Meet Your Leadership
By: Theresa Majeski
This segment focuses on introducing you to some of the IH Section Leadership. They explain what motivated them, both personally and professionally, to get into global health, and what role they play as leaders in the Section.
Samantha Wasala and Samantha Dayton - International Health Student Committee (IHSC) Co-Chairs
IHSC Co-Chair - Samantha Wasala
I am a second year MPH student at Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice concentrating in Global Health and Epidemiology. I completed my undergraduate degree in Human Physiology at the University of Iowa. I became interested in working in global health when I was able to travel to Haiti and India as part of my undergraduate coursework. Working with community partners to address primary health concerns in the region solidified that I wanted to continue working and learning about global issues. My primary interests are in global hunger, food security, and malnutrition. This past summer I completed my practicum in Lwala Kenya researching the intersection of climate change and food security in small hold farmers.
IHSC Co-Chair - Samantha Dayton
I am currently a second year MPH / MBA student at Stony Brook School of Medicine and Stony Brook University concentrating in Healthcare Analytics and Healthcare Management. I received my Bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University in the Spring of 2014 where I double majored in Health: Science, Society & Policy and Psychology. Presently, I work in the research division of the Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Medicine department of Stony Brook Hospital with a particular interest in Maternal Fetal Medicine. My interest in global health arose after studying social work research abroad and discovering the disparities that exist in access to proper healthcare in our world. In addition to global access of proper maternal and fetal care, I also have a very strong interest in access to mental healthcare services.
So, what is the IHSC?
The mission of the IHSC is really four-fold:
- firstly, we want to provide students with a multidisciplinary forum for academic, scientific, and public exchanges of knowledge, experience, and views on global health;
- secondly, we want to mobilize interest and encourage debate among students and young professionals on global health issues;
- thirdly, we want to collaborate with the International Health Section to provide students with mentoring and information on opportunities to learn technically, scientifically, and politically sound approaches to issues in global health. We also collaborate with other APHA Sections whose interests and ideals intersect with our own, and;
- finally, we strive to advocate for key global health issues within APHA and within academic and educational institutions.
Now, how do we do this?
Our biggest event by far is the APHA Annual Meeting. It is where we are able to provide students with the greatest opportunities to network with established global health professionals. At this year's Annual Meeting we will be hosting a round table discussion event where students can ask questions and learn from a wide variety of global health professionals specializing in topics ranging from maternal and child health to environmental health. Throughout the remainder of the year, we also work to connect students with professionals in their field of interest to gain insight as to what it takes to be a leader in global health.
Through social media outlets, we are able to reach students and young professionals on real time issues in global and international health. We do this through our public pages on Facebook or Twitter where students are able to discuss and debate about global health issues as well as catch up on the most recent research in the field. In the past we have also hosted a series of Webinars on various topics including global health issues but also practical information for students, such as how to transition from being a student to being a professional in global health.
We work to make the students of today into the global health leaders of tomorrow. We want to know what students are doing. If you are a student doing research in global health, presenting a poster, or being published, we will put it out there through our media outlets and let others know about it.
As an IHSC member, you will join a dedicated network of students and young professionals working in the field of public health that share the same passion for global health that you do! You’ll be given opportunity to be more involved with APHA and the IH section, and find ways that you could make an impact both at home and abroad.
Jessica Keralis - Communications Committee Chair
Communications Chair - Jessica Keralis
I have always known that I was destined for a career focused on science and health, though the shape that work would take has evolved over the years - sometimes through self-discovery, but mostly through serendipity. Originally I thought I wanted a career in biomedical research, but I quickly became frustrated with the laboratory investigation process after working in a chemistry lab. During the last year of my biomedical science undergraduate degree at Texas A&M, I saw a brochure outside my major office for the school of public health - I could start taking masters-level classes during my last semester and get my MPH with just one more year of study. It seemed better than jumping straight into a Ph.D. program, so I thought, "Why not?"
As for the "global" part, my mother is Brazilian, so my worldview has always been international, and my career goals naturally followed. Getting into the global health workforce via the "traditional" route proved a bit more challenging than expected, so I leveraged my involvement with the IH Section to pick up freelance work and made a niche for myself in independent research and advocacy, which fulfills my desire for creativity, flexibility, and an independent voice well. Now I am designing studies, publishing papers, and presenting at conferences on the things that interest me most.
What does the Communications Committee do?
We are the public face of the IH Section! We keep members and professionals in the global health community informed about the Section's research and advocacy initiatives. We also cover global health news and developments in the industry, and we provide commentary on issues and challenges of interest to the professional community. We do this by managing the Section's communication platforms, which include e-mail listservs, social media, and the IH Blog.
What benefits do members get from being part of the Communications Committee?
The Communications Committee works very closely with all other Section committees to keep the membership up to date on what those committees are working on, meaning that you are automatically plugged in to any and all ongoing Section activities. Also, because we are the Section's public face, you will have a chance to network with other global health professionals and agencies and establish your own presence and voice in the community by offering your analysis of current global health issues.
How can members learn more about the Communications Committee and how to get involved?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and read the IH Blog!
Anything else readers should know about the Communications Committee?
We are preparing to publish the results of the Global Health Jobs Analysis, a joint project with the Global Health Connections Committee, which will provide students and early career professionals with valuable insight into what the global health employment landscape looks like and what they can do to make themselves more competitive in the job market. Results will also be posted to the IH Blog, so check back often!