Global WACh

Current Students

Ambar Ahmed

Ambar is an MPH student in the Department of Global Health.

Pati Alarcón

Pati is an international student from Peru currently pursuing an MPH in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. She’s a Social Psychology from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. For several years, she has worked at the US NIH-funded “Peru Clinical Trial Unit (Peru CTU),” which is dedicated mostly to the prevention and treatment of HIV among MSM and TB treatment. She also participated in the study “Behavior and Prevalence Surveillance of HIV and STIs in MSM and TG in eleven cities of Peru.” Pati has conducted mixed-method research exploring Subjective Well-Being among impoverished adolescent mothers in Lima. This experience has ignited her passion for Adolescent mental health in LMICs, alongside women’s and children’s mental health. Pursuing the Global WACH certificate, she aims to gain mentorship, knowledge, and practical experiences needed to design empathetic and sustainable interventions with a meaningful impact on community well-being.

Jacinta Ifunanya Azie

Jacinta is an MPH student in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. She received her bachelor’s degree in Public Health Technology from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. Ifunanya describes herself as a passionate advocate for adolescent and women’s sexual and reproductive health, and girls’ education. Most recently she worked with Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiative (SEGEI) – an international non-profit organization that empowers adolescent girls and young women through education (formal & informal), mentorship, and life skills development as a program coordinator where she oversaw the mentorship arm of the non-profit. Through her live work, she hopes to apply her research and analytical skills to push for better policies that positively impact the lives of girls and women. Her research interests include sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young women, gender equality, HIV/AIDS, and health policy.

Nuno De Jesus Ximenes

Nuno received his Bachelor’s degree in Medicine in 2018 from the National University of Timor-Lorosa’e. Currently, he is a first-year MPH student in the Department of Global Health. He had worked in family planning services before coming to the USA to pursue his master’s in public health. Nuno was hired as a municipality coordinator for Ermera municipality and as a family planning provider in Marie Stopes Timor-Leste. His professional ambition is to create a proper, inclusive, and suitable family planning service department in hospitals in each municipality in Timor-Leste. Nuno believes that through this graduate certificate program, he will be given incredible opportunities for mentorship, and leadership training, and gain knowledge from the program to support women’s decisions toward women’s reproductive sexual rights, particularly in family planning. In addition, not only courses and research but also discovery and research in the program will lead him to become the public health professional he has always wanted to be.

Darwin Del Castillo

Darwin is a first-year MPH in Global Health student at the University of Washington. He obtained his MD in 2021 from the National University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru. Before joining the program, he worked since 2019 with the CRONICAS Center of Excellence in Chronic Diseases group at the Cayetano Heredia University in Peru, showcasing his dedication to non-communicable diseases and child development. Darwin is especially interested in the link between early risk factors in childhood and cardiometabolic disease development during adolescence and adulthood. Darwin aims to enhance his quantitative research skills, such as data analysis and research synthesis methods; and widen his network of collaborators who are passionate about the intersection of child development, non-communicable diseases, and life-course epidemiology through the Global WACh Certificate Program.

Edith Dale

Edith Dale is a Master’s of Public Health – Global Health student at the University of Washington, having completed her bachelor’s in Medical Anthropology and Global Health. With living experiences in Kenya, South Africa, and England, she developed a profound passion for maternal and child health. Her exposure to various cultures and healthcare systems has profoundly influenced her approach to global health, emphasizing community engagement and cultural sensitivity. Committed to addressing health disparities, particularly among marginalized populations, Edith takes an anthropological lens to her research and interventions, striving to understand and respect unique contexts. Through the Global WACh Certificate program, she aims to establish meaningful connections while enhancing her knowledge of neglected tropical diseases and the role of gut health in child survival, advocating for holistic and community-centered approaches to improve health outcomes.

Rara Dethan

Rara Dethan, Licensed Midwife, B.A., MPHc., is a midwife and public health practitioner specializing in the delivery of maternal and child health services in low-middle-income countries with a special interest in sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and the continuum of professional development for health care providers. Ms. Dethan began her professional career as a midwife educator working with the International NGO Health Alliance International (HAI) in her home country of Timor-Leste. She went on to serve as a sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advisor for Plan International focusing on providing technical expertise for national Timorese organizations and youth. Her most recent work was as a national consultant with UNFPA in Timor-Leste to strengthen governmental and national NGO capacity on prevention and response to gender-based violence. Ms. Dethan has also served as President of the Board of the National NGO HAMNASA formerly Health Alliance International and held volunteer positions working with youth. Currently, she is pursuing her master’s degree in Public Health in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington as a Fulbright scholar.

Tessa Fujisaki

Tessa is a first-year MPH student in the Department of Global Health. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Pomona College. Prior to starting her MPH, she worked as a research assistant at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health where her research focused on increasing access to contraception and sexual health education for married adolescents in Northern Nigeria. Tessa currently works as a research assistant at UW on the MARA study in Kenya, which seeks to better understand adolescent girls’ and young women’s contraceptive method preferences and challenges to obtain them. Through the Global WACh Certificate program, she aims to learn more about how to utilize community-based interventions, qualitative research, and international collaboration to address maternal and reproductive health issues both globally and within her home state of Washington.

Amaya Gatling

Amaya Gatling is a Master of Public Health candidate in the Department of Global Health. She obtained a dual Bachelor of Science in Global Health and Life Sciences Communication from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Amaya’s professional background in social marketing and health communication informs her interest in health literacy as a sexual and reproductive health promotion tool. More broadly, she is passionate about the intersection of sexual and reproductive health, human rights, and social justice. In line with this, she is interested in contributing to research projects related to intimate partner violence or gender-based health inequities in conflict settings or populations experiencing homelessness. Through the Global WACh certificate program, Amaya strives to advance her program implementation skills, build strong professional networks, and learn strategies to eliminate all forms of violence against women.

Lidiya Gebre

Lidiya Gebre was born and raised in Ethiopia and moved to the US as a teenager. She is a second-year Master of Social Work student specializing in administration, policy, and practice. Additionally, she is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in International Development at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Lidiya obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biology Pre-Medicine and Psychology from Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. Lidiya’s passion lies in advocating for youth mental health and well-being, as well as focusing on orphan-related initiatives. Presently, Lidiya works part-time for citiesRISE, a global nonprofit organization committed to transforming mental health and well-being for young individuals globally. Their approach involves community-based, innovative strategies to support individual and community well-being. Participating in the Global WACh Certificate Program is an opportunity to develop comprehensive knowledge and skills in global policy advocacy, implementation, and program evaluation. Her goal is to establish meaningful connections and network with individuals who share similar aspirations and values.

Emmalie Griswold

Emmalie is an MPH student in the department of Health Systems and Population Health with an interest in the intersection of policy and reproductive health. Prior to pursuing her MPH she worked at Planned Parenthood as a pregnancy options counsellor, and plans to dedicate her career to improving and protecting access to sexual and reproductive health services. She has a B.S. in Health Sciences from the College of Idaho, where she additionally minored in Political Economy. Through the Global WACH certificate, Emmalie hopes to improve her knowledge about how to bring evidence-based reproductive health practices to rural and/or socially conservative environments, both in the United States and Globally.

Chidozie Declan Iwu

Chidozie is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Epidemiology. He has received multi-disciplinary training in public health microbiology, epidemiology, and disease control. He is passionate about infectious diseases and its impact on vulnerable population including women and children. He is also interested in understanding the transmission dynamics of emerging/re-emerging microbial diseases using the One-Health framework, and how these dynamics intersects various social determinants of health. Chidozie has a wealth of experience conducting research across multiple facets of public health, including global disease burden, vaccine preventable diseases, and antimicrobial resistance/stewardship. On completion of the Global WACh certificate program, Chidozie hopes to advance evidence-based interventions that address the complex interplay between health and social determinants, ultimately contributing to the improved health and well-being of the vulnerable populations worldwide.

Diana Lalika

Diana Lalika is a second-year MPH in Global Health student with a background in Food Science and Technology from the University of Dar es Salaam. Her passion lies in addressing non-communicable diseases, health inequity, and improving health systems and policy implementation. Diana is coordinating the development of a new graduate program tailored for Implementation Science Ph.D. students while spearheading establishing an internship program for high school students under The Learning for Action in Policy Implementation and Health Systems (LAPIS) Initiative at the Department of Global Health. She is also involved in the “Sauti Ya Vijana” project under Global WACh, which explores innovative methods like WhatsApp and Zoom focus groups to engage adolescents in care. Through the Global WACh certificate program, Diana seeks mentorship in mHealth interventions, community engagement, evidence-based research, and global health leadership.

Lucy Liu

Jingyi (Lucy) Liu was born and raised in China. She completed my undergraduate degree in Bioengineering at University of Washington in 2022. She is currently a Master of Applied Bioengineering student at UW hoping to innovate biotechnology for more affordable and accessible healthcare to solve critical global health needs. Lucy is currently working on a project that develops simple and low-cost assessment tools for ultrasound probes in Malawi. She is especially interested in point-of-care diagnostic devices that can be used for rapid infectious diseases tests in resource-limited areas. Through the Global WACh certificate program, she wishes to gain more knowledge in the field of global health, understand current medical needs in reproductive, maternal, and pediatric health, and make meaningful connections with the field.

Eamonn McGonigle

Eamonn McGonigle is a 1st year MPH student in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. In 2023 he received his undergraduate degree in Public Health Sciences from the University of Michigan. Over the past 4 years, he has worked on domestic and global HIV and PrEP qualitative and mixed methods research. Through this research, he has focused on HIV prevention in pregnant women, children, and prisoners and HIV treatment among adolescents. Most recently he has worked with Dr. Jenn Slyker on a quantitative study examining immune reactions among Kenyan children to a routine influenza vaccine. Through the Global WACh certificate, Eamonn hopes to build skills to support individuals with sexual and reproductive health throughout the lifecycle and implement effective and culturally tailored disease prevention interventions all while building a strong professional network of peers with a shared vision for positive health change.

Elizabeth Momoh

Elizabeth is an international student from Nigeria and received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Cameron University, Oklahoma. As a Ph.D. student in the department of Chemistry, her research focuses on studying host immune responses evoked by malaria antigens isolated from South Asian P. falciparum and P. vivax using bioinformatics and immunology tools. Elizabeth is a student researcher with a deep interest in infectious diseases and global health. She is especially passionate about water and sanitation practices in rural African communities. Through the completion of the Global WACh Certificate Program, she hopes to advance her knowledge of global women’s health, policy implementation, and best practices to protect mothers and infants against placental malaria and other communicable diseases.

Hana Neutz

Hana Neutz is a Master of Public Health candidate in the Department of Global Health. She obtained Bachelor of Science degrees in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Health Sciences from Chapman University. Hana’s professional background is in strategic healthcare consulting through primary research, where she worked on expanding access to birth control and lowering family planning stigma for Latinas in the US. Hana currently volunteers at the Fund for Global Health, working on initiatives in rural Nigeria to lower the under-5 child mortality rate through nutrition interventions. Concurrently, she works as an intern at PATH researching the current donor landscape in Latin America for Maternal and Child Health initiatives. Through the Global WACh certificate program, Hana hopes to build a strong professional network of people who have the same goals and visions as she does.

Lisa Orii

Lisa Orii is a Ph.D. student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. Before starting her Ph.D., she received a B.A. in Computer Science and Philosophy from Wellesley College. Her research examines the delivery of healthcare with human-centered technologies in low- and middle-income countries. Her recent projects include enhancing data security for a mobile medical record system in a national HIV care program in Malawi and designing and implementing a mobile application that provides contraceptive education and decision support for youth in Kenya. Moreover, she is passionate about improving the quality of care for vulnerable communities. Through the Global WACh Certificate Program, Lisa hopes to equip herself with the skills and knowledge to bridge the technical and health domains. She is also excited to join a community that is grounded in a shared passion to improve health globally.

Ananditha Raghunath

Ananditha is a 4th year PhD student in Computer Science advised by Dr. Richard Anderson. She works at the intersection of global health and technology, exploring health worker – AI teaming, and the integration of people-centered diagnostic devices into clinics, homes and health systems. She is passionate about ending morbidity and mortality that is caused by structural inequality. She has experience thoughtfully designing and integrating technology into rural LMIC settings such as NW Tanzania, where she spent 5 months in 2022. Prior to her PhD, she worked at MIT researching AI, Networks, and Health. She received her BA in Mathematics and Computer Science at New York University, where she was a Presidential Honors Scholar, Women in Science Scholar, and Presidential Service Award recipient.

Tiara Ranson

Tiara is an MPH student in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. She received her bachelor’s degree in Global Health and Sociology from the University of Miami. During her undergraduate studies, she was a research assistant for projects concerning Black women’s perspectives of non-invasive prenatal testing, constrained choices in family planning, and racial birth trauma among Black women in the United States. At UW, she currently assists research in the Global WACh Center which supports Kenya’s community health volunteers through two-way SMS-messaging to better aid peripartum women. She looks forward to the Global WACh Certificate where she will be given the opportunities to expand her knowledge of LMIC contexts and gain the leadership skills to contribute to her professional goal. Tiara’s career goal is to become a global health practitioner and contribute to the implementation of community-based programs that dismantle oppressive structures for women in the field of family planning and reproductive health.

Yvette Rodriguez

Yvette is a PhD student in the UW School of Nursing. She is a Latina of Mexican American and Puerto Rican descent from San Antonio, TX. She has a B.S. in Biology from Texas A&M University-San Antonio and a B.S. in Nursing Science from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. As a graduate student at the University of Washington, she has had the opportunity to assist with global health research in-person in Peru and remotely in Kenya and Argentina. Her research interests include infectious diseases, health disparities, adolescent health and adolescent health advocacy, and innovative digital health technologies. Her dissertation will focus on utilizing patient-centered health technologies to support adolescents and their mental health needs during tuberculosis treatment in Argentina.

Thania Solar Del Valle

Thania, a first-year MPH student in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington and originally from Costa Rica, holds an MD from the University of Costa Rica. Her experience as a medical doctor serving women, adolescents, and children ignited her passion for understanding and addressing the pathologies affecting these populations through research, tailored interventions and advocacy. She is particularly interested in studying global healthcare systems’ impact on reproductive health and advancing genetics and vaccine research, as well as implementing evidence-based interventions for the rights and well-being of women, adolescents, and children worldwide. Thania aims to deepen her expertise in global health research and leadership through the Global WACh certificate program, where she seeks to build professional networks and gain insights into effective strategies for promoting the health and rights of these populations on an international scale.

Akane Sugimoto Storey

Akane is a student in the Doctor of Global Health Leadership and Practice (DrGH). She has an MSc in Maternal and Infant Health and a BA in International Studies. She has over ten years of experience in midwifery practice, clinical capacity building, midwifery education, and health systems strengthening with a focus on maternal and newborn health, sexual and reproductive health, community-based health services, and management and leadership. Prior to beginning her DrGH, she implemented USAID-funding programming in Afghanistan focused on strengthening quality of care across the Afghan health system, primarily in targeted rural areas. Her experience includes midwifery practice and clinical direction at a midwifery-led center in southern Mexico, clinical direction at a direct-entry midwifery program in the USA, and working with community-based organizations in Mexico, Central America, and the USA. Akane is passionate about scaling community-based, right-sized, person-centered models of care and strengthening the connections between the components of health systems. Through the Global WACH certificate, she hopes to strengthen skills for project and program leadership, build professional networks, and continue to develop strategies for enabling the health and wellbeing of women, adolescents, children, newborns, and families.

Molly Unsworth

Molly is a second-year MPH student who is on the Maternal and Child Health track in the Department of Epidemiology. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, and spent most of her time in undergrad working as a sexual violence prevention intern. After graduating, Molly spent 3 years working as clinical research coordinator for gynecologic oncology trials at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center prior to returning to school to pursue her MPH. Through the Global WACh Certificate Program she hopes to learn more about global policy advocacy and how evidence-based interventions can be better leveraged to address gaps in maternal and adolescent family planning and reproductive health.

Sandra Urusaro

Sandra is an MPH student in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. She trained as a nurse and minored in global health at the University of Pennsylvania. During her undergraduate studies, she was a research assistant for projects several projects including those focused on streamlining cervical cancer processes in Botswana, standardization of cancer care education for newly diagnosed patients in Rwanda and participated in a comparative health systems study abroad program in India. Prior to her MPH journey, she worked for Partners In Health (Inshuti Mu Buzima- Rwanda) in various capacities such as technical working groups (family planning group, COVID-19, etc), coordination of cancer care during COVID-19, HIV/AIDS health promotion, and as a manager of health programs. Her research interests are in improving the quality of care, streamlining care systems, and optimizing available resources to create resilient health systems that address barriers to dignified and adequate care in marginalized communities. Sandra hopes to leverage the network of Global WACh mentors and colleagues to enhance her skills in designing, planning, and implemention of evidence-based health programs tailored to issues known in the field of women, adolescents, and children.

Sophie Whikehart

Sophie Mei Lin Whikehart is a first-year MPH candidate in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and double majored in Anthropology of Human Evolutionary Biology and Medical Anthropology of Global Health with a minor in Data Science. She was born and adopted from Shiyan in Northwestern Hubei China. Before starting her MPH program, Sophie worked as a Research Technician I at Seattle Children’s Research Institute in the Center for Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Sophie worked on research involving KOMP2 genetic knockout strains for performance validation of MEMOS a deep learning model previously trained from ABM [Atlas Based Methods] that uses Fully Convolutional Neural Networks [FCNNs] as well as PyTorch and MONAI [Medical Open Network for Artificial Intelligence] libraries for quantitative multi-organ segmentation from clinically acquired micro-CT scans. Sophie is passionate about researching prenatal care and adoption planning, maternal and adolescent mental health related to adoption, labor support, and malnutrition — particularly in LMICs. Through the Global WACh Certificate program, Sophie hopes to advance her quantitative and qualitative skills to analyze health data related to women’s health issues and hopes to create data-informed decision-making to promote women’s health on a global scale.

Kat Wright

Kat is a Registered Nurse and a Population Health and Systems Leadership DNP student in the UW School of Nursing with 15+ years of experience and a passion for providing safe and inclusive care across the perinatal and gynecology continuums. A graduate of the Master of Nursing program at UW Bothell in 2021, Kat had opportunities to improve healthcare quality and safety at the facility and state system levels and is interested in evaluating and implementing evidence-based practice changes to improve healthcare and nursing quality and safety in the perinatal periods. Through completion of the WACH certificate during the DNP program and by increasing her knowledge and experience in the global realm, she plans to create a lasting impact on diverse populations through evidence-based system changes.