Alumni Profiles

Luis Castellanos, MD, MPH ’07

Luis Castellanos, MD, MPH

Hometown: Modesto, California
Education: BA, University of California, Davis; MD, Harvard Medical School
MPH Concentration: Health Care Management & Policy

Luis Castellanos and his family moved back and forth between Mexico and California several times during his childhood. His family finally settled in Modesto, California, where Luis went to high school. “I was automatically placed in the technical track,” he says. “But I knew that welding was not what I wanted to do with my life.” A sympathetic guidance counselor switched him into college preparatory classes and encouraged him to apply to the University of California, Davis. Luis first studied engineering at UC Davis, but the experience of volunteering as a translator in a Modesto health clinic changed his mind: “It was amazing to me that I could do something important for those patients. I realized I could do much more if I could learn the skills to practice medicine.” After earning his undergraduate degree in biochemistry, Luis attended Harvard Medical School, then completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Diego, Medical Center. “In San Diego I observed that Hispanics and African Americans did not receive the same standard of care as whites. I decided I wanted to learn how to treat a community,” he remarks. Now an MPH student and Commonwealth Fund/Harvard Fellow in Minority Health Policy, Luis plans to practice academic medicine and develop strategies that will reduce cardiovascular risks for underserved populations.

Joe Camillus, MBA, MPH ’06

Joe Camillus, MBA, MPH

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Education: BA, University of Notre Dame; MBA, Yale School of Management
MPH Concentration: Health Care Management & Policy

Why did you chose the above concentration?
My educational background is in general management and I had to pick up my knowledge about the health care system through a series of jobs – first as a consultant in the pharmaceutical industry and then as a local government administrator. My experiences told me that health care was too tricky a subject to master on the fly. The concentration in Health Care Management and Policy gave me a year to study the critical problems facing our system as well as the solutions proposed by leading thinkers. Today, I see the big picture and am much better positioned to effect true change through my work.

Why did you choose HSPH over other schools of public health?
The faculty was a major draw. At HSPH, I would be taking classes with professors who are at the top of their respective fields of study and, in some cases, actually invented those fields. Lucian Leape has been a pioneer in medical error reduction, William Hsiao’s work in health system design is mandatory reading for WHO employees, and Sue Goldie recently won a MacArthur “genius” grant to continue her research in clinical decision analysis. All of them proved to be great teachers too. In addition to the faculty, access to Harvard’s resources was a deciding factor. This year, I took classes at the Kennedy School of Government; my classmates have cross-registered at the Harvard Business School, Law School, and School of Education. At the end of the day, it’s hard to pass up a chance to join the Harvard network.

What are your career plans for after graduation?
Deland Fellow in Health Care & Society at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA.

Miriam Haverkamp, MD, MPH ’06

Miriam Haverkamp, MD, MPHHometown: Kassel, Germany
Education: MD, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover
MPH Concentration: Quantitative Methods

Why did you choose above concentration?
I want to make a real difference in helping the developing world to overcome their primary public health challenges. From my own short visits and experiences of others, I had the feeling that in most countries they do know what their problems are and what is needed in terms of clinical interventions. What outsiders like myself could contribute best, I thought, includes support in building local capacity and in institutionalizing good clinical practice in my case focusing on sound evaluation and research, done in close collaboration with locals. I am happy to say now that the skills and understanding I took away from Quantitative Methods really allows me to conduct independent research with much more confidence, including the ability to work with others on evaluating their own work and to communicate effectively with them.

Why did you choose HSPH over other schools of public health?
HSPH offers an amazing variety of classes in an unbeatable time
(9 months). No other school I looked at was as well organized and as well recognized worldwide.

What are your career plans for after graduation?
Immediately following graduation, I will be moving to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where I will work at a local clinic, the Center of Hope. My responsibilities there will include teaching research methods to the local staff and researchers, and to assist them in their data analysis. I will also conduct my own clinical research on HIV and be involved in setting up a Women’s Health Clinic in the local garment district. Finally I plan on working clinically as an attending on the wards. This stay is financed by an NIH training grant through the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brown University and will initially last a year.

Patrick Ndase, MD, MPH ’06

Patrick Ndase, MD, MPH

Hometown: Iganga, Eastern Uganda
Education: MBChB, Makerere University
MPH Concentration: International Health

Why did you choose HSPH over other schools of public health?
As someone who had been working for a while prior to coming to HSPH, the fact that the school admits students with a wide ranging background eased my re-adjustment to a school environment in a way.

Why did you choose the above concentration?
As it also turns out, your fellow students tend to be your greatest resource, hence the need to harness a positive student interaction. If you are planning on working in the developing world, the MPH-IH track provides you with the best grounding for the public health leadership challenges ahead. Public health leadership is not only best learnt through practice.

What are your career plans for after graduation?
I leave the school feeling much more empowered to embrace the wider challenges of health and healthcare and certainly more optimistic that I will contribute to reducing the disparities in health between the poor and affluent wherever I will be in my career.

Priya Agrawal, MD, MPH ’06

Priya Agrawal, MD, MPHHometown: London, England, U.K.
Concentration: International Health

Why did you choose above concentration?
This concentration brings together a wealth of international experience from people who have already been working in the developing world. Students can put their newly learnt theories to the test in the classroom. It is ideal for those who have previous international experience and wish to work for or in developing countries in the future.It ensures a comprehensive overview of developing world public health.The flexibility in this concentration allowed me to explore my personal interests in more depth.I was encouraged to gain a breadth of skills and knowledge creating a strong foundation for improving health in the developing world. I had also heard that HSPH had the most exotic WinterSession opportunities!

Why did you choose HSPH over other schools of public health?
HSPH was an easy choice for me.  It provides a unique and unbeatable experience for the international scholar: a beautiful and historical setting, world-renowned lecturers, opportunity to do courses at other graduate schools (e.g. Business School) and an incredibly international student population to learn from and share experiences with. HSPH has a fantastic reputation internationally for those students that will be looking for recruitment opportunities further afield.

What are your career plans for after graduation?
The challenge over the next few years will be to continue putting my newly learnt skills into practice as I finish my OBGYN residency back in the UK.  I am currently setting up a Cervical Cancer screening program in Nigeria and am involved with teaching Essential Obstetric Skills in developing countries in an effort to reduce the depressing maternal mortality rates that abound there. I plan to do International Health research during my residency and once my residency is completed I plan to delve deeper into the world of International Health.