Podcast Series: Why Public Health?



Kimberly Chang, MPH ’15

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Kim worked with refugee communities at a health center in Oakland, California, some of them teenage girls involved in sexual trafficking. The experience led her to Harvard Chan to study health policy so that she gains the skills, networks, and leadership ability to move beyond just treating individual patients’ symptoms toward improving their circumstances overall.


Charles Upton, MPH ’15


Charles Upton’s interest in injury prevention led him to Harvard Chan, where he has worked closely with his academic advisor David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Upton, who will receive his MPH in May, looks forward to having a network of classmates and other Harvard connections nearby wherever his career takes him.


Selasi Dankwa, PhD ’15

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Selasi took an early interest in infectious diseases like malaria and cholera, a part of everyday life in her home country of Ghana. At Harvard Chan School, she studies the parasites that cause malaria infection. Now she envisions taking her skills and knowledge and returning to Ghana to “make a difference.”


Margee Louisias, MD, MPH ’16

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After spending time in Cameroon, Margee came to the realization that asthma “is truly a global disease.” As a Harvard Chan student, she is working on a pilot project to improve communication between school nurses and asthma care specialists in order to reduce the prevalence of the disease among inner-city school children in Boston.


Jeremiah Zhe Liu, SM ’15


Jeremiah wants to develop more precise information on the impact of air pollution on people’s health and hopes to use that knowledge to form evidence-based recommendations for policymakers.



Tari Owi, SM ’14

With an interest in cost efficiency, cost containment, and performance improvement, Tari Owi, SM ’14, hopes to create systems that reduce the administrative burdens physicians often face, thereby allowing them to focus their time and energy on delivering quality care.


Jennifer Atlas, SM ’14

After working to establish a community health center in an underserved area of North Philadelphia, Jennifer Atlas, SM ’14, came to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to study health policy and management. Upon graduation, she accepted a job doing strategy and business development work at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C.


Anthony Covarrubias, PhD ’15

Anthony Covarrubias, a doctoral student in the Biological Sciences in Public Health program, talks about growing up without health insurance, and his new determination to understand and make an impact on obesity from a molecular level.


María Portela Martínez, MD, MPH ’14

María Portela Martínez

María, a Mongan Commonwealth Minority Health Policy Fellow, hopes to combine her background as a primary care physician with her degree in health policy to improve access and quality of care to vulnerable populations, specifically undocumented immigrants.


Darrell Gray, II, MD, MPH ’14

Darrell Gray, II

Darrell is determined to reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer in vulnerable populations and is also working on a project with the U.S. Department of Defense on how to expand its telehealth services worldwide.

Read the Harvard Gazette profile on Darrell Gray, II: House calls, without visits



Natalie Meyers, SM ’13

Natalie Meyers, why public health

After spending time working in refugee camps in Uganda, Natalie spent her time at HSPH focusing on health policy in developing countries. (Meyers is currently working on starting a global health consulting firm and, after being awarded a Presidential Management Fellowship, is awaiting placement with a government agency.)


Jemila Kester, doctoral student

Jemila Kester, a doctoral student in the Biological Sciences in Public Health program who studies tuberculosis, wanted to combine her passion for science, desire for creativity, and need to help people.


Tzipi Strauss, MD, SM ’13

Tzipi Strauss is a pediatrician who wanted to gain skills to help her in a new management role at a children’s hospital in Israel.


John Jackson, SD ’13

John Jackson, Horace W. Goldsmith Fellow (generously supported by Richard and Ronay Menschel), studies links between drug safety and mental health.



Mary Mwanyika Sando, MD, MPH ’13

Mary works in maternal and child health in Tanzania and hopes that one day, being pregnant in a developing country is not a risk but a “celebration of good health outcomes for both the woman and her child.”


Priya Agrawal, MPH ’06

Here, Priya Agrawal, executive director of Merck for Mothers, talks about her role in helping to establish the School’s Women and Health Initiative: hsph.harvard.edu/women-and-health-initiative/