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Welcome to our Current Student and Alumni Page

The Global Health MA Program accepted the first cohort of students in Fall 2020. View our current cohort of students and our alumni.

Class of 2023

  • Stephanie Alfonso

    Stephanie Alfonso

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.A. Global Health

    Global Health Interests: Creating inclusive non-binary sexual health education and advocacy programs, Decolonizing research and language in global health, Mental health outreach and awareness for the LGBTQIA+ community, Research on substance abuse, alcoholism and twelve step programs. Health equity, reproductive rights, social justice and health care for all.

    Global Health Field Experiences: Participated in UC San Diego summer program, Health Frontiers in Tijuana as a medical volunteer. Participated in the JFS Migrant Shelter Volunteer Program as a medical health screener administering Covid-19 test. Participated in UC San Diego Global Health Horizons Honors Thesis Program.

    Career Aspirations: Researcher in global health as a practicing physician who works to educate others on non-binary sexual health and education by creating programs designed to reach all individuals. My focus population will be on marginalized communities such as the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities.

     

    smalfons@ucsd.edu

  • Lance Casiple

    Lance Casiple

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.S. in Cognitive Science with a Specialization in the Clinical Aspects of Cognition, B.A in Global Health

    Global Health Interests: Health Diplomacy, Health Policy, Clinical Epidemiology

    Global Health Field Experiences: UC San Diego Health Infection Control/Clinical Epidemiology volunteer, UCSD Global Health Horizons Honors Thesis

    Career Aspirations: Health program manager for a government agency or NGO, Foreign Service

     

  • Madison Faith Everett

  • Daniel Alberto Hayek

    Daniel Alberto Hayek

    Undergraduate Major: UC Santa Cruz B.A. in Psychobiology

    Global Health Interests: Deconstructing Colonialism in Healthcare, Housing and Healthcare, Healthcare Education, Exploring paradigms of faith and authority in medical science.

    Global Health Field Experiences: San Diego Habitat for Humanity Construction Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity International Mekong Big Build Construction Volunteer, Clinical Preceptorship in Ho Chi Minh City, Miramar College EMT Program

     

  • Melissa Bittencourt Jaeger

    Undergraduate Major: Federal University of Health Sciences (Brazil) B.S. in Psychology (Emphasis in Public Mental Health)

    Global Health Interests: Global Mental Health, Public Health, Gender and Sexuality Studies, LGBTQIA+ community, Sexual Health, and Health Disparities

    Global Health Field Experiences: Brazilian Licensed psychologist since 2014 counseling mainly LGBTQIA+ population and Brazilians who live abroad; Volunteer Psychologist at the Brazilian Legal Advice Centre for vulnerable women and LGBTQIA+ population; Intern in the Primary Healthcare Service, Family Health Center, and Psychiatric Hospital of the Brazilian Public Health Care System; Research Assistant at the Brazilian National Secretariat for Drug Policy (project with mothers and babies exposed to crack) and at the Brazilian Maternal Hospital (project with women with postpartum depression; Master's Thesis: Experiences of bisexual women: identity politics and processes of marginalization

    Career Aspirations: Intend to integrate gender and sexuality studies into Global Mental Health and work with health inequalities in Government Agencies, or international organizations.

     

  • Isaac Lara

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.S. Clinical Psychology & Global Health, Minor in General Biology

    Global Health Interests: Global Mental Health, Psychiatry, Decolonizing Health, Health Equity, Policy, Human Rights & Social Justice

    Global Health Field Experiences: Associated Students of UC San Diego (Office of Health & Well-Being); Human Experience & Awareness Lab Undergraduate Researcher

    Career Aspirations: Mental Health Innovation, Health Promotion and Mental Healthcare

     

  • Lynna Le

    Lynna Le

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major, Asian American & Pacific Islander Studies and Cognitive Science Minors

    Global Health Interests: Structural Violence, Health Equity, Nonbiomedical Medicine (e.g. Chinese Medicine), Asian Diaspora, Psychiatry, Global Mental Health, Transnational Healthcare, Politics of Care, Carceral Systems

    Global Health Field Experiences: Writer and Researcher with the Asian Mental Health Project, Transcriber/Coder for the TASET (Tracing Asylum-Seeker’s Experience & Trajectories) project at UCSD, Manuscript Proofreader for Dr. Chen Yuan, CoronaNet Project Intern, UCSD All of Us Volunteer, Global Health Senior Thesis investigates mental health stigma as an important site for critical study in relation to larger projects of power and how ascribing much mental health stigma to Chinese immigrants and other Asian diasporic peoples does not straightforwardly serve to de-stigmatize them

     

  • Zachary Manalo

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.S. Human Biology & Global Health Minor

    Global Health Interests: Trans-border Health, Immigrant Health, Nutritional Health and International Food Disparities

    Global Health Field Experiences: Child Family Health International Intern in Bolivia, Health Frontiers in Tijuana interpreter and medical scribe, Founder of Expanding Visions for Health (EVH) at UCSD, SALK research Institute research assistant under Dr. Sakaguchi

    Career Aspirations: Health Program coordinator fighting for food accessibility, Community Health Worker for Migrant Communities along the CA-MX Border. International Policy Researcher.

     

    zmanalo@ucsd.edu

  • Kirra Leigh Mardesich

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major, Health Care-Social Issues Minor

    Global Health Interests: Reproductive justice, Maternal and child health, Women’s health, Health policy, Food justice, Healthcare accessibility/equity

    Global Health Field Experiences: United Women of East Africa and Feeding San Diego

     

  • Yessenia Martinez

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.S. with Majors Human Biology and Global Health

    Global Health Interests: Medical Anthropology, access to and use of healthcare, quality of care, burden of disease, disparities in health insurance coverage, hospital allocation and racial disparities

    Global Health Field Experiences: UC San Diego Health Volunteer Intern, Health Frontiers in Tijuana Volunteer Intern, ACES Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT)

    Career Aspirations: Physician Administration, Physician Liaison, Health Program Management

     

    yem007@ucsd.edu

  • Vaishnavi Melkote

    Vaishnavi Melkote

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.S. Global Health, B.S. Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience

    Global Health Interests: Global Mental Health, Addressing Healthcare Disparities, Healthcare Policy Reforms

    Global Health Field Experiences: Intern for Health Frontiers in Tijuana (HFiT), Board Member and Intern for Community Health Project (CHP), Clinical Assistant at UCSD Autism Center of Excellence, Geriatrics Quality Improvement Science Research Assistant for UCSD Health Group Advance Care Planning, Research Intern at UC Merced Human Computer Interaction Lab (paper published), Volunteer at UC Merced Student Accessibility Services, Founder of The Generation Bridge volunteer project, Board Member and Volunteer at COREL (COmmunity REconnecting elderly Lives)

    Career Aspirations: Practicing Physician and Global Health Researcher with a focus on mental healthcare

     

  • Tevykah Colleen Pouv

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego General Biology Major, Global Health Minor

    Global Health Interests: Immigrant, Refugee, and Migrant Health, Health Misinformation, Health Equity, Community Medicine, Infectious Disease Prevention and Control

    Global Health Field Experiences: Asian Pacific Health Foundation Program Coordinator, Palomar Pathmaker Intern, Cell and Developmental Biology Research, UCSD Undergraduate Summer Research Scholar 2021

    Career Aspirations: Aspiring Physician interested in Immigrant and Refugee Health

     

  • Andres Angel Rivera

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.S. Global Health Major & B.A. Anthropology with a Concentration in Archaeology Major, General Biology Minor

    Global Health Interests: Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Infectious Disease

    Global Health Field Experiences: Health Frontiers in Tijuana, Intern/ Assistant in Drug Safety & Pharmacovigilance Data Analysis and Clinical Trials Consulting

    Career Aspirations: USAF Public Health Officer, CDC Epidemiologist

     

  • Sahara Rout

    Sahara Rout

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Neurobiology Major, Minors in Global Health & Psychology

    Global Health Interests: Mental Health in South Asian Communities, Immigrant and Refugee Health, Women's Health, Substance Abuse, Infectious Diseases (HIV/AIDS), Medical Education, Health Policy, and Health Equity in Relation to Gender, Race, and Socioeconomic Status

    Global Health Field Experiences: Health Frontiers in Tijuana Student-Run Free Clinic Intern, Palomar Healthcare Pathmaker Intern, Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Department of Neurosciences - UCSD School of Medicine, UCSD Health - Dermatology Clinical Trials Assistant, Research and Public Policy Intern for Neurocrine Biosciences, Medical Assistant at Psychiatric Clinic, Former President of Pre-Meds without Borders, Student Health Advocate for Sexual Health, Well-Being Cluster Student Adviosry Board (WCSAB) Marshall College Representative

    Career Aspirations: Aspiring Physician Interested in Neurology, while working to Promote Healthcare Access and Equity through Policy and Advocation

     

  • Andrew Schneider

    Undergraduate Major: Miami University (Ohio) B.A. in Political Science with Minor in History

    Global Health Interests: Health Policy, Global Health Diplomacy, Mental Health, LGBTQ+ Health, Global Health Inequities, and Clinical Epidemiology

    Global Health Field Experiences: Service learning trip to a medically underserved area of the Dominican Republic

    Career Aspirations: Aspiring physician with interests in neurology and otolaryngology. I hope to use my training at UC San Diego to inform future efforts to provide medical services in underserved communities.

     

  • Nina Suh-Toma

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.S. Global Health and Biology Minor

    Global Health Interests: Environmental Racism, Women's Health, Health Equity, Health Law and Policy

    Global Health Field Experiences: Center on Gender Equity and Health, Health Frontiers in Tijuana (HFiT), Alzheimer's Therapeutic Research Institute, Student Ambassador with UC Global Health Institute

    Career Aspirations: Working at a public interest environmental law organization

     

  • Kacey Tran

    Kacey Tran

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health B.S.

    Global Health Interests: Women's Health, Maternal and Child Health, Health Disparities, Health Equity, Preventive Medicine

    Global Health Field Experiences: Phlebotomist/ Lab Assistant at Scripps Health, Independent Research in Bioethics and Global Surrogacy Trade with Professor Brandt, Global Health Senior Thesis in Reproductive Injustice at the U.S.-Mexico Border

    Career Aspirations: To become a Pediatrician or Family Medicine Physician. Be able to open free clinics to provide healthcare in low-income, marginalized communities

     

  • Ivy Yuson

    Ivy Yuson

    Undergraduate Major: UC Davis B.S. Global Disease Biology, Minors in Education & Public Health Sciences

    Global Health Interests: Global and Community Health, Humanitarian Health, Immigrant Health, Health Prevention and Promotion, Program and Project Management

    Global Health Field Experiences: Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant in the Chronic Disease Control Branch at the California Department of Public Health; Sutter Health Emergency Department Scribe; American River College EMT-Paramedic Program; Bayanihan Clinic, a UC Davis Student-Run Clinic; UC Davis Filipinx Association for Health Careers; Emergency Medicine Research Associate Program - UC Davis Health; Undergraduate Researcher in the Functional Molecular Biology Lab at UC Davis

    Career Aspirations: Health Program Manager in an international health organization, Government agency, or NGO overseeing the design and implementation of projects for clinics in under-resourced communities

     

    eyuson@ucsd.edu

  • Segen Zeray

    Segen Zeray

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major, Human Developmental Sciences Minor

    Global Health Interests: Health and developmental outcomes of refugee and displaced youth, preventative care and holistic health, health equity, human rights and social justice

    Global Health Field Experiences: SD Refugee Tutor at Ibarra Elementary and after school aid and food drive volunteer with Metro Villas Community Center serving underprivileged/refugee youth in the City Heights East-African community. Conducted Global Health Senior Thesis

    Career Aspirations: Working in the WHO or UNICEF to promote health equity and intervention within still-developing communities, and in particular serve displaced and refugee youth and address their negative health outcomes

     

Class of 2022

  • Sifat Alam

    Sifat Alam

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.S. Global Heath Major

    Global Health Interests: Cardiovascular Health, Preventative Medicine, Health in Bangladesh

    Global Health Field Experiences: Research assistant with Dr. Paula Saravia studying the intricate relationship between environmental precarity and mental health.

    Career Aspirations: Physician, using acquired global health and medical knowledge to open a clinic in Bangladesh for those in underserved communities 

  • Khadiga Fouad

    Khadiga Fouad

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major

    Global Health Interests: Immigrant and Refugee Health, Infectious Diseases

    Global Health Field Experiences: World Health Organization, Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office - Health Systems Development


    MA Thesis Title: "Association Between Acculturation/Acculturative Stress and Healthcare Seeking Behaviors of Iraqi Refugees" 

    Committee:
    • Dr. Wael Aldelaimy, Chair, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health & Human Longevity Science
    • Dr. Saiba Varma, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
    • Dr.  Bonnie Kaiser, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Global Health


    Abstract:
     The current refugee crisis is the most pressing global challenge, threatening the safety, wellbeing, and quality of life of 80 million forcibly displaced individuals. Refugees’ experiences of pre-and post-migration trauma, post-migratory stressors, the additional burden of resettling in a new country, and a history of mental illness make the acculturation process of refugees unimaginably difficult and taxing, both mentally and physically. There is a lack of research exploring acculturative stress as a barrier to seeking healthcare. Participants in this study consisted of 213 Iraqi refugee women resettled in San Diego, California. The Social, Attitudinal, Familial, and Environmental Acculturative Stress (SAFE) scale was used to assess acculturative stress in the sample. Healthcare access, history of mental illness, and demographic information were also collected. Statistical analyses included analysis of variances (ANOVAs), Tukey post-hoc pairwise testing, t-test procedures, and chi-square tests of independence to determine the association between acculturative stress and healthcare access. A Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) was constructed to represent the focal relationship and confounding variables. Quantitative analysis indicated higher levels of acculturative stress were associated with lower levels of education, increased financial strain, history of mental illness, and seeking mental health care. Predictors of acculturative stress, specifically increased financial strain and history of mental health, were also significantly associated with putting off, postponing, or not seeking medical care. Furthermore, those with higher levels of education were more likely to be dissatisfied with the U.S healthcare system and prefer receiving treatment from healthcare providers of the same race or ethnicity. The results of this study highlight the barriers to accessing healthcare services refugees face upon resettlement. An understanding of these barriers will help with targeted interventions to ensure the health and wellbeing of refugees. Future research should examine qualitative reasons why refugees postpone care.

  • Hayden Guss

    Hayden Guss

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.S. Global Health Major & B.S. Biochemistry and Cell Biology Majors

    Global Health Interests: Infectious Diseases (Tuberculosis), Syndemics, Preventative Medicine, Global Mental Health, Health Education

    Global Health Field Experiences: Health Frontiers in Tijuana Intern, Health Frontiers in Tijuana Coordinator, Pathmaker Intern at Palomar Health, Psychiatric Medical Scribe with Senior Medical Associates (at Palomar Health)

    Career Aspirations: Primary Care Physician and Global Health Researcher

     

  • Emily Hardy

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.S. Psychology with a Specialization in Clinical Psychology & B.A. Global Health Majors

    Global Health Interests: Efficacy of mental health treatment including 30-day SUD programs, Global Mental Health, Cultural competency in healthcare treatment

    Global Health Field Experiences: Crisis Text Line Counseling, HFiT, Behavioral Health Technician in Substance Use Disorder Eating Disorders, and Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorders

    Career Aspirations: Earn a doctorate in Clinical/Counseling Psychology and work as a Psychologist with adult patients


    MA Thesis Title: “Barriers and facilitators to substance use treatment engagement for the heroin-based drug Whoonga: Qualitative evidence from South Africa” 

    Committee:
    • Dr. Bonnie Kaiser, Chair, Department of Anthropology and Global Health
    • Dr. David Grelotti, MD, UC San Diego Health
    • Dr. Thomas Csordas, Distinguished Professor, Anthropology & Director, Global Health Program


    Abstract: 
    Whoonga is a smoked, heroin-based street drug in South Africa. Also known as nyaope, its use poses a significant health and public safety problem for South African communities. Prior studies have shown that opioid-related treatment admissions have increased, but nothing is known about barriers and facilitators to treatment access. In 2015, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 men with smoked heroin use undergoing residential substance use treatment. In 2017, an additional 10 men and women with smoked heroin use were recruited from the social networks of participants in residential substance use treatment. Participants were interviewed about their experience with the drug and in accessing substance use treatment. Interview data were coded using qualitative content analysis. Barriers to treatment were stigma, addiction, and availability. Methadone was a facilitator to treatment maintenance. A supportive family helped to overcome barriers of stigma and availability, but many participants had experienced times in their life when they were alienated from their families. Participant experiences did not appear to differ based on race/ethnicity. There were a variety of social, structural, and biological forces that served as barriers and facilitators to substance use treatment. Further research evaluating methadone maintenance outcomes and treatment availability is needed. Familial and social relationships were highlighted as motivators for substance use treatment maintenance. Interventions addressing the social and biological forces of addiction will be needed to promote substance use treatment engagement.

  • Darren Harms

    Darren Harms

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major, General Biology & Psychology Minors

    Global Health Interests: Health Equity, Medical Education, Infectious Diseases (HIV/AIDS), LGBTQIA+ Health, Health Access, and Racial Health Disparities

    Global Health Field Experiences: Fellowship at Szent János Hospital (Budapest, Hungary), Internship at Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute (La Jolla, California)

    Career Aspirations: Attend and graduate from an Osteopathic Medical School and become involved with HIV/AIDS research. Once in practice, work towards becoming a Physician advocating Infectious Disease Control and Global Public Health


    MA Thesis Title: “Making the Invisible Visible: Skin Cancer Obfuscation in South Africa”

    Committee:
    • Dr. Claire Edington, Chair, Department of History
    • Dr. Steffanie Strathdee, Associate Dean, Global Health Sciences
    • Dr. Bonnie Kaiser, Associate Proffesor, Department of Anthropology


    Abstract:
    Skin cancers, among the most common cancers worldwide, have rapidly increased over the last fifty years, contributing to the overall global burden of disease. In the Republic of South Africa, skin cancer rates have skyrocketed, but little to no interventions have been put in place to promote the detection of this relatively neglected disease category. Currently, there is no global consensus on how to institute the screening of skin cancers, which is further complicated by the lack of awareness on diagnosing skin cancer among darker skinned populations. Differences in skin pigmentation affect how patients inflicted with malignancies, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and melanoma are diagnosed. The resources for skin cancer surveillance on a global level rely on three main mechanisms: the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry. 
    Development, the Skin Cancer Foundation, and AIM at Melanoma. While these initiatives work to educate the public on the importance of skin cancer prevention, these organizations lack the necessary tools to expand healthcare resources in skin cancer surveillance. This thesis examines how skin cancer has been rendered as invisible in South Africa at three different levels: the impact of skin cancer on the body, within national public health infrastructures, and global policies put in place for the surveillance and monitoring for this disease. Broadening options for prevention and treatment for skin cancer among more diverse populations than those currently reflected in dermatology textbooks needs to be implemented for further education and screening purposes.

  • Nicolette Le

    Nicolette Le

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major

    Global Health Interests: Cancer Disparities, Healthy Aging, Gerontology

    Global Health Field Experiences: National Cancer Institute Youth Enjoy Science Scholar, Health Frontiers in Tijuana Intern, API Cancer Outreach Team, Life Course Scholar


     MA Thesis Title: "Vaccine Development in the Age of Fake News: A Qualitative Content Analysis of Misinformation on the Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine by Verified Minority Twitter Users"

    Committee:
    • Dr. Tim Mackey, Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology
    • Dr. Georgia Robins Sadler, Emeritus Professor, Department of Surgery
    • Dr. Rebecca Fielding-Miller, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health & Human Longevity Science


    Abstract: 
    False, unvetted, and misleading information about COVID-19 is regarded as a major threat to public health and vaccine confidence. Prior studies have identified Twitter as a major channel of COVID-19 misinformation. Little research has been done on the sentiments of minority communities on Twitter. Tweets were collected from the Twitter API using keywords related to the COVID-19 pediatric vaccine. From which, the 200 most retweeted tweets were subjected to manual content classification to identify tweets with explicit vaccine misinformation that are authored by Twitter-verified minority users. Direct replies to these tweets were also collected for qualitative content classification. A total of 863,007 tweets were collected. Four misinformation-labeled tweets were authored by Twitter-verified minority users within the Top 200. Themes identified were “vaccine development conspiracy,” “vaccine is experimental,” and “vaccine is a control tactic”. 156 relevant replies were examined. 72% agreed with the misinformation presented. Common among replies were concerns for child safety, calls for resistance, and further discussions of conspiracy theories. The results of this study provide insight into online sentiments surrounding the COVID-19 pediatric vaccine and, specifically, organic user reactions to explicit vaccine misinformation by Twitter-verified minority users. Further research is needed to understand how dissemination of misinformation occurs within marginalized communities, and by members of marginalized communities.

  • Alexis Plazola

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major

    Global Health Interests: Women's Health, Maternal and Child Health, Climate Change

    Global Health Field Experiences: FAIR Girls Anti-Trafficking Intern, International Rescue Committee Case Management Intern, SMART 2.0 Research Assistant at UCSD, FIMRC Global Health Fellow, Global Health Senior Thesis

     

  • Carmina Paz

    Carmina Paz

    Undergraduate Major: California State University, Los Angeles Anthropology Major

    Global Health Interests: Gender and Identity in Health and Disease Discourse, Medical Anthropology, Health Policy, Health Equity, Acculturation and Health, Human Rights and Social Justice

    Global Health Field Experiences: Health Career Connection Intern with the Government Relations Department at AltaMed Health Services Corporation (Los Angeles County & Orange County)

    Career Aspirations: Health Program Manager/Director, Advocacy and Policy

  • Kayla Palleiko

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.S. Global Health, Philosophy Minor

    Global Health Interests: Women's Health, Low Income/Underserved Healthcare, Traditional & Indigenous Healing, Preventative Medicine

    Global Health Field Experiences: Healing Hearts Across Borders Volunteer, Health Frontiers in Tijuana Intern

    Career Aspirations: Physician promoting Healthcare Access and the use of Complementary Medicine in Biomedical Practice

     

  • Yarenni Reyes Medina

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Biological Anthropology Major, Global Health Minor

    Global Health Interests: Border healthcare, Substance abuse, Medicine, HIV/AIDS.

    Global Health Field Experiences: Health Frontiers in Tijuana (HFiT) intern, Secretary and founder of Medical Wonders Club at UCSD, Corri La Vita volunteer (Florence, Italy), Stanford School of Medicine medical scribe, Alzheimers Certified Nurse Assistant

    Career Aspirations: Physician Assistant

  • Siddhi Salunke

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Political Science - American Politics & Global Health Majors

    Global Health Interests: Militarism and Health, Global Health Policy, Politics of Health and Medicine

    Global Health Field Experiences: UCSD Faculty Mentor Program, Global Health Senior Thesis

    Career Aspirations: Global Health Policy Advisor, Non-Profit Manager

  • Caitlin Shin

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major, General Biology Minor

    Global Health Interests: Health Misinformation, Maternal/Child Health, Health Equity

    Global Health Field Experiences: Asian Pacific Health Foundation Program Coordinator, Research Assistant for Kipps Lab at the Center for Novel Therapeutics, UCGHI Student Ambassador for Planetary Health Center of Expertise, Undergraduate Honors Thesis on Targeting Vaccine Hesitancy on Social Media

    Career Aspirations: Physician and Global Health Researcher

  • Gabriela Stone

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Bachelors in Global Health; Southwestern College AA with Honors in Psychology; Southwestern College ADT with Honors in Psychology

    Global Health Interests: Medicine and health equity in relation to gender, race, and socioeconomic status, implementation and dissemination science

    Global Health Field Experiences: Child Family Health International pediatric surgery volunteer, research program manager for a WaSH systematic review in relation to women’s health, second author for a WaSH research study on water system functionality, American Heart Association Youth Market intern, UCSD Health Frontiers in Tijuana free clinic intern, Sharp Emergency Department Technician, Global Health Program Management of Health Services guest speaker

    Career Aspirations: Practicing Physician working in the Global Health Sector such as with Minority and Women’s Health Programs


    MA Thesis Title: "Examining the Determinants of COVID-19 Childhood Vaccination Decisions: the Role of Protective Behaviors Adherence and Burnout"

    Committee:
    • Dr. Rebecca Fielding, Chair, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health & Human Longevity Science
    • Dr. Bonnie Kaiser, Associate Proffesor, Department of Anthropology
    • Dr. Timothy Mackey, Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology


    Abstract:
     This mixed-methods study investigates associations between the COVID-19 pandemic, emotional health, and physical health to understand what factors mediate the relationship between burnout and adherence to protective behaviors. 
    Qualitative analysis utilized 15 semi-structured focus group discussions of school staff (n= 22) and parents (n= 20) conducted between December 2020 and March 2021 in English and Spanish within San Diego County. Quantitative analysis utilized a cross-sectional survey administered in 2 waves (February and March, 2022) of parents’ pandemic experiences (n= 541) conducted in English (n= 382) and Spanish (n= 159). The study population was participants from school sites partnered with Safer at School Early Alert (SASEA) and located in zip codes of high social vulnerability according to the California Healthy Places Index. Qualitative analysis revealed themes such as mental distress, fear regarding learning loss, concern for physical and emotional well-being of children, misinformation and miscommunication, economic uncertainty, and perceptions of structural barriers as important for protective decision-making. Two models were created for the main outcomes of interest in the quantitative data, vaccination of children and parent mental health. Variables significantly associated with vaccination uptake of children included perceived risks, vaccination status of parent, flu vaccination willingness, child age, masking behaviors, and family income. Variables significantly associated with parental burnout included child’s mental health, housing instability, identification of misinformation, child masking behaviors, and income. Facilitators and barriers for vaccination uptake of children were also analyzed and disaggregated among each survey wave, and by language (English and Spanish). This study confirms key mediating variables in vaccination uptake of children and parental burnout associations with protective behaviors, highlighting the importance of adjusting promotion strategies accordingly to boost vaccination uptake and bolster mental health responses.

Class of 2021

  • Natalie Allen

    Natalie Allen

    Undergraduate Major: Reed College Anthropology Major

    Global Health Interests: Vaccine Hesitancy, Health Misinformation, Maternal Health, Mental Health, Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Global Health Field Experiences: Volunteer Doula with UCSD Hearts & Hands Behavior Therapist, Family Guidance and Therapy Center

    Career Aspirations: Medical Anthropology

  • Mustafa Baqai

    Mustafa Baqai

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Physiology & Neuroscience Major, Global Health and Literature/Writing Minors

    Global Health Interests: Health Equity, Structural Violence, Border & Transnational Healthcare, Ethnography, Psychiatry & Mental Health, Narrative Medicine, and Decolonizing Medicine

    Global Health Field Experiences: Coordinator for HFiT (Health Frontiers in Tijuana) Student-run Free Clinic, Undergraduate Research Assistant for Hnasko Lab (Department of Neurosciences, UCSD SOM), Healing Hearts Across Borders Volunteer, Joy De La Cruz Art & Activism Intern at UCSD Cross-Cultural Center

  • Senuri Boralessa

    Senuri Boralessa

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Human Biology Major, Global Health Minor

    Global Health Interests: Health of Low-Income Communities, Maternal/Child Health, and Refugee Health

    Global Health Field Experiences: Basic Needs Assistant at UCSD The Hub Basic Needs Center, Student Observer for the UC Regents Special Committee on Basic Needs

  • Dev Desai

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Human Biology Major, Global Health Minor

    Global Health Interests: Health of Low-Income Communities, Maternal/Child Health, and Refugee Health, Medical Anthropology, Social Epidemiology, Community Medicine

    Global Health Field Experiences: Basic Needs Assistant at UCSD The Hub Basic Needs Center, Student Observer for the UC Regents Special Committee on Basic Needs, Doctors Without Border, Medical Scribe, Red Cross

    Career Aspirations: Orthopedic Surgeon

  • Rebecca Noelle Donham

    Rebecca Noelle Donham

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego B.S. Global Health Major

    Global Health Interests: Medical Education, Community-Driven Improvements, Perception, Engagement, & Effects of Health Care, Medicine, Medical Policies, and Wellbeing; Integrative Healthcare; International Biomedical Ethics & Relations

    Global Health Field Experiences: Research Assistant for Institute of Pediatric Regenerative Medicine, UC Davis School of Medicine, & Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Site Leader for Alternative Breaks International Service-Learning for Healthcare & Environmental Sustainability, Palomar Healthcare Pathmaker Intern, Secretary for American Mock World Health Organization, Volunteer EMT for Cosumnes Fire Department, Emergency Department Technician for Sutter Hospital, Volunteer Medical Assistant for UC Davis Medical Center, Outpatient Clinic for Shriner's Hospital for Children- NorCal, Assistant for Mass Casualty Relief Preparation Program, Advocate for Mental Health Services in California Community Colleges, Student with Health Frontiers in Tijuana Student-run Free Clinic, Presenter for UC San Diego Health System Morbidity and Mortality Grand Rounds Conferences


    MA Thesis Title: "For and by Communities: An Assessment of Feasibility for a Novel International Healthcare Program in Rural Ghana and Nigeria"  

    Committee:
    • Dr. Victoria Ojeda, Chair, Department of Family Medicine & Public Health
    • Dr. Timothy Mackey, Department of Anesthesiology
    • Dr. Keolu Fox, Department of Anthropology

    Abstract: Residues of Global Health’s origins in tropical and colonial medicine remain central in the framework of international medical outreach—trips in which students and practitioners arrive in other countries to impose health aid. In hopes to redirect such aid in a manner that also builds community autonomy, twenty-six partnering communities across rural Ghana and Nigeria developed a novel healthcare system proposal that impresses community voice as imperative while collaboratively working with international volunteers. This thesis seeks to exemplify this framework of community-driven efforts by working at the request of these communities to investigate the legal frameworks and technological precedents salient to the implementation of their program proposal. A grey literature review of legal documents from Ghana, Nigeria, and the United States, as well as a review international codes and technologies, finds that the proposed program is both feasible and supported by the current infrastructures related to all healthcare governances. While further steps are required to initiate the proposed program, the example it leaves is one towards a community-driven framework. 

  • Nicole English

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego UCSD Third World Studies Major

    Global Health Interests: Immigrant Health

    Global Health Field Experiences: Intern at the Health Frontiers in Tijuana clinic

  • Alicia Gaidry Sykes

    Alicia Gaidry Sykes

    Undergraduate Major: United States Naval Academy Chemistry Major, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Medical Doctorate

    Global Health Interests: Pediatric Surgery, Global Surgery

    Global Health Field Experiences: Research Experience

    Career Aspirations: Continuing to contribute to research in the field of global health, global surgery, and health care disparities. Serve as a leader within the U.S. Military for humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and international partnership-building operations. Work with the U.S. Military and NGOs to improve global surgery and universal access to surgical care. 


    MA Thesis Title: “Pediatric Trauma in the California-Mexico Border Region: Injury Disparities by Area Deprivation Index”

    Committee:
    • Dr. Bonnie Kaiser, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
    • Dr. Janis Jenkins, Professor of Anthropology, Director, UCSD Center for Global Mental Health
    • Dr. Nancy Binkin, Professor of Practice, School of Public Health
  • Janneiry Garcia

    Janneiry Garcia

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Human Biology Major, Global Health Minor

    Global Health Interests: Reproductive and Maternal Health, Empowering Communities through Health Education, Racial Health Disparities, Health Equity

    Global Health Field Experiences: Student Health Advocate, Director of the Community Health Worker Program for the International Health Collective, Medical Interpreter for the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project, Youth Refugee Mentor for the International Rescue Committee

    Career Aspirations: Aspiring Physician interested in Reproductive and Maternal Health 

    jfg007@ucsd.edu

     

  • Nhi Nguyen

    Nhi Nguyen

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Human Biology Major

    Global Health Interests: Geriatric Health, Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, Health Education

    Global Health Field Experiences: Clinical Psychology Research Intern, Biomedical Research Assistant, Alzheimer's San Diego Volunteer, Life Course Scholar


    MA Thesis Title: "Osteoarthritis in Asia: A Literature Review"

    Committee:
    • Dr. Ru Bryan, Adjunct Professor, School of Medicine
    • Dr. Claire Edington, Associate Professor, Department of History
    • Dr. Ping Liao, Professor, Department of Literature

    Abstract: Osteoarthritis (OA), an age-related disease of the joint characterized by progressive cartilage degradation and chronic pain, is a leading contributor to disability. The prevalence of OA is increasing worldwide with global population ageing. The rise in OA prevalence is especially concerning for many Southeast and East Asian countries with unprecedentedly rapid population aging. This literature review aims to explore the OA prevalence and risk factors, the OA lived experience, and the OA situation in Vietnam and Japan in the Southeast and East Asian regions.  Knee and hand OA are highly prevalent in Southeast and East Asia, and are associated with diverse biological, behavioral, and social factors such as age, sex, body mass index, occupation and educational level, and sociocultural activities. The OA lived experience is highly variable and characterized by limited knowledge of OA and OA management; pain and disability impact physical, sociocultural, and psychological health; and self-management of OA.  Finally, a closer look at the OA situation in Vietnam and Japan revealed more challenges for OA management in Vietnam, and most challenges lie in the Vietnamese healthcare system. Learning from Japan, we recommend that Vietnam consider implementing a long-term care insurance system to support OA patients with disability, in addition to promoting public awareness of the OA and OA prevention/ management. 

  • Shayna Orensztein

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major

    Global Health Interests: Women's Reproductive Health, Immigrant & Refugee Health, Mental Health, Health Policy, Global Health Program Design & Evaluation

    Global Health Field Experiences: Research Assistant at UCSD Moores Cancer Center with the Adolescent and Young Adult Survivorship Care Study, Relay Committee Member for Colleges against Cancer, Research Assistant for UCSD's Center for Global Mental Health

  • Francisca Rivera

    Francisca Rivera

    Undergraduate Major: Citrus Community College Biological Science & Social and Behavioral Science Major, UC San Diego Global Health & Sociocultural Anthropology Major

    Global Health Interests: Migrant and Immigrant Health

    Global Health Field Experiences: Public Health Officer, Clinic Coordinator and Co-President of UC San Diego's Flying Samaritans

    Career Aspirations: Community Health Worker and Advocate for the Migrant Communities along the CA-MX Border. 


    MA Thesis Title: "Structural Gender-Based Violence and Unresolved Trauma: Power Structures and Social Dynamics that Influence the Migration of Women Fleeing the Northern Triangle Countries of Central America"

    Committee:
    • Dr. Thomas Csordas, Distinguished Professor, Anthropology & Director, Global Health Program
    • Dr. Janis Jenkins, Professor of Anthropology, Director, UCSD Center for Global Mental Health
    • Dr. Argentina Servin, MD, MPH, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Medicine

    Abstract: Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, share a volatile history of fostering structural systems that sustain extreme violence against women, sanctioning the normalization of gender-based violence. Given the precarious environmental conditions of women fleeing the Northern Triangle regions, contextualization of their lived experiences as they navigate the duality of caretaker and survivor during the migration decision-making process is of the utmost importance in ensuring mental health wellness. Therefore, understanding trauma exposures during the migration journey, pre, during, and post flight periods, also known as the triple trauma paradigm, is necessitated. Through an in-depth literature review and synthesis of existing qualitative data, this thesis provides a conceptual framework to further understanding of how structural violence towards women increases their exposure to trauma throughout their lives, subsequently, increasing the probability of intergenerational trauma. Although the available literature documents migrant experiences, current research lacks an emphasis on migrant women’s experiences of structural gender-based violence, unresolved compounded trauma, and how those experiences influence their mental health outcomes. The appropriate contextualization of migrant women’s mental health encumbrances has both immediate and long-term implications on the establishment of appropriate intervention strategies explicitly tailored to the diverse mental health care needs of migrant women. As the number of women migrating to the U.S.-Mexico border region increases, it becomes increasingly critical to highlight the rising global mental health challenges they experience, which have societal and public health implications for migrant women’s life trajectories, and influence their ability to endure the challenges of transnational migration and resettlement in the U.S.  

     

    frivera@ucsd.edu

  • Juan Carlos Ruiz Malagon

    Undergraduate Major: UC Davis Chicanx Studies Major and Public Health Sciences Minor

    Global Health Interests: Immigrant's Health Rights, Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health, LGBTQIA+ Health Equity, Health Equity of Migrants, Social Justice within Healthcare Policy, Healthcare Access of Marginalized and Disenfranchised Communities of Color

    Global Health Field Experiences: UC Davis School of Medicine: Clinica Tepati, Blum Grant Recipient, UC Davis Knights Landing Environmental Health Project Mental Health Research Coordinator

    Career Aspirations: Physician and Researcher for the Health Equity and Justice of Marginalized Communities of Color

  • Rachel Siretskiy

    Rachel Siretskiy

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego General Biology and Global Health Double Major

    Global Health Interests: Women's Health, Migrant Health, Health Equity Policy, Health Access

    Global Health Field Experiences: Palomar Pathmaker Internship

    Career Aspirations: Physician working to increase Healthcare Access and Promote Equitable Healthcare for all through Policy and Advocacy. 

  • Andrea Villanueva

    Andrea Villanueva

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major

    Global Health Interests: Infectious Diseases, Forensic Epidemiology, Women’s Health, Bioethics, Health Policies

    Global Health Field Experiences: Medical Intern at the Kausay Wasi Clinic in Coya, Peru

    Career Aspirations: Epidemiologist working on Clinical Trials or alongside Government Agencies to help with Health Policies

  • Rachel Kai-Xin Yim

    Rachel Kai-Xin Yim

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Human Biology and Global Health Double Major

    Global Health Interests: Medical Anthropology, Decolonizing Education

    Global Health Field Experiences: Emergency Medical Technician, Flying Samaritans, UCSD Student Run Free Clinic, Undergrads4cola

    Career Aspirations: Attend Medical School after finishing Masters in Global Health


    MA Thesis Title: "What Medical Schools Don't Teach You"

    Committee:
    • Dr. Saiba Varma, Chair, Department of Anthropology
    • Dr. Sandra Daley, Department of Pediatrics (Emeritus)
    • Dr. Bonnie Kaiser, Department of Anthropology and Global Health

    Abstract: In response to the murder of George Flloyd, confrontation with the violence of racism in all its forms sparked protest and conversation across the country. As a student hoping to go to medical school, I watched how this discussion traveled, or did not travel, into medicine. As a future medical professional, I hoped that my professional development would include building capacity to combat the racial injustice that frequently undermines medical care. As critical race studies scholars’ have powerfully documented, mere exposure to these lessons is insufficient to create medical professionals who can transform these into their everyday clinical practices.

    My project draws on the work of Linda Tuhiwau Smith, David L Brown & Rajesh Tandon, and Eve Tuck on decolonial and antiracist qualitative methodologies to highlight the urgent need to transform existing medical school curricula towards more socially and racially just frameworks. Through a literature review, medical school analysis, lecture analysis, survey, and semi-structured ethnographic interviews on students who are already engaged in equity, diversity and inclusion work in the medical school, my findings call upon the Medical School’s leadership to take further decisive actions against structural racism and anti-Black violence that plagues underrepresented communities. 

    This project reveals how focusing on race in the formal medical school curriculum is inadequate because so much of medical school is informally thought outside of curriculum. These aspects of the hidden curriculum are not being addressed by proposed curricular changes through programs such as PRIME. Even when the medical curriculum does address race, it does so in ways that reinforce racist ideas (race as a biological determinant of health). The lack of understanding of how racism is embedded in existing institutional structures, the history of medicine and medical racism, are not at all addressed. Further, the microaggressions experienced by students of color both inside and outside the classroom require deeper cultural transformation.This project also calls for the need for antiracist and social justice work to be truly collective, to be the responsibility of each and every medical professional, rather than the burden of a few. Rather than a “choice” or “option,” all students and staff must learn how to integrate knowledge of racism and colonialism in their training. Currently, the structure--which emphasizes individual volunteers to take on this work--causes certain students who take on this work and who encounter difficulties and resistances to blame themselves, while white students (or students not in the PRIME program) are able to overlook structural violence and other health determinants.

Class of 2020

  • Cortni Bardier

    Cortni Bardier

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major, Communications Minor

    Global Health Interests: Reproductive and Maternal Health, Epidemiology, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Management

    Global Health Field Experiences: Student Health Advocates Program, Peer Health Coach


    MA Thesis Title: “Detecting Electronic Cigarette User Disparity Behaviors: An Infovelliance Study on Twitter”

    Committee:  
    • Dr. Timothy Mackey , Associate Professor, School of Medicine
    • Dr. Raphael Cuomo, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Anesthesiology 
    • Dr. Bonnie Kaiser, Assistant Professor, Anthropology


    Abstract:
     
    The aims of the study were to observe racial and ethnic disparities amongst electronic cigarette use through detecting and characterizing user-generated conversations for electronic cigarettes on social media platforms. The investigative approach was through a literature review, analyses of NHANES data, and data collection of geocoded tweets from Twitter. A total of 5,718 tweets were collected. Using BTM output to identify relevant clusters about electronic cigarettes, 348 tweets were identified to include conversations about user behavior. These tweets were grouped into three categories and matched with a map to see where conversations were located for a racial-ethnic component. Results of the study provide insights into organic conversations regarding user behavior of electronic cigarettes. Future studies should focus on other themes and topics associated with electronic cigarettes on social platforms to inform health communication and global public health.

     

    cbardier@ucsd.edu

  • Rachel Brand

    Rachel Brand

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major

    Global Health Interests: Alternative Mental Health Approaches, Empowering Women through Health Education, Intergenerational trauma studies

    Global Health Field Experience: Mental health Initiatives, Research and Facilitation, Principal Board Member of Triton Recovery Group, Students for Global Health, and Underground Scholars

     

    rbrand@ucsd.edu

  • Megan Cruz

    Megan Cruz

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major

    Global Health Interests: Geriatric population health, Non-communicable Diseases, Racial Health Disparities, Health Equity, Health Policy

    Global Health Field Experiences: Hospice Volunteer in Mission Valley

     

    mhcruz@ucsd.edu

  • Hector Godinez

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major and Human Biology Major

    Global Health Interests: Microbiology, LGBT Health, HIV/AIDS, Globalization, Infectious Diseases

    Global Health Field Experience: Lead Student Health Advocate Coordinator specializing in Alcohol and Other Drugs, Undergraduate Research Assistant for Knight Lab (UC San Diego Pediatrics), Health Communications Intern for County of San Diego Chronic Disease and Health Equity Unit, Metro San Diego Service Center Intern for MEals on Wheels San Diego County, Well-being Cluster Student Advisory Board (WCSAB) Revelle College Representative

     

    hgodinez@ucsd.edu

  • Yesenia Gonzalez Zavala

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major

    Global Health Interests: Border Health, Homelessness in Developed and Undeveloped Countries, Non-communicable Diseases

    Global Health Field Experience: Coordinator for UCSD/UABC Health Frontiers in Tijuana (HFiT) Binational Clinic, HIV+ population Researcher, UCSD Global Health Brigades Spanish-English translator

  • Tiana Mcmann

    Tiana Mcmann

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major

    Global Health Interests: Refugee Health, Refugee Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Traumatic Brain Injury

    Global Health Field Experience: Clinical Research Assistant for Cognitive Impariment in Parkinson's Disease, Quantitative Sensory Test Administrator for Veterns with Traumatic Brain Injury, Mohs Micrographic Surgery Assistant for Basal Cell or Squamous Cell Carcinoma Patients


    MA Thesis Title: “Healthcare Worker Preparedness Among Clinicians Treating the Forced Migrant Population”

    Committee:
    • Dr. Thomas Csordas, Distinguished Professor, Anthropology, & Director, Global Health Program
    • Dr. Suzanne Brenner, Associate Professor, Anthropology
    • Dr. Bonnie Kaiser, Assistant Professor, Anthropology


    Abstract:
    In the midst of the forced displacement crises, the proliferation of resources and healthcare services is the cardinal focus to address the acute need of those displaced. While much data is provided regarding the volume of refugees and asylees and the necessity for medical services, far fewer information exists discussing healthcare workers and their preparedness in dealing with the acute needs of those they are treating. Of those that have, many challenges are identified in all aspects of a healthcare provider’s experience of treating displaced individuals. While healthcare workers are vital to aid in the critical needs of refugees and asylees, this can be more effectively accomplished when they are equipped to handle the unique health needs they encounter. The current study aims to explore healthcare providers' preparedness in treating refugee and asylum seeker populations within San Diego County and how the level of preparedness affects the treatment delivered.

     

    tmcmann@ucsd.edu

  • Ashli Perkins

    Ashli Perkins

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major

    Global Health Interests: Women's Health, Mental Health, Socioeconomic Health Disparities, Health Education

    Global Health Field Experience: Center of Global Mental Health at UC San Diego Intern

     

    aperkins@ucsd.edu

  • Michelle Vazquez Godinez

    Michelle Vazquez Godinez

    Undergraduate Major: UC San Diego Global Health Major, Sociology Minor

    Global Health Interests: HIV/AIDS, Sex Work, Sexual Health and Sexual Health Education, Infectious Disease in Developing Countries

    Global Health Field Experience:  Ethnographic Research of HIV/AIDs and Sex Work in Bangkok, Thailand, UCSD Perception in Cognition Lab Electroencephalography and Behavioral Lab Volunteer, All of Us Research Program Volunteer

     

    mav014@ucsd.edu

Where are our alumni now?

  • Public Health Analyst, CDC Foundation
  • Quantitative Researcher and Data Analyst, UC San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science
  • Research Associate, S-3 Research
  • UCSD Anthropology Advisor
  • UCSD Contact Tracer
  • UCSD Hillcrest ARVC (Antiviral Research Center)
  • Clinical Research Assistant, US Dept of Veteran Affairs
  • Case Investigations Administration - County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency - Epidemiology & Immunization Services Branch
  • Project Manager, Aya Healthcare
  • Sharp Mesa Vista Psychiatric Hospital

Post MA Graduate Programs:

  • Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Boston Medical School
  • USC PA program
  • UC San Diego JDP in Public Health
  • UC Irvine dual degree program (PHD/MD)in Public Health focusing on Global Health and Latinx Health
  • UCLA MSW Program
  • California University of Science and Medicine, MD program