Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health

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2016 Graduate Certificate in Global Health Recipients

We wish to congratulate our 2016 Graduate Certificate in Global Health recipients!

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Global Health

Class of 2016

Eryn Block, M.P.P., will pursue a Ph.D. in Public Health focusing on Health Policy and Management at UCLA starting in Fall 2016. She intends to focus on bridging the gap between health and education policy, promoting health and mental health programs within schools, and methods for health and education practitioner collaboration, both domestically and internationally. As an undergraduate student at the University of Oregon, Eryn was an active member of Students for Global Health and interned at the Red Cross in Burkina Faso. While at Vanderbilt, Eryn participated in the VIGH Global Health Case Competition.


Lin Chang, M.Ed., graduated from Peabody College of Education and Human Development’s International Education Policy and Management program. She credits one of her foundational international education courses as being pivotal in sparking her interest in global health, and she is particularly interested the relationship between education and health, and how together the two considerations can be collectively leveraged for successful implementation of child and youth-targeted programs. She interned with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education in the Republic of the Maldives for her summer practicum, working on child and maternal health programming and research/data analysis on the health status of Grade 1 students in Maldivian schools, which culminated in a report presented to the Minister of Education. Lin is pursuing opportunities involving social entrepreneurship and education/global health-related programmatic work, and intends to return to pursue a Ph.D. in the future.

Kelly Diaz, M.D., is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and received her undergraduate degree in both Spanish & Portuguese and Medicine, Health & Society from Vanderbilt University in 2011. She participated in various global health organizations and projects in Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Brazil as an undergraduate and continued to explore her passion for global health while in medical school at Vanderbilt, completing several research projects in Mozambique related to the effects of a livestock lending intervention on quality of life and health outcomes as well as a study analyzing the determinants of health care access for women and children in Mozambique. Kelly is a proud wife and mother and plans to continue her global health engagement as she pursues residency training in family medicine. Her long-term career goals include shaping her practice as a medical home for immigrants and refugees in the US and continuing to engage in global health work abroad.


Magdalena Dorvil-Joanem, M.D., was awarded the Overall Fellowship in 2012 in support of her international work. During the summer of 2012, she worked at Visitation Clinic in Petite Riviere de Nippes, Haiti where she conducted a descriptive survey on disease burden in the adult population. As she served in this rural province, Magdalena had some of her first experiences working in women’s health, which inspired her to pursue a career in this specialty. Magdalena’s involvement in global health continued into her last year at Vanderbilt as she served on the Global Health Committee as a health fair chair. She plans to remain active in global health throughout her career as a physician.


Bethany Fjeldheim, M.S.N., is a certified nurse midwife and family nurse practitioner. She earned her undergraduate degree at Loyola University Chicago, where she studied biology and medical ethics. While at Vanderbilt, Bethany served as co-director for Shade Tree Clinic’s Early Pregnancy Program providing women with free prenatal care and social services. Her global health interests include maternal and infant health, global midwifery education, and violence reduction. After graduation, Bethany hopes to provide care to underserved and at-risk populations.


Dafina Krasniqi, M.A., came to Vanderbilt from Kosovo to study Development Economics. She credits her global health courses at Vanderbilt in helping her learn to apply a quantitative data analysis approach to the most salient health and developmental problems in developing countries. As part of her studies, Dafina analyzed the outcomes of a book program designed to educate mothers on child development and childhood injury prevention, to promote reading and better health practices, and to improve mother-child interactions. Dafina is passionate about global health issues and looks forward to professionally engaging with healthcare programs and organizations that address the needs of vulnerable populations.


Jieun Lee, M.Ed., is a graduate of the International Education Policy and Management program at Peabody College of Education and Human Development. At Vanderbilt, she worked with Lwala Community Alliance as a monitoring and evaluation intern, evaluating the public health and education programs in Lwala, Kenya. She also worked with World Relief, a nonprofit serving the refugee community in greater Nashville, developing education and cultural orientation programs for newly arrived refugee children.


Melanie McWade, Ph.D., completed a certificate of global health while completing her Ph.D. in global health in 2016. As part of her studies, she spent a summer in Georgetown, Guyana where she completed a project mapping road traffic collision hot spots using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). During that time, she worked closely with the Georgetown Police Force to collect collision data. She conducted several courses for the police force and public health students at the University of Guyana on how to use GIS to inform public health policy. After graduation, Melanie will be taking a job at a medical device firm that partners with universities and companies to develop innovative therapies.


Kristen Smith, M.S.N., R.N., recently graduated from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing as a pediatric nurse practitioner, and was honored with an award for student excellence in service and leadership to school and community.  While at Vanderbilt, Kristen volunteered at the Shade Tree clinic and Siloam Family Health Center, which focus on providing medical care for medically underserved populations, including refugees.  She was named a Frist Global Health Leader and will travel to Guatemala during Fall 2016 to work in a local clinic, and deliver school-based education in reproductive health to adolescents.  She has been employed by Woodland Clinic Medical Group in California, and will join their pediatrics team upon returning from Guatemala.


Ajay Sundaram, M.S., M.Ed., began his association with VIGH in Spring 2015. He was on the winning team at the Vanderbilt Global Health Case Competition in 2015 and represented Vanderbilt at the inter-university Global Health Case Competition hosted by Emory University that same year. He also holds a M.S. in Biology from the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Pune, India and recently earned a M.Ed. in International Education Policy and Management from Vanderbilt. He sees himself working at the intersection of education and health policy.


Karen Trochez, M.L.A.S., is a Bilingual Research Analyst III in the Institute for Medicine and Public Health at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she works on a cluster, randomized control trial that examines the utility of literacy, numeracy, and culturally sensitive educational materials for uninsured patients with Type 2 Diabetes. A Honduras native with 13 years of public health services in Miami and Nashville, serving under-represented populations has been a personal passion that she has followed for almost a decade. She has worked with Latino populations at the Make-a-Wish Foundation, serving as a mediator to bring hope to children going through life threatening illness. While studying at Vanderbilt, Karen placed 3rd in the 2016 Vanderbilt Global Health Case Competition. Karen’s future career plans include continuing to research the Latino population and health disparities in Middle Tennessee, and becoming a Family Nurse practitioner.

Rui Wang, M.Ed., graduated from Peabody College’s International Education Policy and Management program. She participated in two global health case competitions during her program and was also involved work with the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) as a health screening program volunteer with the refugee and immigrant population in Nashville. Her interest in public health is focused on air pollution related health issues and non-communicable diseases in China. After graduation, Rui will pursue a M.P.H. in Global Health and later hopes to work with an organization that focuses on programming in health and education.