Written by Jeanie Bryant, coordinator for the Global Health Center at the Institute for Public Health
The Global Health Mentoring Program has successfully expanded networks and increased opportunities to learn about global health this past year. The fall meeting on October 15, 2020, was no exception.
The keynote was presented by Carlos-Andres Gallegos-Riofrío, PhD, a Gund Postdoctoral Fellow, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, the University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont. Dr. Gallegos-Riofrío is an interdisciplinary researcher who combines behavioral, social and life sciences, and arts and communications.
His presentation, “Creative Research: Ingredients for Problem Solving and Thriving Ecosystems,” highlighted creative solutions in his native country of Ecuador. One such project is the Caliata Initative. Its vision is to implement sustainable and culturally adequate projects that deliver positive impact in both rural and urban communities, such as the indigenous community of Caliata in Ecuador’s Central Highlands.
Dr. Gallegos-Riofrío suggested that we have always been creative people. He used the example of cave paintings to illustrate the need to be creative, even in prehistoric homosapiens. It is the impact of creative research resulting from the mentor-mentee experience that can change the world.
“I have being blessed to acquire new experience to better enhance leadership and communication from blended talented colleagues and students during the meetings while discussing different topics in global health.” – Angel Velarde, MD, MSCE, Research Director, Liga Nacional Contra El Cancer e INCAN en Guatemala, mentor
Two mentees shared their reflections about the mentoring program. Aldara Henderson, Master of Public Health student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, reflected on her experience as a non-Washington University student. She is conducting a cross-sectional quantitative study to better understand if resiliency of cancer patients has affected their preparedness for COVID-19. Aldara chose this topic because she is a stage 4 cancer survivor and is interested in how this research can be adapted to global health.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to have casual dialogue with global health experts. The break-out room conversations were both enlightening and personal, and we all got the much-needed time to reflect on the intersections of global health and politics contextualized in our current political climate.” – Kayla Wallace, Undergraduate, Arts & Sciences, mentee
The second mentee, Yasser Omar Abdellatif, MPH, H. Econ, MBA, graduated from WashU with a Master’s in Public Health and a concentration in global health. He also holds a Master’s in Health Economics from Cairo University in Egypt. Yasser is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University and is continuing as a mentee.
The meeting concluded with a recognition of outstanding mentors for 2020. The Global Health Center created the “Outstanding Global Health Mentor Award” to highlight mentors who exhibit qualities such as leadership, guidance, and the ability to motivate others. As part of the process, both mentees and mentors were asked to nominate outstanding mentors in the program.
The 2020 Outstanding Global Health Mentor Award recipients including IPH Scholars are: Ziyad Al-Aly, MD; Gaya Amarasinghe, PhD; Jacco Boon, PhD; Patty Cavazos-Rehg, PhD; Matthew Kuhlmann, MD; Jason Newland, MD; Carolyn Sargent, PhD; Leyao Wang, PhD; and Dave Daversa, PhD, and Jacaranda van Rheenen, PhD.
“During this pandemic season when graduating mentees have been struggling with the job market, Dr. Leyao Wang has gone above and beyond to recommend and seek potential opportunities within her networks to support her mentees’ job prospects.” – Emmanuel Gyimah, Master’s candidate, Brown School, mentee
The Global Health Mentoring Program currently consists of 80 WashU and non-WashU members, with 25 mentors. Individuals interested in getting involved can apply to join.