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2021-2023 Global Health Scholars Cohort VI

IGHID Newsletter May 2021- “Five UNC resident physicians and fellows named Global Health Scholars”

Oludamilola “Dami” Aladesanmi, Internal Medicine

Dr. Aladesanmi earned a BA in history and science (with a focus on medicine and society) from Harvard College, an MD at Duke School of Medicine, and an MPH in health care and prevention at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He is interested in cardiovascular health and disease prevention among the sub-Saharan African diaspora, where the rates of cardiovascular disease are rising. As a global health scholar, he will work with the Bugoye Hypertension Improvement Program (BHIP) in rural western Uganda to analyze a cohort of patients with under-controlled hypertension regarding the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of adding thiazide diuretics to maximum-dose amlodipine with minimal lab monitoring. His primary mentor is Raquel Reyes, MD, MPA, associate professor of hospital medicine at UNC who helped establish the BHIP.

                                                                                                                                                              Alessandra Angelino, Pediatrics

Dr. Angelino, a pediatrics resident, is passionate about the health of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children, with a special interest in adolescent health and the health of gender diverse youth. Angelino earned her MD at Rutgers and an MPH in global health from the University of Washington. She continues to work with community organizations, tribal epidemiology centers, and the Indian Health Service to create guidelines, curricula, and policy that build upon community strengths. She has worked in Indigenous communities in Washington, North Carolina, and Australia, and hopes to continue engaging in clinical, policy, and advocacy work in AI/AN communities during and following her training. Outside of work, Alessandra enjoys cooking (and eating!) and spending time near the water swimming, surfing, or seashell hunting.


John Barber, Internal Medicine & Pediatrics

Barber is an internal medicine/pediatrics resident. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine in 2019. Prior to medical school, Barber spent five years working on diagnostics for resource-limited settings, initially focusing on HIV diagnostics in East and Southern Africa, then Ebola rapid diagnostic tests in Sierra Leone during the 2014-2015 outbreak, and later on other non-malarial fever projects. This background in diagnostics led to his interest in clinical medicine and system-strengthening work. As a global scholar, John will evaluate a Community Health Worker program in the Kasese district of western Uganda to identify gaps in pediatric care and improve guideline adherence. He will be working with Raquel Reyes, MD, who cofounded P-HEALED, an NGO which trained the cohort of Community Health Workers in partnership with Mbarara University and the Uganda Rural Health Fund.

April Evans, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Evans, a pediatric hematology oncology fellow at UNC, will spend a UJMT Fogarty fellowship year at UNC Project Malawi in Lilongwe under the mentorship of Kate Westmoreland, MD. Evans’ research will focus on implementing patient-reported outcome measures to assess health-related quality of life in children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer in sub-Saharan Africa; ultimately reducing symptom burden and mortality. While traveling the world for the last decade, learning about different cultures and witnessing healthcare disparities, Evans has built a foundation and skill set to ultimately improve child health globally.


Seth Morrison, Pediatric Gastroenterology

Dr. Morrison, a fellow in pediatric gastroenterology at UNC, is interested in the study and alleviation of the global burden of childhood malnutrition. His training includes diverse experiences in clinical and cross-cultural medicine at the Medical School for International Health in Beer Sheva, Israel, and as an American Society for Nutrition clinical nutrition intern. Morrison practiced primary care for adults and children for four years during an internal medicine and pediatrics residency at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine and served as chief resident prior to starting his fellowship. He is working with Sylvia Becker-Dreps, MD, MPH, and the UNC Project Nicaragua on the potential risk-modifying effects of certain genetic traits on childhood enteric microbial disease and malnutrition. He has also begun working on a forthcoming review and metanalysis on the effects of giardiasis and cryptosporidium infection on clinical outcomes such as childhood growth faltering worldwide. In fall 2021, he begins a master’s of public health degree with a nutrition concentration at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

2020-2022 Global Health Scholars Cohort V

Abiola Femi-Abodunde, Radiology

Dr Femi-Abodunde is a resident in the Department of Radiology after completing an internal medicine preliminary year also at UNC. She graduated from Yale University School of Medicine in 2017. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Smith College, Northampton, MA. Expanding healthcare access and improving outcomes has been central to her global health pursuits which culminated in her medical school experience co-directing the education department of the student-run free clinic, HAVEN. The HAVEN free clinic primarily catered to the underserved Latino population in New Haven, CT. Her project is entitled “establishing an interdisciplinary radiologic-pathologic (Rad-Path) conference for the management of breast tumors at the University College Hospital, Ibadan Nigeria”. Her primary mentor, Melissa Culp is both Director of UNC Global Health Radiology as well as Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for RAD-AID International. Her secondary mentor is Dr. Martha Carlough, Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, and Director of the Office of Global Health Education. Her faculty mentor is Dr Cherie Kuzmiak, UNC’s breast imaging division chief.

Avital Yohann, General Surgery

Dr. Avital (Tali) Yohann is a general surgery resident at the University of North Carolina. She obtained her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from the University of Florida in 2013 and graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine in 2017. She plans to spend the next two years obtaining her Masters of Public Health from the University of North Carolina and pursuing global health research at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi. Her project will evaluate the incidence of venous thromboembolism in patients admitted to the hospital after sustaining traumatic injuries. After residency Dr. Yohann plans to pursue trauma surgery and critical care subspecialty training and ultimately to obtain a faculty position that will support global surgery research, patient care, and education. Her mentor is Dr. Anthony Charles who is the Chief of General and Acute Care Surgery at UNC, Director of Global Surgery for UNC’s Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, and Director of the Malawi Surgical Initiative.

Jennifer Morgan, Division of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Morgan is a fellow in the UNC Division of Hematology and Oncology. After graduating internal medicine residency at Northwestern University in 2017, she spent two years delivering oncology care with Partners in Health at the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence in rural Rwanda and also working as a hospitalist at Northwestern. She graduated from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in 2014 and participated in the Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved Program with clinical rotations in Nicaragua. She also holds an undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Michigan. As a global scholar, Morgan will evaluate patient and provider barriers to multimodality breast cancer treatment at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi. Dr. Morgan’s mentor is Dr. Katie Reeder-Hayes, Assistant Professor in the UNC Department of Oncology who conducts research focused on disparities in breast cancer treatment and real-world effectiveness of cancer treatments.

Min Kim, Division of Infectious Diseases

Dr. Kim is a fellow in the UNC Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine and completed her internal medicine residency training at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia. She is a graduate of the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She graduated from Duke University with an undergraduate degree in Psychology.

In medical school, she participated in various global health research and electives in Kenya, Thailand and South Korea through Global Health Track/Scholarly Concentration. As a global scholar, Kim will focus on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B in rural part of western Uganda. She hopes to expand screening and intervention beyond the pilot antenatal clinic, implement similar programs at other health clinics and establish chronic hepatitis B clinics. Dr. Min Kim’s project mentors are Drs. Ross Boyce and Peyton Thompson. Dr. Ross Boyce is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UNC-Chapel Hill and a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health at Mbarara University of Sciences and Technology in Uganda whose research primarily focuses malaria and other infectious diseases of poverty in western Uganda. He is the PI on the parent PMTCT grant from the Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation. Dr. Peyton Thompson is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UNC-Chapel Hill whose research focuses on hepatitis B vaccination and prevention of mother-to-child vertical transmission in low-resource areas.

Katelyn Rittenhouse, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dr. Rittenhouse is a resident in the UNC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She graduated from UNC School of Medicine in 2019 after spending one year living in Lusaka, Zambia completing an NIH Fogarty Global Health Fellowship. With the Global Health Scholars Program, she will model how distance from healthcare facilities impacts the risk of preterm birth and identify regions with the highest risk of preterm birth. To conduct this work, she will leverage data from previous and ongoing studies of her mentors, Dr. Jeffrey Stringer and Dr. Joni Price. Dr. Stringer is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Division of Global Women’s Health at the UNC School of Medicine. Dr. Price is an Assistant Professor of Ob-Gyn in the Division of Global Women’s Health who has lived in Lusaka, Zambia since 2016.

2019-2021 Global Health Scholars Cohort IV

Ashley Appiagyei, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dr. Appiagyei is a resident in the UNC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology after graduating from UNC School of Medicine in 2018. She completed a Masters of Public Health: Global Health, Community Health and Development at Emory University in 2011 and undergraduate degree in psychology at Boston University. Her Master’s thesis was titled: “Using Trends in Nurse Workforce Supply to Inform the Scale-Up of Nurse Training in Kenya” As a global scholar, Appiagyei’s study will compare the typical-use pregnancy rates of the LNG implant versus the DMPA injectable in a prospective cohort of 1420 HIV+ women in Malawi. Her mentor is Dr. Jennifer Tang, Associate Professor in the UNC Dept of OB/GYN and at UNC Project-Malawi. Dr. Tang has been a PI or co-investigator for 17 different studies in Malawi and has worked extensively in global women’s health and HIV/family planning research.

Stephen Kimani, Division of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Kimani is a fellow in the UNC Division of Hematology/Oncology after completing his internal medicine residency training at Duke University. Kimani graduated from University of Nairobi’s School of Medicine in Kenya with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 2010. He holds a Masters of Science degree in Global Health from Duke University. His thesis was titled “Effectiveness of Respondent Driven Sampling in Engaging Methamphetamine users in HIV Prevention Research in Cape Town, South Africa” As a global scholar, Kimani’s work will evaluate the quality of life and physical function among cancer survivors in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study will be conducted at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya. Dr. Stephen Kimani’s mentor is Dr. Satish Gopal, UNC Associate Professor of Medicine, whom has mentored more than 15 current or prior U.S. or Malawian pre- or post-doctoral research fellows and junior faculty in Malawi.

Amanda Kovacich, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Dr. Kovacich is a fellow in the UNC Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine after completing her internal medicine residency training at John Hopkins Bayview. She graduated from Florida State University College of Medicine in 2015. Kovacich also completed a Masters of Public Health, with an Epidemiology and Biostatistics concentration and certificate in global health in 2014. She holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Florida. Kovacich has participated in various global health electives in Panama, Nicaragua and most recently to Malawi as a travel elective. Her project will evaluate the acceptability of bedside ultrasound by patients at Hospital Nacional Dos de Mayo in Lima, Peru. Dr. Amanda Kovacich’s global health mentor is Dr. Natalie Bowman,  Assistant Professor in the UNC Division of Infectious Diseases who conducts research involving HIV and parasitic co-infections.


Krysten North, Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine

Dr. North is a fellow in the UNC Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and spent a year after her pediatric residency working at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Malawi. She graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in 2013 and also obtained a Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Global Health at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health. North went to Grove City College for her undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology. While she was in Malawi for a year, North served as a pediatric attending and a pediatric instructor, supervising residents, interns and other trainees. As a global scholar, North will be involved with the Low Birth weight Infant Feeding Exploration (LIFE) project, a mixed-methods observational study of infant feeding practices at four sites in three low-and middle-incomes countries. Her sub project will evaluate the incidence of neonatal hypoglycemia and hypothermia within the first two days of life for LBW infants in Malawi. Dr. Krysten North’s mentor is Dr. Carl Bose, attending physician in the UNC Division of Neonatology and PI of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Global Network site in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Heather Root, Division of Infectious Diseases

Dr. Root is a fellow in the UNC Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine and completed her internal residency training at Emory University in Atlanta. She graduated from medical school at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in 2015 and completed her undergraduate degree in Mathematics at Emory University. In medical school, Root was the Student Director of Honduras Medical Brigada Relief Effort, a non-profit organization where medical students participate in health education. As a global scholar, Root is interested in HIV prevention research and efforts among South African men. She hopes to establish the risk factors for virologic failure among men and develop and intervention that may influence policy and guidelines regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Dr. Heather Root’s project mentor is Dr. Ian Sanne, Founding Director and Chief Executive Officer of Right to Care and International Vice-Chair of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (NIH).

Sarah Rutstein, Division of Infectious Diseases

Dr. Rutstein is an internal medicine resident and fellow in the UNC Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine. She is a graduate of the UNC School of Medicine and holds a Ph.D. in the Department of Health Policy and Management from UNC Gilling’s School of Global Public Health. Rutstein graduated from Duke University with an undergraduate degree in Public Policy Studies. Much of Rutstein’s previous global experience includes research and clinical work in Malawi, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rutstein’s current work focuses on HIV and her project will analyze antiretroviral therapy outcomes in Malawi. She is proposing a pre/post design comparing programmatic and clinical outcomes of the point-of-care viral load to that of existing standards of care. The CDC may also be interested in field-testing resistance assays for use in resource-limited settings, which could be incorporated into the study. Dr. Sarah Rutstein’s project mentor is Dr. Mina Hosseinipour, UNC Professor of Medicine within the Division of Infectious Diseases and Scientific Director for UNC Project Malawi.

Michael Sciaudone, Division of Infectious Diseases

Dr. Sciaudone is a fellow in the UNC Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine after completing his internal residency training at Tulane University School of Medicine. Sciaudone graduated from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2015 and spent one month at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt. He completed an undergraduate degree in neurobiology at Georgetown University. Sciaudone’s interests in global health began from an experience volunteering at Community Health Clinic, a free clinic serving uninsured immigrants in Chicago and then further strengthened in medical school, when he spent a year in Peru working with a local NGO called IMPACTA. As a global health scholar, Sciaudone will travel to Malawi to pursue a mentored research and clinical experience at UNC Project Malawi. His proposed project is a secondary analysis of data collected from a prospective study of HIV-infected adult patients admitted with meningitis at Kamuzu Central Hospital between 2009 and 2019 in order to estimate the prevalence of tuberculous meningitis among this cohort, identify risk factors for tuberculous meningitis, and evaluate predictors of mortality. Dr. Michael Sciaudone’s project mentor is Dr. Natalie Bowman, Assistant Professor in the UNC Division of Infectious Diseases who conducts research involving HIV and parasitic co-infections.

Travis Wieland, Emergency Medicine

Dr. Wieland is a resident in the UNC Department of Emergency Medicine after completing medical school at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in 2018. He received a Master’s of Art in International Relations at the University of Chicago and Master’s of Science in Classics from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. Wieland attended Valparaiso University for his undergraduate degree in History and Classics. His previous global travel includes clinical experiences and research in Tanzania, Kenya, and Peru. As a global scholar, his project will implement a program of emergency care training for community health workers in Kenya. He hopes that this project will allow him to advocate for emergency medicine abroad and help build capacity in Kenya’s nascent emergency medicine training and care delivery system. Wieland’s project mentors are Drs. Justin Myers and Benjamin Wachira. Dr. Myers is an emergency physician, program director of the Global Emergency Medicine Fellowship at UNC and Associate Director of the Office of Global Health Education. Dr. Wachira heads the Emergency Medicine Kenya Foundation and teaches emergency medicine in Nairobi, Kenya.

2018-2020 Global Health Scholars Cohort III

Brandon Hammond, Pediatrics & Anesthesiology

Dr. Hammond is a combined Pediatrics & Anesthesiology resident. Along with mentors Dr. Janey Phelps and Dr. Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Brandon will focus on implementing a self-sustainable, simulation-focused pediatric resuscitation curriculum for providers in Malawi.

He earned his Bachelor of Science in Economics from the US Naval Academy, Masters in International Business from the University of South Carolina, and Doctor of Medicine from the University of Arizona. In medical school he participated in several medical missions, graduated with a distinction in community health, and was awarded the Pat Tillman Military Scholarship. Brandon’s passion for global health is rooted in his previous international coursework and experiences in the US Navy.

Kristie Hadley, Emergency Medicine

Dr. Hadley is a resident in the department of Emergency Medicine. Her interests lie in refugee and women’s health and she will be working with Syrian refugees in Istanbul for her global health project. Her mentors will be Dr. Justin Myers from the department of Emergency Medicine and Dr. Dalshad Al-Gaaf, from the Gillings School of Public Health. 

Originally from Plymouth, MA, she did her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies at the University of Loyola in New Orleans. After college, she spent 7 months volunteering in a primary care clinic in Guatemala and learning Spanish. From there she attended medical school in Israel at the Medical School for International Health, a program that is part of Ben-Gurion University in Beersheva. While in medical school, she worked with many diverse groups including Russian and Ethiopian Jewish immigrants, Eritrean and Sudanese refugees as well as Bedouin Israelis.

Laura Purcell, General Surgery

Dr. Purcell is a General Surgery resident. Her global surgery focus will be in pediatric and trauma surgery, specifically pediatric burn care in Malawi. Her mentor is Anthony Charles, MD and her Program Director is Michael Meyers, MD.

She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. This July, she will be the UNC Malawi Surgical Initiative Fellow and begin her Masters of Public Health at UNC Gillings School of Public Health.


2017-2019 Global Health Scholars Cohort II

Amber Beg, Pediatrics

Dr. Beg is a resident in Pediatrics. As part of the Global Health Scholars Program, Beg will work with mentor Dr. Sylvia Becker-Dreps and Program Director Dr. Kenya McNeal-Trice to identify barriers to care for asthma treatment and prevention in Managua, Nicaragua.

She is a graduate of the UAB School of Medicine and attended UNC for her undergraduate degree. She spent a year as a research fellow at the NIH between college and medical school, and plans to get a masters of public health after residency. Amber’s passion and experience in global health has come from her past work in India with GlobeMed, and in Nicaragua developing a partnership between UAB and a non-profit clinic in Boaco.

Christina Cruz, Psychiatry

Dr. Cruz is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellow and a fourth year General Psychiatry resident. Cruz will be continuing the development and piloting of a novel school mental health system she created for the Darjeeling Hills of India, through Broadleaf Health and Education Alliance, which focuses on task-shifting mental health services to local community leaders and teachers. Her mentor is Dr. Brandley Gaynes, and the Program Director is Amy Ursano.

She is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and completed her Bachelor of Science in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and has a Master of Education in Prevention Science and Practice from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Emily Ciccone, Adult Medicine, Infectious Diseases

Dr. Ciccone is an Adult Medicine Infectious Disease Fellow at IGHID. With the Global Health Scholars Program, Ciccone hopes to continue her work on establishing an electronic pediatric database to assist the KCH Pediatric Department with quality improvement and acquisition of funding. Her mentor is Dr. Elizabeth Fitzgerald, and her Program Director is Dr. Richard Wardrop.

Ciccone received her MHS in International Health from Johns Hopkins and her medical degree from University of Wisconsin- Madison. Since starting Med/Peds residency at UNC, Emily has traveled to Malawi several times to do clinical work and research on Pediatric Acute Care outcomes at Kamuzu Central Hospital through UNC Project. She has a strong interest in global health medical education, particularly preparing medical students and residents to practice abroad.

Erica Bjornstad, Pediatrics

Dr. Bjornstad’s work has primarily focused in Sub-Saharan Africa. With the Global Health Scholars Program, Bjornstad will be working in Malawi, with a focus on acute kidney injury for pediatric trauma patients. She will be mentored by Dr. Anthony Charles, with Dr. Keisha Gibson as Program Director.

She completed her undergraduate degree at UNC and medical school at the University of Maryland. She took a year off and did a Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellowship in Malawi. Her global health focus continued through Pediatric Residency at UNC Children’s Hospital when she continued a project on improving pediatric clinical education in Tanzania through the support of the OGHE global health scholarships.

Fan Lee, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dr. Lee is a resident in Obstetrics and gynecology. With the Global Health Scholars Program she will focus on cervical cancer prevention in Malawi, with Drs. Ben Chi and Jennifer Tang as her mentors, and Dr. AnnaMarie Connolly as the Program Director.

She completed an undergraduate degree in Bioengineering from University of Washington in Seattle, then had her first global health experience in Kenya as a volunteer in HIV/AIDs education. She graduated medical school at the University of Washington, where she discovered her passion for women’s health through the global health pathway with a community health project focused on STD and HIV prevention in rural Uganda. She spent a year in Kenya to pursue a research experience under NIH-Fogarty focused on cervical cancer screening and dysplasia treatment.

Michael Dougherty, Gatroenterology & Hepatology

Dr. Dougherty is a fellow in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and a UNC School of Medicine graduate. With the Global Health Scholars Program, his focus will be on Gastric Cancer in Nicaragua with mentor Dr. Andrea Azcarate-Peril and Program Director Dr. Millie Long.

He is also completing a Master of Science in Clinical Research, with a Certificate in Global Health, at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Michael’s interest in global health has led him to volunteer with Puentes de Salud, complete a rotation in Botswana, and work at the Hospitalito Atitlan in Guatemala with Penn Global Health and Comprehensive Care Fellowship.

Peyton Thomas, Pediatrics Infectious Diseases

Dr. Thomas is a Pediatrics Infectious Disease Fellow at IGHID who graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, and completed residency in pediatrics at UNC. She has received the OGHE Global Health Scholarship to fund her work on the Arresting Vertical Transmission of Hepatitis B (AVERT-HBV study, the goal of which is to identify and treat pregnant women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have high-risk Hepatitis B infection in order to prevent their infants from acquiring HBV). She will work closely with her mentors, Dr. Steve Meshnick from the Department of Epidemiology at Gillings School of Global Public Health and Dr. Ravi Jhaveri from the Department of Pediatrics, to complete this project.

Steven Weinberg, Pediatrics

Dr. Weinberg is a Pediatric Resident who attended the University of Michigan, where he majored in Economics and co-founded Will Work for Food- a nonprofit that fights childhood malnutrition. With the Global Health Scholars Program, he will be working with Dr. Carl Bose, Dr. Melissa Bauserman and Dr. Kenya McNeal-Trice developing a quality improvement guide in Ethiopia.

He completed medical school at the University of Michigan Medical School, where he completed the Global Health and Disparities Path of Excellence. He has experience in Ethiopia coordinating care for underserved patients, analyzing nutrition programs, and creating post- graduate medical training programs to decrease physician migration out of Ethiopia.

Kate Westmoreland, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Westmoreland is a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellow. With the Global Health Scholars Program, she will focus on pediatric cancer patients in Malawi with mentor Dr. Satish Gopal and Program Director Dr. Patrick Thompson.

She received her Doctor of Medicine from Wake Forest and completed pediatric residency at the University of Utah. After residency, she worked in rural Nepal as the field team manager implementing a Maternal Child Health Program. She then worked for 2 years in Botswana, Africa as a Pincus Global Health Fellow through the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She spent one year in Malawi as a Fogarty Global Health Fellow with UNC, where she researched Pediatric Burkitt Lymphoma.

Global Health Scholars Cohort I (2015-2017)


Ross Boyce, Infectious Diseases

Dr. Boyce is a Fellow in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UNC. With the Global Health Scholars Program, his focus is on Dengue in Uganda. His Mentor is Dr. John Juliano and his Program Director is Dr. Alex Duncan.

He graduated from Davidson College with Honors in Chemistry, and was then commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army, eventually rising to the rank of Captain. He completed two deployments to Iraq, where he served in a variety leadership positions including Reconnaissance Platoon Leader, Operations Officer, and Civil-Military Officer. For his service, Dr. Boyce was awarded three Bronze Star Medals, including one with a Valor Device for heroism in combat. Dr. Boyce attended medical school at UNC Chapel Hill, completed his M.Sc. in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and did residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. His research focuses on the epidemiology of malaria and vector-borne diseases in East Africa, particularly in rural, underserved communities.

Mary Crocker, Pediatric Pulmonology

Dr. Crocker is currently a second-year fellow in Pediatric Pulmonology at UNC. With the Global Health Scholars Program, she is developing a project in Managua, Nicaragua, designed to train community health workers to identify and refer children with asthma. Her Mentor is Dr. Sylvia Becker-Dreps and her Program Director is Dr. Charles Esther.

Her interest in global health dates back to volunteer work done as an undergraduate at Florida State University in rural communities in Jamaica. She continued to work with underserved populations in medical school, where she ran a program designed to link homeless persons to medical care. She later earned her Master’s in Public Health at UNC with a focus on public health program planning and evaluation. Locally, she is working with the Orange County Health Department to evaluate an asthma home-visit program that addresses environmental triggers for children with asthma.

Matthew Collins, Infectious Diseases

Dr. Collins is working with his mentor Dr. Aravinda DeSilva and Program Director Dr. Alex Duncan researching Dengue in Sri Lanka and Nicaragua. Originally from North Augusta, SC, Collins studied Chemistry at Furman University and received his MD from Medical College of Georgia and a PhD from University of Georgia in Rick Tarleton’s lab working on nonlymphoid CD8+ T cell responses to chronic Trypanosoma cruzi infection in mice. With that team, he also showed that oral vaccination with genetically attenuated parasites elicits protection to a heterotopic challenge and a T. cruzi-specific CD8+ T cell response similar to that in WT infection. Matthew completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Boston Medical Center before coming to UNC for Infectious Diseases fellowship. Then, he joined the De Silva lab to gain experience in molecular virology and further develop my interest in Global Health, tropical and emerging infections, and immunologic aspects of host-pathogen interactions.

Nadeem Modan, Emergency Medicine

Dr. Modan is a first year resident in Emergency Medicine at UNC. With support from UNC Global Health Scholar’s Program, he will work to increase access to healthcare in villages across India. This project is a collaboration between UNC, Stanford, and several different nonprofit organizations, and anyone who wants to help or join the cause is welcome! He will be working on this with his mentor Dr. Justin Meyers and Program Director, Dr. Nikki Benz.

He completed his medical degree at Dartmouth Medical School, and his undergraduate education at Wesleyan University. He has a passion for social justice, and to that end, has worked on many sustainable community service projects over the past decade. He has worked on issues as diverse as hunger, literacy, economic development, and healthcare access, both in the US and in India. Additionally, he is the Founder and Executive Director of an international nonprofit organization called IndoAmerican Volunteer Networks.

Sonya Patel-Nguyen, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics

Dr. Patel-Nguyen is a first-generation daughter of Indian immigrants, born in Raleigh, North Carolina and raised in the nearby suburbs. Her interests lie in the intersection of health and human rights, especially in refugee and immigrant populations. With the Global Health Scholars Program, Sonya is continuing her work with refugees, with Dr. Alan Liles as her Mentor, and Dr. Richard Wardrop as her Program Director.

She attended North Carolina State University and earned a degree in biomedical engineering with a minor in social work. During college, she explored global health topics in engineering and public health, traveling to Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Ethiopia. She attended UNC for medical school, during which she took a year off to pursue research and non-profit work with the Palestinian Cleft Society in the West Bank. She graduated medical school as an inaugural member of the school’s Gold Humanism Honor Society, and with awards honoring her dedication to health, humanism, and human rights. During residency, Sonya has continued to pursue global health topics and electives, having traveled recently to India as a Sanders Scholar with Project Hope.

Serena Zhou-Talbert, Family Medicine

Originally from China, Dr. Zhou-Talbert has lived in eight other states before moving to North Carolina, which she now proudly calls home. With the Global Health Scholars Program, Serena’s interest is in Family Planning in Nicaragua. Her Mentor is Dr. Martha Carlough, and her Program Directors are Drs. Cristy Page and Mallory Mccleester.

After graduating from Johns Hopkins University, she moved to Ecuador for 13 months to work as a Program Director for Manna Project International focusing on asset-based community development. She then completed an MPH in Global Health Leadership at the University of Southern California and medical school at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. During this time, Serena had the privilege of doing research in the Congo with Operation Smile, conducting health education workshops in Nicaragua, and completing a clinical rotation in Costa Rica.