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Degree Programs

Global Health Affairs

Current Students

GHA students come to Denver from a wide variety of backgrounds. Here, they match their past experiences with the GHA curriculum to help them achieve their career goals in the field of global health. To read more about our current students, please click on on their names below.

Current GHA First Year Students 

Katherine Capenter

Current Program

JD/MA Dual Degree Program
International Studies

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I am very interested in the way that institutions and institutional actors can influence health outcomes in many countries. I am interested in global health policy, primarily in promoting the kinds of policies that encourage health improvements globally and domestically.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I am currently looking for a new project. I am revamping a global health class curriculum at the moment.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

I hope to work with or for the World Health Organization someday and I am sure I will work with a variety of NGOs and other health organizations along the way. GHA has given me an strong analytical platform for approaching

Miki Lendenmann

lendenmann

Current Program

International Development

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I am most interested in how infectious and communicable diseases related to WASH, maternal health, vector-borne illnesses, and child development affect populations, specifically in the developing world.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

My plan as a Peace Corps Master's International student is to serve in the Peace Corps after I complete my coursework next spring. GHA has helped me prepare for the Peace Corps by making me more aware of how to use and interpret health data, develop grant proposals and policy briefs, and how health and development are highly interconnected. Through GHA's skills and theory-based classes, I will be more prepared with practical skills and knowledge to work on health-related projects in the Peace Corps and in my future career. 

Alex Sheldon

asheldon

Current Program

International Human Rights

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I'm particularly interested in the intersections of sexual health and human rights, specifically how HIV and AIDS disproportionately affect women and LGBTI communities. During my Peace Corps service (Dominica, 2010-2012), I worked with various governmental and non-governmental organizations to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS, promote the knowledge and use of prevention methods, and provide access to testing and health care. I worked frequently with a MSM (men who have sex with men) community group and grew passionate about access to health care for people living with HIV and AIDS and saw the importance of eradicating discrimination and stereotypes through education.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

My degree specialization within human rights will concentrate on women's and LGBTI rights internationally and I plan to pursue a career in research and advocacy to promote these rights. My goal is to combine experience in the field and a firm background in methodological skills gained through the Global Health Affairs certificate program to work within an NGO like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, or International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission. I'm extremely excited to join this program and learn from the excellent faculty and students.

Anne Flaherty

aflaherty

Current Program

MA International Development

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I am most interested in gender and health, particularly reproductive health and ensuring access to necessary and desired health care options.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I am very excited to be working with Village Health Partnership over the Winter and Spring quarters of this year. In addition, I will be looking for a health-related international internship for Summer 2013.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

Following graduation, I would love to be working in the field of maternal health. GHA will be providing me the health and social background necessary for this type of work.

Kelly Harvard

kharvard

Current Program

MA International Development

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I am largely interested in health metrics and how data can inform decision making. I am also interested in the effects location has on health, for example urban v. rural.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I am  researching and analyzing the impact that crowdfunding may have on global health financing and its sustainability as a organizational model. I am excited to leave for New Delhi this summer to work on MCH in a slum-community.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

My goal is to eventually work within an international NGO on a programmatic level. The core classes are relevant and the service-learning component is inspiring. The Global Health Affairs certificate will provide me with the theoretical and practical skills necessary to work in project analysis and health program management.

Heather Randall

HRandall

Current Program

MA International Development

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I am most interested in the relationship between global health, human rights, and economic development. I believe that a society cannot prosper if its members do not have access to adequate health care, potable water, and preventive care, and the absence of these elements affect the overall economic health of the society as well.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I am currently in the process of researching the long-term economic impact of lack of adequate health care for street children.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

My long term plans include pursuing a career with USAID or UNHCR to address critical health issues such as access to potable water and essential medical services for developing communities. GHA will help me reach these goals through quantitative analysis courses, case studies, and practical application of the skills I learn in the classroom through internships and other opportunities.

Yizhe Xu

Current Program

Global Finance, trade, economics integration

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I am particular interested in food security issues and sustainable agriculture in developing countries, typically south Africa and urban China.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I am going to work with Cooking Matters in the following quarters this year. Also I am trying to gather people who interested in building self-sufficient schools through agriculture effort in Nairobi, Kenya together to make a project come true. This project is on the beginning stage with Denver Sister Cities Int'l. Anyone reading this: if you are also interested in eco-agriculture, Kenya, food, and school.... please feel free to contact me through yizhe.xu@du.edu

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

My goal is to work with multilateral or iNGOs doing food security related research or projects in the field, such as the World Bank and FAO. Global Health Affairs certificate will help expose me to people who have similar interests. It will also provide me a lot of necessary knowledge and skills that would be helpful to my future career.

Laura Lloyd-Braff

lloydbraff

Current Program

International Development

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I have developed an interest in the intersection of global health and humanitarian assistance.  I am particularly interested in the impact and effects of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases on the international community, particularly in emergency settings.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I am currently working with two Denver based organizations, Project Education South Sudan and Project C.U.R.E. For both organizations, I am developing HIV training modules to implement in South Sudan, Belize, and Swaziland.  The modules are intended to educate youth about the biology, transmission, and prevention of HIV/AIDS, as well as equip them with the skills and confidence necessary to disseminate this information to their peers and combat HIV stigma and discrimination.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

After graduation, I would love to work with an NGO or UN organization that makes health a priority, such as the World Health Organization.  I hope to continue to make HIV/AIDS a professional focus.  GHA will prepare me for this endeavor by equipping me with a well-rounded background in epidemiology, pathophysiology, and public health organization, as well as allowing me to interact with top-notch field experts and inspirational colleagues.

 

Current GHA Second Year Students

Amy Dempsey

adempsy

Current Program

MA International Development

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I am intrigued by the intersection of the development and global health fields. With concentrations in gender and intercultural communications, as well as a regional focus in Sub-saharan Africa, I am passionate about women and girls' health and empowerment.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I recently completed an internship at USAID/Ethiopia, where I was assigned to the Health, AIDS, Population and Nutrition Office. During my internship I drafted a Mission-wide Gender Integration Mission Order, which outlines each technical office's gender integration strategies and provides recommendations for future programs funded by USAID Ethiopia.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

In the future, I hope to join the Peace Corps or work with an NGO dedicated to maternal health and HIV/AIDS initiatives. The GHA program has prepared me to work in women's health and empowerment by allowing me the flexibility to conduct research that appeals to my personal interests. The program's faculty have been great mentors, they are truly invested in their students' interests, advancement and career goals.

Sophie Dila
Sophie Dila

Current Program

MA International Development

What aspect of global health most interest you?

As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru 2008-2011), I am passionate about international health and development issues. Specifically, I am a Latin Americanist with experience working in HIV/AIDS prevention, sexual health education, community health and HIV/AIDS case management. I believe that global health should be approached within an equitable, human rights framework. In many ways, I think empowering rural, indigenous girls in their own self-esteem development can be equally important as preventing the spread of HIV and STIs in at-risk populations. Ultimately, the goal is healthier individuals and communities.

What GHA-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I've focused my global health research on HIV/AIDS and sexual health in Peru and Mexico. I've researched various drivers of HIV/AIDS on low-income, urban groups in Peru, and I am researching the way narcoviolence impacts health, injection drug use and HIV on populations and health systems in Mexican border cities. I am currently an HIV/AIDS Program Intern at Servicios de la Raza, a fantastic community-based non-profit organization that serves the greater Latino population in Denver. 

How has GHA prepared you for your future plans?

I will complete my Master's coursework this quarter, and my next project is a thesis. I will analyze impacts of narcoviolence on HIV/AIDS medical providers in Mexican border cities and address implications for capacity building and health systems strengthening. I have partnered with the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC) and Dr. Benjamin Young, HIV/AIDS Doctor, Adjunct Professor at the Josef Korbel School, and VP Medical Officer of IAPAC.

The GHA program is like a mini Master's of Public Health, and the intensive health coursework prepared me to be a refined development practitioner interacting within the global health sphere. A few of my favorite courses have been Major Diseases: From Pathophysiology to Action with Professor Abdel-Maksoud, HIV/AIDS for International Affairs with Dr. Young and International Health Communication with Professor Botta. The hard skills I've learned in the GHA program will propel me into my professional career. 

Michelle McCullough

mmccullough

Current Program

MA International Human Rights

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I am particularly interested in health education, mental health, and issues regarding access to healthcare.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I recently completed an internship in Northwest Thailand working primarily with hill tribes near the Myanmar border. I was involved with a variety of projects over the summer including oral health education campaigns involving local schools and helping communities install water filters.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

In the future, I plan to work for either an international or local NGO primarily in South or Southeast Asia, working to promote health education and better access to healthcare for rural communities. GHA has helped me toward these goals by offering global health courses that often center on practical implementation.

Gregory Maly

gmaly

Current Program

MA International Studies

What aspects of global health most interest you?

What I find to be fascinating about the field of global health is how interdisciplinary it is in nature. To be an effective analyst and practitioner who focuses on the health of an individual, a community, or the global population, one has to engage in rigorous qualitative and quantitative analysis - understanding and practicing methodologies such as demographic and geographic research; being able to taking an anthropological and sociological approach to community engagement when working in the field; and understanding how to place findings into global political, economic, and social contexts. It's being able to think and work on these levels that makes this work interesting to me. However, what makes this work most meaningful to me is that at the end of the day, as global health practitioners we ask ourselves first and foremost what we can do to improve the life of the individual - because people really are at the center of our work.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

Much of my current work focuses on how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help us better monitor and evaluate global health challenges. This includes both working to bring about a greater level of efficiency to the social science research process, as well a greater level of accuracy in data collection when studying a region or a given health context. Just to give two examples:

This past summer our team from GHA traveled to India to engage in a maternal and child health project in New Delhi. The challenge was to understand the data collection system being used in a small community that borders the Yamuna river, and to see how ICTs could be used to help analysts better understand the health challenges in the region. Ultimately we worked to create a geographic information system that aimed to track maternal health over time, and to provide a resource map for the local community. The work is still in progress, but we're seeing a lot of potential with this new system.

My second area of focus is on the use of crowdsourced data for monitoring and evaluating humanitarian crises. In the context of global health, this very much has to do with the role that the individual can play in reporting new cases of infectious disease, and how such systems can help inform health practitioners of what specific resources are needed and where. However, this type of work also has implications for conflict and natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes - as data management has become increasingly challenging as first responders are hit with an overwhelming amount of information during a crisis.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

The world of development is moving towards an interdisciplinary model, where practitioners must understand more than one subject in relative depth to be effective in their work. What the GHA program does is just that - allowed me to think creatively about some of these innovative methods for social science research, and to analyze some of the worlds most pressing development challenges on a number of levels.

My time spent here has led to my most recent work with TechChange, a DC-based educational group who is working with both software developers and technology users around the globe to enhance online learning communities who are engaged in best practices for the use of ICTs in these humanitarian contexts. However, my hope is ultimately to return to the conflict management field, as that is largely my background, and to bring the methodologies that I have learned here at GHA, as well as at TechChange, to the area of conflict analysis.

Kelsey McMillen

kmcmillen

Current Program

International Human Rights

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I am most interested in public policy and how it affects women and reproductive health. I also am interested in health securities and how it relates to human trafficking.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a project related to health security, policy, and human trafficking in vulnerable populations of Eastern Europe.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

I would like to work for an international non-profit, and my knowledge of health policy and non-profit work can help me with this.

Nicole Pfeiffer
Nicole Pfeiffer

Current Program

MA International Development

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I am very interested in women's health issues, particularly with regards to access to contraceptives and cervical cancer screenings amongst low-income populations, both in the United States and in developing countries.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

Over winter break, I conducted research for Health Horizons International about access to cervical cancer screenings in its four partner communities in the Dominican Republic. In my statistics class, I used the data I collected to evaluate barriers to access to screening services. I used the information to make recommendations to Health Horizons International they could take to increase rates of screenings. Although I am not working on the project right now, I hope to stay in contact with Health Horizons as they begin to implement programs that address this issue.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

I recently took a full-time position with the Family Planning Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. I love my job and plan to stay there for at least the next year. The coursework I've taken through GHA has definitely provided me with skills that I use in my job everyday. In particular, basic epidemiological concepts taught in Major Diseases in Global Health have given me the basis necessary to understand and make decisions about women's health. The service-based research component of Introduction to Global Health Affairs and the policy-brief aspect of Health and Humanitarian Aid have both helped e to gather and present information about health in a clear, professional, and concise manner.

María José "Majo" Aldana Asturias
Majo Aldana

Current program

MA International Development

What aspects of global health most interest you?

Sexual and reproductive health is one of the issues I'm most passionate about, as well as how gender plays a role in health—biologically, socially and culturally. Globally, taking a look at the success and failure in development and health programs on these issues can contribute to thinking of better contextualized alternatives to improve women's health, including policy making in local, regional and international contexts.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

Adolescent and young women's sexual and reproductive health in Guatemala. Some of the issues range from analyzing public policy in favor of them, to sexual education curricula and materials to empower them with information. Additionally, I'm working on ideas for the summer program in Delhi, India on maternal health M&E systems.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

I want to keep on working in issues related to women's health, linking local needs to development initiatives from NGOs, governments and international cooperation agencies. The GHA certificate has facilitated access to practical and theoretical courses that have provided me with different analytic and applied tools to better understand and approach complex health issues. Also, it has broadened the perspectives to look at these issues and has allowed me to tap into part of the network of people working in global health. The summer internship in Delhi was an amazing opportunity to learn in the field and apply the acquired knowledge from my courses at the Josef Korbel School.

Check out Majo's blog to read about her summer experience designing a M&E system for tracking maternal health in the slum community of Jasola in New Delhi, India. 

Kate Davidson
Kate Davidson

Current program

MA International Administration

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I'm most interested in the distribution of disease and health equity, HIV/AIDS, and sexual & reproductive health.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

Last summer I interned with Treatment Action Campaign in Cape Town. I evaluated an education project that enabled 30 social justice activists living with HIV to go to university. I now have a virtual internship with the office of HIV/AIDS at USAID. I am working on a project to understand monitoring and evaluation of trafficking in persons as it relates to public health. I am hoping to uncover new methods or techniques of M&E that USAID can field test and move towards policy.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

I am applying to the Presidential Management Fellows Program and hoping it could get me a job at the CDC, NIH, or USAID. I hope to receive a fellowship that will provide me with more global health experience. I am also considering local organizations that work in global health for employment. GHA has helped prepare me with practical skills, and I feel highly competitive in the global health field because of the knowledge and skills I have gained from GHA coursework and speaker events.

Read Kate's blog to learn more about her travels and summer work in Cape Town.

Micah Dolcort-Silver

mdolcort

Current program

MA International Security

What aspects of global health most interest you?

In August 2011, I transitioned from the United States Army into graduate studies with an emphasis on global health. I believe there is an untapped resource in collaborative efforts between military, public and private partnerships towards effective health interventions in complex situations. Working together across organizational boundaries towards a common good is a challenging but, ultimately, worthwhile endeavor.

What GHA-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I am interested how health interventions are planned, executed and monitored in conflict countries. Conflicting reports circulate regarding Taliban support for internationally-backed vaccination programs for tuberculosis and polio in Afghanistan. I believe this research fits within my broader interest in how organizations with distinct mission goals can cooperate in complex operating environments. Afghanistan is a hard place and I think that solutions demand collaboration.

How has GHA prepared you for your future plans?

Participating in global health classes have both broadened my perspective and exposed me to a host of incredible people willing to stake their beliefs on action. I consider it a rare privilege to call my peers the individuals who have taken the theory and practice of global health to the field, returned impassioned, ready to share. As an International Security student, I consider of great advantage to be able to engage national security challenges with a working knowledge of global health matters. It allows me to bridge a gap between two communities that are finding increasing overlap in mission and personnel.

Rachael Ingersol

ringersol

Current program

MA International Development

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I am interested in nutrition, health care access and community health.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

My future goal is to work on health projects at an international NGO. The GHA program has provided me with valuable skills courses; such as Major Diseases in Global Health, Health Data for Decision-making and Practical Applications in Global Health. These courses have given me practical tools that will be useful for a career in global health and development.

Nathan Raymond
Nathan Raymond

Current program

MA International Studies

What aspects of global health most interest you?

The aspect of global health that most interests me are the social determinants of health. Many infectious diseases and public health concerns such as traffic safety have strong roots in inequality and social stratification. Solutions for problems related to poor water and sanitation have seemingly simple solutions but the implementation, up-take, and success of these solutions is incredibly complex. Working at the community level to increase the success of implementation is just one aspect of Global Health that excites me.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

During summer 2012, I participated in GHA's water, sanitation and hygiene research project in Nairobi, Kenya and have continued this work as a Research Assistant for Professor Renee Botta. I am also working at the Tri-County Health department as a Men's Health intern.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

My future career plan is to apply for Foreign Service Officer positions with the State Department and USAID as well as global health positions focused on infectious diseases and other public health issues in sub-Saharan Africa. GHA has helped me to approach a variety of health issues in a multi-sectoral way. The study of policy, political theory, epidemiology, and public health at Korbel and through GHA allows me to present myself as a capable Global Health practicioner who can create evidence-based and creative solutions for health issues.

Zachary Gitlin

zgitlin

What aspects of global health most interest you?

Infectious Disease and health development as it is tied to democratization.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I am currently working for the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care. I have been working on a project on task shifting in Ethiopia.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

GHA has given me the tools to work with health data and look at health in a different light. Before I started the program I would of never made the connection of health development and democratization. I hope after I graduate I will be able to continue doing research in global health.

Jessica Harig

jharig

Current program

MA International Development

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I am most interested in lack of access to a consistent supply of safe, clean, affordable drinking water, and the associated impacts on community health when this is achieved.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

This past summer I worked for Global WASHES - a community based water and sanitation program in Nairobi's Kibera slum. Our activities focused on health and hygiene trainings, educating community leaders on the spread of water borne diseases and how to protect their families. GHA helped to make that experience possible for me.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

In the future I hope to be working on water delivery and infrastructure projects. GHA has helped me understand the related health issues and impacts of water projects, which is an essential component for designing a successful water project.

Rachel Schmidt

rschmidt

Current Program

MA International Development

What aspects of global health most interest you?

As I believe the right to health is a fundamental human right, I am most interested poverty related health issues such as nutrition and food security, sanitation, the physical environment, and easily preventable communicable diseases, as well as global partnerships to address these issues.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

Last quarter I finished a research project on food security for internally displaced populations in Colombia, which I am looking to follow up with more research on other obstacles to health that the displaced Colombian population faces, including nutrition, sanitation, housing, urban homelessness, etc.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

I plan to work for a few years in the areas of community health and development in Latin America before pursuing an MPH. I would like to gain field and research experience but eventually work to influence policy. GHA has helped me to understand at a deeper level the political economy of global health and to make the linkages between the local/global and the political/social/economic aspects of health which do not necessarily conform to international boundaries. More than anything, by focusing on health as a global concern with global ramifications, the GHA program has better prepared me to enter this dynamic field in which international collaboration to address issues that affect us all is not just effective, but essential.

Xian Zhang
Xian Zhang

Current program

MA International Development

What aspects of global health most interest you?

I've been mainly interested in issues of health care access for marginalized groups, which currently has me focusing on gender and reproductive/maternal health. But I'm also interested in learning more about how health policies impact other marginalized groups'—children, minority ethnic groups and indigenous peoples—access to quality medical attention.

What global health-related projects or research are you currently working on?

I am currently interning with the Global Health Initiative office (soon to be Global Health Diplomacy) here at the Department of State.

What are your future plans, and how has GHA helped you prepare for them?

The GHA program offers many of the skills courses essential to operating in the field, taught by quality faculty who will make subjects like demography and health data analysis digestible for students without a medical background. In the future, I hope to work for either the federal government, in planning health initiatives to make sure they are condusive to how individuals actually live and behave, or work for an organization to implement these initiatives on the ground. I think GHA has really equipped me with the knowledge to do complete either of these tasks successfully.