC and PIH Engage, she is also involved with Strong Women Strong Girls, Seeds of Hope, Latinos in Health Careers, and is currently conducting research in neuroscience on the olfactory system in fruit fly larvae. During her free time, she enjoys having water balloon fights and playing soccer.

Daniela Muhleisen

Hometown: White Lake, Michigan

Student Group: Harvard Global Mental Health Coalition

Concentration/Secondary: Government / Global Health and Health Policy

Graduation Year: 2019

Daniela is interested in the way that non-communicable diseases like mental illnesses affect the burden of disease around the world, how funding agencies justify cost-effective strategies for treatment, and the ways in which stigma and social constructs overlap -- and often interfere -- with the the allocation of funds and the availability of resources for  mental health care. At Harvard, she am the Co-President of the Harvard Global Mental Health Coalition and the Education Director for the Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum, where she leads global health workshops and discussions at a local  high school in Cambridge. Daniela is also a member of the Harvard Global Health and Aids Coalition and the Student Labor Action Movement. Besides global health, she loves poetry workshops,  Eastern European studies, and pineapple tea. 

Scott Sussex

Student Group: Harvard College Effective Altruism

Concentration/Secondary: Applied Mathematics

Graduation Year: 2019

Scott is currently pursueing an applied mathematics degree with a focus in computer science. He is representing Harvard College Effective Altruism, a group that has a strong interest in global health initiatives, because of many of these initiatives being considered highly effective.  More broadly, Harvard College Effective Altruism is concerned with raising awareness of effective altruism at Harvard.


Shayla Partridge

Hometown: Queens, New York

Student Group: Global Health and AIDS Coalition (GHAC)

Concentration/Secondary: History and Science / Global Health and Health Policy

Graduation Year: 2018

Shayla is a Senior in Leverett House studying History and Science and Global Health & Health Policy. She represents the Global Health and AIDS Coalition (GHAC) on the HGHI Student Advisory Committee, which is a small campus group that organizes locally and nationally with Student Global AIDS Campaign and HealthGAP. GHAC uses direct advocacy and activism tactics to improve funding for global health mechanisms – including PEPFAR and the Global Fund – and improve access to medicines by targeting intellectual property provisions and trade agreements that threaten lives.

Shayla’s interests in health equality and accessibility have always been something she’s hoped to incorporate into her academics and work. After high school she took a gap year and had the opportunity to gain a global perspective on some of these topics while working in health centers and infant homes in Uganda and Malawi where she saw issues of access and healthcare quality firsthand. Her most recent summers have been spent at AVAC, a New York-based global advocacy and research group for HIV prevention, and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as the Access Campaign’s HIV/TB Policy Intern. When not organizing with GHAC, Shayla volunteers as an educator with Peer Health Exchange in Boston, which allows her to teach sexual health workshops to local high school students. She also works as a student guide at the Harvard Art Museums.

Sarah WelshSarah Welsh

Hometown: Bellingham, Washington

Student Group: Engineers without Borders

Concentration: Environmental Engineering

Graduation Year: 2019

Sarah Welsh is a member of Engineers without Borders because she believes in the importance of improving peoples lives around the world. She is currently working on a water distribution project in Los Sanchez, Dominican Republic. This project has helped Sarah develop important technical engineering skills, as well as how to navigate difficult social and societal situations that arise in global development. She would like to continue to work in global health and development as a professional environmental engineer. Aside from school, Sarah loves backpacking, canoeing, cooking, and music.