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SYP Testimonials

SYP Testimonials

Aida Tanios,

I come from Austria and still live here. I work in Vienna at the Austrian Public Health Institute at the Department of Health and Society.


I have always been interested in global health. I started my health career as a general nurse and used to work in several hospital wards for five years after I had finished my education. At the same time, I studied International Development, and after that Sociology, but I always kept my focus on health issues. This topic has been part of me for about eight years. 


I think health is such a central issue when it comes to criteria of a good life. What you need to live a good life is safety, food and you always need good health to accomplish more. I think it´s fascinating that you can have so many perspectives on health - anything is possible, and there's always something new coming up. 


I'd like to strengthen my focus on mental health issues, especially on suicide prevention. I discovered this topic during the last year at work, and before that, I never planned to go into the field of mental health. When I started, I saw how important the issue is, and I still see the importance of these issues day-to-day. So I want to continue working on topics of suicide prevention and mental health in general.


GHMe sounded like there is much personal motivation behind it, like something that wants to grow and to improve, which makes it different from other programs. You can see that hard-working people are behind it.


In general, it's been an excellent and exciting experience. I like my group. I'm impressed by the knowledge of our mentor and how she can guide us through the different contents of the modules and the Skype sessions. I see that she wants to help us improve our career. I expected the program to be more focused on health issues, so I was quite surprised that it was more about career development*. Nevertheless, I learned a lot through the modules, and I'm a bit sad that it will finish soon.


We are three SYPs, another Austrian girl and the other SYP is from Romania, enrolled in a Master Program. We are very different when it comes to our professional experiences. I think it is very enriching that we are not too similar. We meet once a month for every module. We had some troubles with finding time slots, where everyone is available, but it's getting better now.


GHMe has helped me to sharpen my vision. I was encouraged to think about where I want to be in a few years, and the mentorship program encouraged me to focus on what I like and be self-conscious about me as a professional. Every one of us SYPs had the same issue: How can I talk at a conference when they are so many experts... I'm so young; I am so inexperienced, how will I ever dare to say something. The program has helped me to feel confident about what I know and do.


My advice for future SYPs is: use the opportunity because it's a great chance to get to know people from other countries who are working in the same field and I think it would be a pity not to make use of it. Try to get to know the SYPs better. We started to write the minutes down from the sessions to create something sustainable, which I can recommend because you are so focused on listening and talking you forget half of the things after the session is finished. I want to encourage people to open their minds to new perspectives from within their field.


*The pre-survey, which was conducted in the first month, showed a clear trend towards career development advice. However, the modules are not binding and allow for individual adjustment. 

Alick Kayange,

My name is Alick Kayange from Tanzania. I am a medical doctor with M.Phil International community health (Global Health) from the University of Oslo in Norway. Studying at the University of Oslo gave me an opportunity to meet different global health experts. I have also worked on pediatric and adolescent HIV and AIDS program for more than nine years. All these mounted passion and interest in Global health within me. I decided to register in the Global Health Mentorships (GHMe) pilot program for the period of September to December 2015. I am glad to have been among the first member privileged to take part in the pilot project.


For me, it was a great experience having virtual meetings with my mentor and fellow SYPs from Asia and Europe. The group goal was to share knowledge about global health through the discussion of projects, views, research & sharing our own academic and professional experiences related to global health. The coverage of the modules was useful enough to nurture my career. Through this program, I was able to sharpen my skills on how to make effective communication, how to prepare for a job application, how to prepare for a job interview and how to prepare a grant proposal.


In connection with that, while participating in GHMe program; I applied for a new job for the position of PMTCT/ART Project lead. I shared the job advertisement, CV and cover letter to my fellow SYPs and mentor before submitting my application. They all gave their advice to enrich my application. We also had a very strong discussion on how to prepare for job interviews and elevator pitches.


One week later, after sending my application, I received an invitation to attend the job Interview. Fortunately, we had scheduled another meeting with my group. After our discussion, my group cheered me up and wished me good luck in my interview. The discussion helped me face the interview with confidence, determination and even helped me look more professional. I am glad to have secured the position and I have reported to my new office since January 2016.

I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the GHMe project for coming up with this idea that has played a pivotal role in my career. I also thank all members of my group for their readiness to share their experiences, flexibility and ability to accommodate one another. My future prospect is to see myself working at the higher global institutions like the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and WFP.


Arsenis Tselengidis,

I am from Greece and now I'm based in Malmö, South of Sweden, studying at Lund University.


I started in 2010 promoting health among young adults around Europe and together with my colleagues, we conducted workshops in different cities, this is how I got excited about European health, in particular in public health nutrition.


What I'd like to achieve in my career of course depends on the opportunities that come up over time. I guess, nowadays I would like to see myself lobbying at an NGO either to EU or WHO. But also at the same time, I would like to work in a low-income setting through NGOs


I found GHMe extremely interesting and I wanted to expand my horizon to have a different perspective and to see what the professionals are thinking about our future as a young professional, but also to be guided on my own path and to achieve it.


I really liked the beginning when we did the mock applications with the CV and the motivation letter because it gave me the opportunity to practice and develop my CV. It's nice to hear the opinion from someone with insider knowledge. She [the mentor] could guide me towards what attracts possible employers in order to accept me. The advice from my mentor and the other SYP helped me to change two of my application, which was in the end very successful and I got accepted both times. 


We are two SYPs and one mentor. At the beginning of the month, the mentor is proposing a topic and the SYPs are working on it. Close to the end of the month, we present what we did and everyone is receiving feedback from the rest of the group. We can always ask additional questions to the mentor and other SYPs, which don't even need to be related to the topic.


Nowadays I am more focused on a specific career path that I want to follow. I can give better, professional feedback, also on where I'm going, what I want to archive and how I want to achieve it, compared to before.  


I think one of my biggest limitations is that I postpone things quite easily. I think, with the GHMe it pushes me to eliminate this bad habit, that I act now and don't leave it for later. 


I recommend everyone to take this opportunity, especially if you don't have a big network already. It helps you to come closer to your area of interest, to learn more and be guided. This program gives one the opportunity to talk with other colleagues from your own profession. They can share their own experience and job or training opportunities you can take to develop yourself or your career.  

Elena Marbán Castro,

I come from Madrid, Spain, but now I live in Barcelona. I'm doing my Master Degree in global health. I studied my first Master in Tropical Medicine and that's how I discovered that I really like global health and that's also when I decided to do a second Master in global health. 


I never knew what to focus on, so I did my Bachelor in Health Biology and Tropical Medicine and discovered that global health is very important in every aspect of life. 


I would like to work in an NGO or international organization, where I could work in the field and do advocacy in relation to infectious diseases and global health issues in general.


I got interested in GHMe because I just started my Master and didn't really know where to focus on and it would help me to get this focus I was looking for.


I'm very happy! Every month, I meet my team and we talk by e-mail or skype. I'm learning a lot from different people and their experiences - even if we have different experiences and backgrounds, we share common goals. I really enjoyed the modules, where we were writing mock applications and revising our CVs.


We are three SYPs and one mentor. As we also have the LinkedIn group, I comment on posts and see who else is there outside from my own group. As you uploaded the picture, I recognised a girl I knew from the GHNGN conference last year, so I got in contact with her. 


I'm not sure about my career since I'm still a first year Master student, but when we had to write a mock e-mail to a professional that we met at an event, to keep in contact. After I wrote the mock, my mentor made me send the e-mail to the professor. I was so surprised when the professor actually answered me, given the fact that we met half a year ago - but he was very nice and remembered me. It was a great experience, and we can apply everything we learn at GHMe. 


I have to be more secure and even though I don't yet which field I want to specialise in, I have the skills and tools to go in any direction I want. I just need to put more emphasis on my application letters and CV. 


Join the program! I learned a lot! If you are considering to apply, just do it! I know we all have a life, studies, work and all of it, but it's not just an exercise to send it out the day you have your meeting, it's something serious you have to prepare. You have only four months and it only takes one or two days each month. If you have time, prepare yourself and take it seriously, because GHMe will make a difference in your life. 

Eva van Swaaij,
the Netherlands

I am from the Netherlands and currently based in Stockholm. 


I've been studying public health in different international settings for a few years and that is also my connection to Global Health.


I like to work on access to health and equity problems. I don't really know what kind of job I would like to have yet, but that is fine since I'm still studying and I still have some time to figure things out. 



The possibility to network, the possibility to meet some other people from outside my university circles, who are also interested in global health and to interact and learn with them and to share opportunities.


GHMe has been very nice. I get along very well with my mentor and the other SYP. We had some good Skype discussions so far and we had the opportunity to meet up in Berlin at the World Health Summit. It's been very productive.


So we have one mentor and two SYPs. So we usually meet about oncve a month on Skype and then we discuss the different topics that are at hand at that point. We go through some of the Module material that we got from the team.


GHMe has given me a view on what's possible in Global Health jobs are out there and made me focused on what I would like to do; to connect with some people who might have interesting jobs. I really try to focus my own career path.

First of all, I learned that it is important to promote yourself through for example business cards. They are really helpful. I think the Global Health world seems smaller than expected. 


The next generation should take the opportunity and get involved. You can learn a lot from your mentor. Listen to them and be patient, because they will be busy and try to engage with them. If they invite you, go wherever they tell you to go, do what they tell you, because it's probably going to be a good experience for you.

Katharina Berecz, Germany

Internationality is my identity. It is not where you are coming from what makes you who you are but your way and where are you heading. When people are asking me where I am from, I would like to answer them this - to avoid putting me in a box of stereotypes of a country or region. I used to grow up in 3 different countries and collected work experience from 6 countries, in 5 different languages. I studied in 4 different Universities and absolved 3 Erasmus Programs, However, this was not enough for me - I was searching for a challenge, which would be as international as me and would help me to bridge the period between being a student and a young professional. And then I found GHMe – a unique opportunity matching all this.

The fresh graduates are suddenly alone in the real world and there is no professor or a colleague yet to help. I was very excited to get a mentor through this program - to have somebody who is handing his/her wisdom and experience over on us – career beginners, which are thirsty for any good advice for the professional life.

Now, at the end of the program, I have to say that my experience exceeded my expectations and I feel more prepared and confident for a career in global health. I can definitely recommend it to anyone, who is honestly interested. The modules were challenging and covered a lot of topics. I am very grateful to the program developers for their time and energy invested in creating this outstanding program.


The Program Facilitator was always ready to help and answer our questions. My mentor was very collaborative. She gave us a lot of valuable information about work in global health and research. I met one of my group members in person during a conference and we became good friends. We are even thinking of starting a project together.


My motivation was as high at the beginning of the program as in the end. I liked it so much, that I consider continuing the program on another position and share my ideas. I believe this program has a big potential! 

Maaike Droogers,
the Netherlands

I am from the Netherlands and currently based in Stockholm. I did a bachelor’s in public health, because of my interest in health and society. After that, I felt like there is so much more to public health. I studied public health in the Netherlands and most case studies during the studies were from the Netherlands. I was curious about how health systems are in other countries and which health challenges exist in other countries. Perhaps this interest in abroad originates from my time living abroad in Turkey and Sri Lanka as a child.


At the moment there are various aspects of global health that interest me: translating research into effective, sustainable and context-appropriate interventions. I am also interested in evidence-based practices, countries learning from each other and global health governance. It would be great if at one point in my career I can contribute to the development and implementation of effective, context-appropriate and sustainable global health intervention programs based on all the experiences I have from various countries and settings.


I do not have any previous experiences with a mentorship program. During my studies, I have experienced how inspiring it can be to have contact with experts from the field. As a student, I got this from my lectures, professors at the university and guest speakers. As a recent graduate, a mentoring program seemed like a new opportunity to keep being inspired by a professional from the field. Also, the opportunity to come in contact with other like-minded, others interested or experienced within global health, such as other SYPs.


I am very excited about the GHMe program. I have come to new ideas, found new sources of inspiration and great to get to know my mentor and fellow SYPs. Without GHMe, I would have never met them.


We are with 3 SYPs and 1 mentor. We meet once per month and discuss global health issues that we are all interested in, such as evidence-based policy, the sustainable development goals, and career paths in global health. We share experiences, thoughts and ask each other questions. After the meeting, I feel inspired. We easily manage to find a moment for a monthly Skype meeting, apparently, all of our priorities GHMe and will work their schedule around our meeting.


GHMe has confirmed how interesting the field of global health is, also how broad, as well as how much there is you can do. GHMe has helped me realize the three possibilities to, 1) become an expert in one disease area or in a health-related issue (e.g. malaria, tobacco, or eHealth), 2) be knowledgeable about a skill or methodology within global health that can be applied to several disease areas (e.g. epidemiology, ethics), or 3) combine the two, choose several diseases and several skills within global health.  


I have learned that it is important to have field experience. Now seems like a right time to gain some of that field experience, since as an SYP I am rather flexible as to where I can live.


It is a great decision to participate in the GHMe program! Make sure you have time to prepare and reflect on your mentorship meetings. GHMe will definitely give you food for thought!

Silvia Segovia Chacón,

I come from Barcelona, Spain. After a few years working and studying in London, I’m now based in Stockholm. I’m currently working as a research assistant at the National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health (NASP) at Karolinska Institutet.


My connections to global health started at the time when I was studying my MSc in Public Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). LSHTM was a buzzing place. Alongside our regular lectures, there were a lot of presentations and lectures regarding different global health issues that we could also attend. I had the opportunity to come across experts from various fields. For a year, I was also exposed to highly motivated and inspiring students. All this awoke my interest for the global health space. 


I became interested in joining GHMe, because, as I see it, global health is highly political, relevant and challenging. 


I would like to work in an institution where I could dedicate my time and energy working in public/global health research, advocacy, and policy particularly within the area of women and health. I would like to drive change in any topic from maternal health and sexual rights to violence against women and gender equality. I’m also interested in health inequalities and mental health prevention.


In June 2015, I attended the GHNGN Conference in Barcelona where the GHMe program was launched. I also had the opportunity to meet some of the people involved in the GHMe project. They were really engaging and creative, looking to the future of GH and wanting to help newcomers to navigate in the GH space. They inspired me.


For me, it has been a positive experience to participate in the GHMe program. It has provided me support during a transitional period from finishing my MSc in PH to seek employment in a new field. It helped me to keep up my motivation, interests and inspiration. It has also been important to stay connected and share knowledge during this period.


We are two SYPs and a mentor. I like the fact that each of us comes from a different continent since we are from Spain, Tanzania and Vietnam. We have been aiming to accommodate 1 or 2 meetings monthly via Skype. During the hour meeting, we work on the material related to the GHMe modules. We also discuss other issues related to our interest or that come up spontaneously in the conversation. 


The GHMe program has helped me to formulate and articulate myself much better. Through the module of career building, where we had to write a mock job application, update our CV and prepare a cover letter, I was forced to think and define my skill set, knowledge and experience. The communication skills module was also good for me: I thought of my elevator pitch and wrote a networking email.  Those activities helped me to articulate myself in terms of what I’m aiming for, and where I am professional.


I have learnt that the global health market is highly competitive. I have also realised how important it is to network and to use of new technologies to keep you connected and updated.


I encourage SYPs to invest energy and time in the program so that they can make the most of it. It can be a really empowering process.

Teresa Kreusch

"I truly enjoyed the animated discussions in our incredibly international group representing India, South Africa, Iran, Germany and Uganda. Our common denominator was the interest in communicable diseases and the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)."

"To solve these, we need global understanding and joint action!

Special thanks go to my mentor Aruna for sharing her impressive expertise in clinical infection control. Thank "you, everyone, for the friendship, and for expanding my horizon!"

Mentor Testimonials

Mentor Testimonials
Emilie Venables,
United Kingdom

I am an anthropologist from the UK, and I have been based in Johannesburg, South Africa for the last seven years.  I have worked on global health issues, particularly around HIV, for over a decade and have been working with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) since 2012. I have worked in various countries across sub-Saharan Africa and on a variety of issues including HIV/AIDS, TB, Ebola, sex-work and migrant health.   My most recent work has been in Italy, DRC, Mozambique and South Africa and I previously conducted research in Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. 


GHMe has been a great experience for me – I got to ‘virtually’ meet three very dedicated SYPs all living in different countries and different timezones.  Managing four-way Skype calls on a bad wifi network has been one of the additional skills I’ve picked up during my time as a mentor!  Mentoring has been a great way to meet other people, learn about new areas of global health (such as mental health) and be part of a virtual community of dedicated researchers, humanitarians, students and academics.


I really enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm of my GHMe group and appreciated the level of honesty, reflexivity and openness among them. They really enjoyed the modules on CV writing, ‘elevator pitches’ and leadership and have been able to put these to use during subsequent interviews and applications for jobs. 

I would recommend being a GHMe mentor to anyone who is interested in being part of a dynamic community of people who are keen to learn and enthusiastic about starting their careers in the field of global health.  I would also advise them to share their own experiences (and mistakes!), complete the modules alongside the SYPs and make sure they have a good wifi connection.

Fernando Zacarías, MD, DrPH,
United States

I was born in Mexico City where I had my medical education. I specialized in Family Medicine (University of Miami, FL) and later on, in internal medicine and infectious diseases (Emory University in Atlanta,) before returning to Mexico. After five years of practice, research and teaching in my country, I went back to the USA and obtained my degrees (MPH and DrPH) in tropical public health and international health policy and management (Harvard School of Public Health.) I then spent five years as a Visiting Scientist at the Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, where I had the privilege of working with the experts who discovered the AIDS epidemic. In 1987, I moved from Atlanta to Washington, DC to join the Pan American Health Organization, Regional Office of the World Health Organization for the Americas (PAHO/WHO), which is the oldest international health organization in the world (founded in 1902.). I am currently living in Fairfax, VA, a city located 36 Km Southwest of Washington, DC.


My connection goes back many years, more than thirty by now. International health and global health have been my raison d’etre and the backbone of my professional career. During that time, I have travelled more than 2 million miles and provided technical cooperation to 39 countries and territories in the Western Hemisphere (I missed six very small territories in the Caribbean.) At PAHO, I was Chief of the Regional AIDS Program for 17 years, until my United Nations-mandated retirement in 2005. To my surprise, I was called back “to help” in several occasions and from 2005 to 2012, I was Acting Chief of Health Analysis and Statistics, Senior Policy Advisor on Family and Community Health, and Coordinator of the preparation and production of PAHO’s flagship publication “Health in the Americas”, Editions of 2007 and 2012. In December 2012, a group of former colleagues and I founded a not-for-profit organization, “Global Health International Advisors” (GHIA), based in WDC, which now has 80 members in 19 countries. GHIA functions as a think tank and provides technical advice internationally. At present, I am GHIA’s Director of Operations in charge of project development. I am currently also working at PAHO, helping in the preparation of the Plan of Action for the Prevention and Control of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections for the next six years (2016-2021.) So, basically I have worked in international health (and now in global health) since 1982, and expect to keep working in this field until the lights go out.


This might surprise you because it is unusual that an eight-year-old boy “commit” to becoming a doctor in order to work in international health (specifically at PAHO) at such a young age. There were three main reasons behind this decision: 1) At age 8, I read a book – a birthday present from my mother - on Dr Albert Schweitzer and his work in Africa; this was the seed. 2) The example of my mother, the mother of eight children, who still found the time and energy to start an ambitious, ahead-of-its-time health and social program in Mexico City, to address mental health, elder health, women’s freedom and opportunities (women had no voting rights in Mexico at that time), street children’s needs, and a few other neglected health and social themes. She had the vision of what 40-50 years later became the social determinants approach to health. She talked to me and I listened. 3) The advice of “the first person I met in this world” (that’s what he used to say), my mother’s obstetrician, who many years later, supported my decision to become a doctor, to specialize in public health, and to join PAHO/WHO. It took me 33 years, but I did it. In a few words, my decision to enter the field was – at that time - a combination of idealism, respect, admiration, imagination, and innocence. I’m interested in global health because it’s because of what it is, because of what it does, and because of what it can - and will - do. There are dozens of definitions of global health, but this is the one I like: “Global Health is health without borders” “A comprehensive, multidisciplinary area of knowledge, policy and practice that seeks to improve individual and collective health across the world; achieve health equity, and contribute to socio-economic development through collaborative transnational efforts and partnerships.” (F. Zacarias)


My main goal right now is to continue helping young people become stronger, wiser, and more skilled and competent. It is very rewarding to see “your” young student or professional “playing to win” and winning (e.g. getting a new job or an advanced degree, starting a new project, dissecting and solving an important problem, learning something unexpected, trying something new, making a big decision, acquiring self confidence, writing a proposal, etc.) My second goal is to have the opportunity to teach health policy and management to younger colleagues in charge of health and social programs across the world. I strongly believe that creative leadership and rational management dictate the success of any health project or program (or any enterprise, for that matter). “Lack of political power and money” is the complaint of many program directors; but in my long and rather diverse experience, “lack of political power and money” is not the problem. If you are a creative leader and a rational manager you’ll know how to get political support and resources. And you will get them, and you will be successful.


For two decades (perhaps much longer) I have had one or two younger colleagues or interns who have given me the opportunity to advance their professional growth. I have always mentored them face to face and without a time schedule or didactic program. My mentorship has always been organic, spontaneous, and flexible. I saw and read the request for applications to mentor at GHMe, and I jumped at the opportunity. What I found most attractive in GHMe was the program, the consortium of academic institutions and the network of young people interested in Global Health. I was very pleased when I was accepted.


It has been priceless. I had never had 3 SYPs at the same time and in different time zones. GHMe gave me the opportunity to try something new by linking via Skype with three young people across the world. And it was great to be both a mentor and the liaison between SYPs with different knowledge, skills and backgrounds. I also liked the combination of technical themes, general knowledge, and the impromptu sessions on personal and professional issues and decisions. The only improvement I would advise is to make the program last longer (it was only 4.5 months – I would have preferred nine months)


I had one young physician in Medellín, a young economist in Bogotá, and a young laboratory/basic sciences SYP from Suriname, based in Amsterdam. We met for one hour on a weekly basis (that’s what I usually do with my SYPs). Sometimes, we were four, sometimes three, and sometimes two, but at the end, it worked for all of us.


Quite well, as far as my goals for the next few years are concerned. It has been great to see how young people are receptive to both old and new ideas, and most importantly, how rapidly they progress in their critical and analytical thinking and their capacity to make decisions and solve problems.


That I’m useful in my role as a mentor and - judging from the quality of the SYPs I have met throughout the years - that global health is in good hands.


That mentoring goes beyond conventional teaching and gives you the opportunity to transfer the wisdom and experience that you have acquired throughout your life to a new generation of practitioners of global health. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. It’s one of the most satisfying experiences that you will ever have. Guaranteed.

Prof. Dr Hamid Hussain, 
United Arab Emirates

I am Professor Dr Hamid Hussain, living in Dubai, UAE, and working as Consultant for Public Health medicine, I hold my professorship in Public health medicine and research.

I engaged as Mentor in the Global Health Mentorship program 2016 and supervised very talent group of student and young professional. The program added significantly scientific and professional values to my career pathways in terms of technical, administrative and professional points of views.

I would like to strongly recommend the program to new generation of youth who are enrolled in health related areas. This area has extremely significant impact on worldwide populations in terms of meeting their needs and addressing their problems and strongly encouraging them to be enrolled and trained with such skills.

Currently I am an Expert consultant for various networks and initiatives such as, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GAORN), the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the East Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET). Furthermore, I am a candidate for Regional Counselor of International Association of Epidemiology for the EMR region, Member of the Executive Committee at World Health Organization (EMRO) and Medical Editors association EMAME.

I have achieved significant outcomes so far in terms of teaching, mentoring, research, services delivery, policy and guidelines development, setting up strategies and services delivery. I had the opportunity to teach Public Health Medicine/ Global Health for undergraduate and postgraduate medical students for the past 15 years, where achieved more than 150 published research works, supervised 30 PhD candidates and 20 Master students.

I have been significantly enrolled with project and programs management at the World Health organization, United National Fund for Children (UNICEF), International Organization for Migration (IOM), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) in Atlanta.

Dr. Ivy Shiue,
United Kingdom

I am currently a senior research associate at Northumbria University, UK. Previously, I have been working in various countries, from Australia to Sweden. Before this job, I was an assistant professor in Scotland.


I started my career from studying sleep quality, mental health and sexual harassment in foreigner household workers in Asia and then moved to stroke medicine in Australasia and Inner Mongolia. Since then, I have developed the research interest in burden of disease and environmental health across different populations and geographic regions.


I am a methodologist and epidemiologist. Therefore, the core research principle for me is to routinely and systematically collect data and then analyse the patterns. Nowadays, people move frequently. Understanding the health profiles from individuals to the world would help re-distribute available resources to help those who are in need.


I’ve been part of the expert group of Global Burden of Disease since 2013, led by University of Washington, USA. Together, we have published numerous papers on burden of disease due to all the identified human diseases in 188 countries. They are mainly published in the Lancet, and we have worldwide media dissemination as well.


It has been interesting to be involved in GHMe because I’m willing to contribute my expertise and experience for the latecomers while learning how to educate and mentor.


I’ve been quite satisfied with the structure in the GHMe mentor-mentee program, although it’s only lasting for 5 months. This first try seems to be positive with a specific topic in each month, and I have also suggested a few more topics in the next round.


I’ve initiated and maintained a rather flexible group discussion over the last few months. We are only a small group, and each of us has a daytime job or study already. Therefore, we could only use our free time off work/study to communicate and learn from each other.


It is not time-consuming so worthwhile to have such experience. Besides, it helps to uncover and cultivate the ability to mentor online. It is a give-and-take process in that more information from different resources could be shared as well. 

Julian Kickbusch,

I am Julian Kickbusch, I’m German, but I grew up internationally. Now I’ve been in Berlin for nearly 10 years - one and half of  those years at the World Health Summit.


I got invited to a conference to speak in Barcelona that was organised by the Global Health Next Generation Network and then from there, the Mentorship developed. I had the chance to become the mentor for two great SYPs, and we already had some great discussions.


I think it is a great experience to be a mentor in GHMe. Ever since I’ve started working here at the World Health Summit, one of my goals has been to ensure that young leaders in health have a voice to speak at events that tend to be slightly closed off and by giving a voice to the next generation, we ensure that global health remains on the agenda in the future as well.


GHMe has helped me to get a better understanding of what the next generation of young people dealing with global health think, and the issues that they face looking forward into the next 10 years. Issues of getting jobs in the field, which topics are especially important to them, their relations to the MDGs and then now the SDGs and what they think about the different health topics, which are going to be developed for the future.


Being in the position as Program Director of the WHS, I was able to welcome two young professionals - which I've been advising in GHMe - to attend the summit for free. They took part in sessions as rapporteurs. Joining this conference gave them the chance to experience first hand a global health event and also to network with experienced professionals from the field of global health.


I look forward to work with all the different student organisations and especially with this GHMe program. I also look forward to working with all of you whether it will be in Berlin, Barcelona, Tallinn or Uppsala.

Prof. Tikki Pang,

I come originally from Indonesia, but currently I'm based in Singapore and in Switzerland. I worked for the WHO in Geneva for 13 years (1999-2012). Currently, I am a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore and continue my interest, research and teaching in global health.


I believe that knowledge should be applied and used to improve the health of people in the developing countries.


In my career I would still like to write a book on my experiences in various dimensions of global health.


What made me interested in joining the GHMe program, was the initial exposure to young professionals during the World Healthcare Forum in The Hague in 2014. 


I have found GHMe program very positive and stimulating. We arranged to have three one hour Skype discussions on selected topics of global health. GHMe has given me an opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge with future generations of global health leaders.


In GHMe I have learned that my experiences and insights are of interest and value to young professionals wanting to make a mark in global health. Conversely, I also learnt many new insights, perspectives and innovative ideas following stimulating discussions with the young professionals. For example, the group came up with an idea to develop a ‘face’ for each of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to better communicate these goals to the public perhaps through social media. It is definitely a two-way street where both mentor and group members benefit!


GHMe is a great idea which should be expanded, and structure groups with people from different countries and interests to enrich the discussion. Poor internet connectivity in some countries can be a problem.

Shakira Choonara,
South Africa
Mentor_Shakira_Choonara_South Africa.jpg

Health Systems and Policy Mentor 

Reflecting back on the past six months which have essentially flown by, but presented an opportunity whereby I transitioned from being mentored to mentoring young and upcoming leaders from across the world.

The range of topics and distance learning approach by Global Health Mentorships (GHMe) is an excellent way of connecting public/ global health practitioners through well-devised, easy to grasp yet crucial modules aimed at personal development but also learning to formulate critical opinions, public speaking and connecting with leaders in the field.


It has been an enriching and rewarding experience, as a mentor I also became self-aware, learnt a lot from the mentees about their contexts, present work/ studies in global health but also appreciated the many laughs, fun and wealth of expertise which will lead to friendships and collaborations well beyond the programme, thank you to the GHMe team and a superb group of mentees!

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