Women in Global Health (WGH) is an international network aiming to achieve gender equality in Global Health leadership through advocating for gender transformative leadership. The Midwest Chapter of WGH was launched on December 6, 2018 with support from former Provost Holden Thorp and William G. Powderly, MD, the Larry J. Shapiro Director of the Institute for Public Health.

The team is excited to introduce the latest WGH-Midwest Chapter team members. “There is no better time to support gender equity in the health care sector, for our patients, colleagues and communities, ” said Caline Mattar, MD, chapter co-founder. “In the wake of restrictions on women’s rights to access comprehensive reproductive health care, and the rise in stigma associated with gender in various states in our region, we hope our chapter will bring us all together to advocate for gender equity.” The team organizes activities during the academic year to showcase Midwest global health leaders and engage interested individuals in the global activities and advocacy of women in global health.

Meet the Midwest Chapter team

Caline Mattar, MD | Co-founder

Dr. Caline Mattar is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Washington University in St Louis. She serves as advisor on infectious diseases, public health and Antimicrobial Resistance for the Junior Doctors Network of the World Medical Association. Her research focuses on dissemination and implementation of infection prevention and antimicrobial resistance interventions in resources limited settings. She chairs the Expert Advisory Group of the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Development Hub in Berlin. She has a special interest in Human Resources for Health. She has chaired the Global Health Workforce Network Youth hub at WHO since 2019. At WashU, she directs various programs for Global Health Education for students and postgraduate trainees.

Jacaranda van Rheenen, PhD | Co-founder

Dr. Jacaranda van Rheenen’s international background has made her passionate about global health. She is the manager of the Global Health Center at the Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis. She has extensive experience in global health work, and has developed a student summer research program and global health mentoring program at Washington University. She also co-led a USAID/ASHA project to install radiation therapy equipment at LIGA Nacional contra el Cáncer/ Instituto de Cancerología in Guatemala. She serves on Washington University’s Climate Change Program Steering Committee and the Environmental, Climate Change and Sustainability Working Group.

Jean Kanaparti | Membership & Social Media Coordinator

Jean Kanaparti is a student at Creighton University studying Health Administration & Policy and Medical Anthropology. She is passionate about the effective delivery of healthcare, particularly focusing on personnel performance improvement. During her 2+ years of volunteering at different hospitals and working with initiatives like Women in Global Health and Partners in Health Engage, she realized her passion was to work towards developing a strong healthcare workforce. Following this interest, she is currently conducting a multi-variate study on female physician retention rates and the possible link to patient satisfaction outcomes. In her free time, Jean enjoys reading prominent anthropologists’ work, particularly the work of her favorite anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston. She also enjoys volunteering for Health Righters to draw attention to prominent health disparities. 

Maya Kovacevic | Advocacy Coordinator

Maya Kovacevic is a third-year student at Washington University in St. Louis majoring in Health & Society. In addition to her work with WGH, she is an undergraduate researcher in the Jeffrey I. Gordon Lab at the School of Medicine where she studies health and the gut microbiome in women and children.

In her second term as advocacy coordinator for WGH-Midwest, she looks forward to working with key agents in the Midwest to expand awareness and aims to foster closer relationships with other U.S. chapters. Maya also wants to help create a network of support and a source of reaffirmation for other young women as they navigate the many gendered barriers in the health field.

 Aditi Malay | Membership & Social Media Coordinator

Aditi Malay is a junior at Washington University in St. Louis on the pre-med track majoring in global health and environment. She wants to focus on racial health disparities and opportunities to address gender barriers. Aditi is a captain of the WashU Garba dance team and Vice President of Ashoka, the South Asian organization at WashU. She is also a PR co-lead for In-Between, that Pan-Asian mental health group on campus that seeks to promote dialogue surrounding mental health within the Asian and Asian American community. Aditi is excited to be part of the Women in Global Health Midwest Chapter team and explore the global health field.

Catherine Mulligan | Project Coordinator

Catherine Mulligan is a second-year graduate student studying global and maternal and child health at Saint Louis University. She is passionate about the effects of climate change and how they disproportionally affect women and children’s health, particularly in communities of color. At Saint Louis University, she has assisted on a systematic review regarding period poverty in the United States and recently interned with Generate Health, a local St. Louis NGO whose mission is to eliminate racial disparities in infant and maternal health. She is excited to serve as WGH-Midwest Chapter’s project coordinator!

Become a Member

With the support of the Global Health Center and founder Caline Mattar, MD, an Institute for Public Health Faculty Scholar, the Midwest Chapter of Women in Global Health is moving forward and growing in membership. All interested in global health, regardless of gender, are encouraged to become a member of WGH by completing the membership form.