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

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 (WUSTL). 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 WUSTL, she directs various programs for Global Health Education for students and postgraduate trainees.

Jacaranda van Rheenen, PhD | Co-founder

Dr. 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.

Chandani Desai | Project Coordinator

Chandani Desai is a Staff Scientist in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Gordon at the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University in St Louis. She is involved in the study and development of microbiota directed therapeutic foods for malnourished children in resource-poor nations. Chandani received her Masters degree in Bioinformatics (Computational Biology) from Georgia Institute of Technology. Throughout her professional career, Chandani has found global health-centric projects as her most powerful motivators, and has always had a passion to contribute her skills to benefit the health of those in countries like her home country of India. As a natural next step in her endeavor to make an impact, Chandani joined the Women in Global Health-Midwest Chapter. In her free time, Chandani enjoys learning and teaching dance, and going on mini hikes and camping with her husband and their 1-year old son.

Jean Kanaparti | Project Coordinator

Jean Kanaparti is a pre-med junior studying health administration & policy and Medical Anthropology at Creighton University, and is passionate about campaigning to address health inequities on a community-centric, national, and global level. Currently, she is working on HPV vaccination research, analyzing health-seeking behaviors in those who have received the HPV vaccination. She also works with the Global Health Conference Midwest as a conference facilitator and volunteer, and loves to lead policy campaigns with Partners in Health Engage. In her free time, you can catch her at the “Zora! Festival”, as she is a huge fan of anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. She is also an avid reader, and has a guilty pleasure of reading horror novels. Jean is very excited to be a part of the Women in Global Health Midwest Chapter team this year.

Maya Kovacevic | Advocacy Coordinator

Maya Kovacevic is a second-year student at Washington University in St. Louis majoring in Global Health. A first-generation from Croatia, Maya wants to expand her interest in advocating for women’s health through global health leadership. At WashU, she is an undergraduate researcher in Pediatric Neurosurgery at the university’s Children’s Hospital, president of Future Health Professionals, and is a staff writer for the quarterly health magazine, Frontiers. In her free time, she also performs in salsa dancing competitions. Prior to college, Maya earned a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, served as Captain of the Debate Team and a Section Leader of the Medical Club, and participated in a summer health leadership program at Harvard Medical School. An advocacy coordinator for Women in Global Health – Midwest Chapter, Maya looks forward to working with key agents in the Midwest to expand awareness and creating a network of support and source of reaffirmation for young women as they navigate the many gendered barriers in the health field.

Cassandre Krier | Membership & Social Media Coordinator

Cassandre Krier is a third-year medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). She is a passionate advocate for gender equity, women’s health, and global health. Cassandre initially became involved with Women in Global Health (WGH) through MCW’s Kohler Scholar summer program in 2020, where she also completed research within MCW’s Center for the Advancement of Women in Science and Medicine. She is excited to serve as WGH-Midwest Chapter’s Membership and Social Media 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.