Students in the Department of Global Health and Population are diverse in their backgrounds and life experiences. Below are profiles of current and former students.
Iryna Postolovska is a third year doctoral student (SD) in the Health Systems major. Prior to matriculation to Harvard, she worked as a research assistant at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., in the health sector of Europe and Central Asia. Iryna’s current research interests are most closely linked to the development and implementation of universal health coverage in order to ensure effective access to care for the poor. She is also interested in studying the behaviors of providers to better understand the governance structures and types of incentives that can be used to improve the outcomes of a health system in a fiscally sustainable manner. Originally from Kyiv, Ukraine, Iryna received her bachelor’s degree in economics and international studies, with a minor in political science and a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism, from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Ryan Fu is a graduate of the two-year Master of Science program and originally from Hong Kong. After completing his undergraduate degree in business administration at University of Michigan, he returned to Asia and worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, advising health authorities, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals on various strategy and operation projects. After Ryan realized that many underprivileged communities do not have access to affordable and competent health care, he came to the School of Public Health to acquire a strong foundation in public health knowledge and tools. In particular, his interests lie in health systems, health economics and social entrepreneurship. Following a trip to Bangladesh sponsored by the Women and Health Initiative, Ryan worked to create a social venture, TraumaLink, which aims to provide effective trauma care for traffic accident victims. In the future Ryan hopes to develop innovative models of affordable health care for underprivileged communities.
Alex Radunsky is a third year doctoral student in the Department of Global Health and Population. He majors in the Population and Reproductive Health and he has developed minor courses of study in quantitative methods and qualitative methods. His interest is in applying mixed-methods techniques to understand transmission, prevention and treatment of HIV in Africa. By utilizing complimentary qualitative and quantitative techniques, Alex will be able to more fully capture the complex social and behavioral factors that influence disease transmission. His current projects look at subjective expectations including context specific perception of HIV information in Malawi, the impact of HIV and anti-retroviral therapy on perceived risk of sexual behavior, and time preferences and resource allocation in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. He hopes to build a more complete understanding of HIV risk using the relative strengths of the different methodological approaches, which will in turn prescribe more useful policy strategies.
Courtney Cox is a graduate of the two-year Master of Science Program. She is interested in mixed-methods research, where she can apply her quantitative, qualitative, and digital methods skills to decision analyses, program monitoring and assessments, impact evaluations, stakeholder analysis, and intervention design and implementation. Thematically, she is interested in the global burden of disease, development issues, disaster preparedness and response, urbanization, and the movement of human populations through displacement, trafficking, and immigration. Before coming to Harvard, Courtney attended the University of Kentucky where she obtained two Bachelor’s degrees, one in International Studies and the other in French. For her summer internship, she worked at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of Population Services International (PSI) in the Research & Metrics Department by assisting with model development to estimate the impact of PSI interventions.
Dr. Victoria Fan is a research fellow and health economist at the Center for Global Development (CGD), an independent think tank in Washington, DC. She graduated from HSPH in the Department of Global Health & Population in 2011 with a doctor of science degree. Her dissertation was mainly on health insurance and conditional cash transfers in India. At CGD, Dr. Fan has worked on improving value for money of global health funding agencies such as the Global Fund. Her primary research area is health systems and health economics, particularly India and China. She also contributes to CGD’s Global Health Policy blog. Prior to joining CGD, she consulted for various organizations including SEWA, BRAC, WHO and the World Bank. She holds an SB in mechanical engineering from MIT and an SM from HSPH. She was born and raised in Hawaii. You can follow her on twitter at @fanvictoria.
Mahesh Karra is a third year doctoral student in the Economics major in Global Health and Population. His academic and research interests are broadly in economic theory, applied demography, quantitative methods, and economic development. His most recent research focuses on examining the short- and long-term impacts of family planning on fertility, maternal and child health, and downstream economic outcomes, including labor force participation, income, and wealth. To further investigate these issues, Mahesh is presently in the process of designing a family planning field experiment in urban Burundi. Prior to coming to Harvard, Mahesh was a policy analyst at the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) in Washington, DC, contributing to dissemination and research activities and providing technical assistance to initiatives associated with the Population and Poverty (PopPov) research network. Mahesh received a Joint Honors B.A. in Economics and in Hispanic Studies from McGill University as well as an M.Sc. in Economics from the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
Dr. Amy Ratcliffe is a Senior Technical Adviser at Population Services International (2011-present). PSI is a non-profit global health organization based in Washington, D.C and operates in 67 countries worldwide, with programs in family planning and reproductive health, malaria, child survival, HIV, maternal and child health, and non-communicable diseases. Dr. Ratcliffe has dedicated her career to improving health programs by designing and applying measurement to help managers make better decisions. She is trained as a demographer and epidemiologist and has previously conducted observational as well as intervention trials. Early on in her career, she was dissatisfied with evaluations that provided answers only after a program was completed. She believes that measurement should be designed to guide strategic planning and execution. She appreciates managers who are willing to learn and adjust their work to achieve the greatest effect. At PSI, she has found a very receptive set of social marketing implementers who incorporate meaningful metrics and analysis into their daily work.
Tobenna Anekwe graduated from the GHP Doctor of Science Program (Economics major) in 2011, and has since been working full-time as a health economist at the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) in Washington, DC. His research focuses on several areas of food economics, including: 1) estimating the economic costs of food-borne illness in the United States, which is an area of research that ERS has been a leader in for decades; 2) examining which consumers use nutrition information when eating out and this may fuel or mitigate nutrition-related health disparities (this is of particular interest now, given that the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is requiring many restaurant chains to post nutrition information on their menus); and 3) using time-use data to examine the relationship between quantity of leisure time and health-related outcomes such as time spent preparing meals at home, time spent exercising, and body weight.