Skip to main content

Benjamin Arnold

Class of 2027


Originally from California, Ben studied at the University of Washington with plans to become a neuroscientist. In a lab investigating whether or not mosquitoes could be trained to avoid specific smells, a fellow student implored him to join the University’s chapter of Global Medical Brigades. On a medical mission trip to rural Panama, Ben discovered a passion for understanding foreign healthcare systems and the barriers to care faced by millions of people around the world. He went on to join the Peace Corps as a Community Health Volunteer in Paraguay, where he sought to improve health literacy and reduce rates of type II diabetes and hypertension in the town of Raul Arsenio Oviedo through charlas, exercise groups, and cooking classes. However, Ben found that for everything he had to offer this community, they had twice as much to teach him, and hopes to use his global health experience to both provide care abroad while being a more culturally competent physician here at home.

 Michael (Grip) Gilbert

Class of 2027


Grip became interested in global health as a sophomore at Baylor University when he witnessed the effects of poverty on a community in the foothills of the Andes on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. At that time, Grip had already decided what he wanted to be: a physician. But expanding his worldview demanded an answer to a different question: for whom?

Searching for a thoughtful approach to this question, Grip first pursued a minor in medical humanities at Baylor and later the Fellowship in Theology, Medicine, and Culture at Duke. During these studies, interspersed with return visits to Peru, Grip felt called to become a doctor for those disproportionately bearing the burden of sickness–those living in poverty. Further, Grip became increasingly compelled by the work of Dr. Paul Farmer, whose dedication to social justice and health equity continues to shape and inspire Grip’s aspirations in medicine.

Through the Scholarly Concentration in Global Health, Grip hopes to further his understanding of high-quality, ethical global health practices and broaden his imagination on how to accompany the poor and vulnerable in ways that lead to the flourishing of both local and global communities.



Anu Chaparala

Class of 2027

After witnessing the 2019-2020 Hong Kong Protests during a clinical research internship, Anu was inspired to educate herself more on how factors such as socioeconomic status, political climate, access to healthcare and nutrition, education, and the environment influence the health and wellbeing of diverse global populations and individuals. Anu began her academic journey at the University of California San Diego, where she earned a degree in General Biology with a minor in Global Health studies. As a future physician, Anu aims to work with diverse populations, identify the unique needs of communities, and collaborate within a multidisciplinary, globally-oriented team, in order to best utilize the resources available and cater to the populations she serves. In pursuit of this mission, she has participated in a variety of programs that stand for social justice and health equity.

During her gap year, Anu worked as an advocate for the women’s health group Dotstash, which aims to provide young women in the United States with free hygiene products, through the installation of advanced vending machines, called “full units,” in schools and universities across the nation. Their mission is to address the lack of menstrual equity and normalize reproductive health education by providing academic institutions with the needed resources and guidance needed to implement these solutions in their schools. The ultimate goal is to destigmatize reproductive health education and empower young women to take control of their health by providing them with equitable resources for self-care.

She also spearheaded a community-based health equity and social impact program down in San Diego, called the Autism Sports Project (ASP): Every Child Plays ( Stemming from her passions for soccer and general wellbeing through an active lifestyle, Anu’s program aims to create a safe, welcoming, and collaborative space for neurodiverse children to develop their social communication skills and make friends through participation in team sports. This effort was based on previous research that suggested such benefits for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In just under a year, ASP served and gained support from over a hundred families in the Southern Californian area. Their long term goal is to grow and permanently establish this program as an early-intervention and support service for ASD families across the nation, creating a network for those navigating the care of children with autism.

In the distant future, Anu envisions her future career in the Global Health arena, working alongside organizations like the UN, CDC, or other NGOs to address health inequity in this manner, but worldwide. She is honored to continue pursuing a greater breadth of perspectives, understanding, and experiences here at UNC, with the hopes of providing holistic and inclusive care for the diverse populations she will serve.


Rayna Haque

Class of 2027

Rayna’s interest in global health was sparked by interdisciplinary experiences in public health, policy, and medicine that have informed her perspective on how to deliver effective care to all.

This led her to Northeastern University, where she completed a B.S. in Health Sciences with minors in Global Health, Health Humanities and Society, and Biology. She worked with the Tweisga Mukama Federation in Masaka, Uganda as co-president of GlobeMed Northeastern and co-founded and led One for the World Northeastern, an organization that promotes research for charities tackling global health issues.

Understanding the effects of war through her relatives made evident that the challenges faced by displaced individuals are particularly pressing. She conducted research on the effects of violence and effective public health interventions for resettled refugees through the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research. Her concurrent clinical research experience at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital shaped her interest in the intersection of clinical and social research.

Rayna took part in the Critical Language Scholarship’s Spark Program, a year-long remote Russian language and culture course based in Kyrgyzstan, and scored Novice-High on the Oral Proficiency Exam. She also participated in the Department of State’s pilot Ukrainian language program. These experiences deepened her understanding of how cultural and language proficiency can improve healthcare delivery.

Rayna is currently co-president of UNC’s Refugee Health Initiative and the Events Director of Physicians for Human Rights. She is also a Public Health Specialist and Health Educator for the Somali Parents Advocacy Center for Education (SPACE). Rayna is particularly excited to learn from local and global communities through this opportunity.



Kim Hoang

Class of 2027

Kim, a daughter of Vietnamese refugees, developed her drive to support marginalized populations from her experiences helping her family navigate the education and medical systems. Kim pursued her undergraduate studies in psychology and women’s studies out of a strong desire to learn about how structural differences in power based in class, gender, race, and other social factors shape individuals’ lived experiences and mental health. As a first-generation college graduate, she was inspired to serve as an Americorps college adviser to address inequities in access to postsecondary education. Having lived in North Carolina for most of her life, she immersed herself in another culture by moving to Beijing, China to work as an international college counselor for two years. Her curiosity about the effects of air pollution, witnessing firsthand the international differences in approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic, and grappling with the impact of disparities of vaccine distribution on her family in Vietnam led to her decision to shift towards a career in medicine with a focus on global health.

Kim is interested in topics such as infectious diseases, sexual and reproductive health, and mental health, particularly in international communities and refugee populations. She seeks to use the Global Health Scholarly Concentration as the point where her interests in social justice, medicine and public health, and being a global citizen converge. Outside of medicine, Kim’s hobbies include solo travel, caring for her many houseplants, hiking, mushroom foraging, and art.




Cory Spencer

Class of 2027

Cory first became interested in global health as an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she majored in Global Studies and worked in a variety of international contexts – ranging from interning on a sustainability project in rural Madagascar to conducting research in Ireland and the Netherlands.

After graduating in 2019, Cory further pursued her global health interests and was awarded a 3-year public health research fellowship at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle. During her fellowship, she worked full-time on IHME’s gender equality metrics team while earning her MPH in global health metrics from UW. Her projects involved measuring health inequalities on a global scale, and she was responsible for modeling the health impacts of gender-based violence for the Global Burden of Disease study. She also partnered with IHME’s COVID-19 research team to examine the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including interruptions to reproductive healthcare and education.

Cory’s research has often illuminated how the world’s pathogens disproportionately affect individuals along lines of socioeconomic status, gender, geography, and other axes of inequality. Other opportunities have allowed her to see how these inequalities can be reduced. For example, during her MPH practicum, she worked with a non-profit organization in Timor-Leste to evaluate a WHO training curriculum which improved healthcare provider practices in caring for patients experiencing interpersonal violence.

As a medical student, Cory now looks forward to bridging her background in public health with clinical training. By joining the next cohort of global health scholars, she is eager to expand upon her previous experiences, serve underserved communities, and ultimately change health outcomes for her patients and their wider communities – both in North Carolina and beyond.