Executive Committee 2016

Catherine Chen – Conference Chair
Hari Athreya – Conference Vice-Chair / Fundraising Chair
Diane Nguyen, Health Care Program Manager, Rice University
Divya Bhamidipati – Logistics Chair
Sherri Bogard – Programs Chair
Colby Dendy – Programs Chair
Katherine Ackerman – Public Relations Chair
Sydnee Lucas – Abstracts Chair

Executive Committee Bios:

Catherine Chen – Conference Chair

Educational Background: I am currently a fourth year medical student at UTHSC Houston Medical School. I graduated from Rice University with a major in Chemistry and minors in Global Health Technologies, and Biochemistry and Cell Biology. Since becoming involved in Rice 360 as an undergraduate, I have been interested in contributing to and improving global health. I am pursuing a Global Health Concentration in addition to my MD degree. I am currently applying to anesthesiology for residency and am looking to involve global health initiatives in my future career.

I became involved with HGHC because: I believe it has the ability to bring about important advances in how institutions and individual organizations work together to improve the quality of health care throughout the world.

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is:  To highlight global health efforts in the Texas Medical Center and across the Gulf Coast Region, expand the reach of the conference geographically, attracting people from outside TMC, and create more opportunities for networking and new relationships across institutional boundaries.

Hari AthreyaHari Athreya – Conference Vice-Chair / Fundraising Chair

Educational Background: I am MD/MPH student at the University of Texas at Houston. I am an MS IV at the medical school and in my final year at the School of Public Health. I plan on applying into a Family Medicine Residency next year and am interested in integrating public health concepts of community and preventative health, and capacity building into my career.

I became involved with HGHC because: I have a background in global health and health disparities within the United States. He spent 4 months working with an NGO, H.E.P.E.N.S. in Cape Coast, Ghana and 6 additional months with various NGOs, non-profit agencies, and hospitals in Southeast Asia. Prior to starting medical school he worked in Americorps State and Americorps NCCC programs to provide aid to local domestic communities. In medical school, I joined the board of the global health concentration that facilitates the global health education of the medical student population. I also recently became Vice President of the Student Society of Global Health at the School of Public Health. Joining the Houston Global Health Collaborative was a natural step for me because I appreciate the value of collaboration. I believe global health by its very nature is a collaborative process. It is such a dynamic field that interdisciplinary efforts seem like the only logical solution that crosses medical, public health, political, and economic silos. I think the Global Health Collaborative is a great way to merge the shared resources of the educational institutions in the medical center and prevent duplication of efforts.

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: To help the global health collaborative by creating a bigger and more diverse conference. I hope we can reach more students of different educational backgrounds by increased advertisement and collaboration on projects and events. I also hope to include more community partners and businesses so we can better understand the role of our non-healthcare partners in contributing to global health.

Diane Nguyen – Health Care Program Manager, Rice University







Divya Bhamidipati – Logistics Chair

Educational Background: I am currently a 4th year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine, and am also on the Global Health track there. I plan on earning my Diploma in Tropical Medicine along with my MD. I hope to pursue an internal medicine residency that has a strong global health focus. I graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in Biological Sciences and a BA in Psychology.

I became involved with HGHC because: I wanted to be a part of something new and exciting in the TMC. This conference and HGHC have the potential to really change how we address global health issues, and I was really excited to be involved with that spirit of collaboration. I grew up all over the world, and have seen firsthand many of the issues we talk about regarding quality of care and access to care. HGHC and this conference are wonderful avenues through which to begin to brainstorm solutions to problems. The myriad health issues that face not just developing countries, but even those in Houston need to be addressed, and I fully believe that HGHC is a great way to bring about that needed change.

My goal for the HGHC Conference this year is: To have an amazing time and put on a conference that highlights the wonderful opportunities available in the field of Global Health. I want this conference to be a weekend that inspires and helps forge new pathways for anyone who wants to get more involved with Global health!

Logistics Committee

  • Amy Maldonado – UTSPH

Sherri Bogard – Programs Chair

Educational Background: I am currently a fourth year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine.  I attended the University of Texas at Dallas for undergrad and received a degree in Biochemistry. I plan on graduating as part of the Global Health Track at Baylor and I am presently working towards a Diploma in Tropical Medicine. I am applying for residency in internal medicine with the goal of incorporating global health into my future career.

I became involved in HGHC because: I often talk to fellow medical students about wonderful projects that they are working on and many of them involve global health. I think HGHC is a great opportunity not only for people to collaborate on a variety of projects, but also for others to learn and become more involved.

My goal for the HGHC Conference this year is: To create many opportunities for participants to collaborate and to inspire everyone at the conference to play an active role in improving health outcomes both locally and abroad.

Colby Dendy – Programs Chair

Educational Background: I am currently a fourth year medical student at UTHSC Houston pursuing a career in combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. My undergraduate years were spent at Baylor University in Waco, Texas where I received a BS in Biology (Sic ‘Em!). My global health interests began during my undergraduate career as I participated in multiple medical mission trips abroad. This passion for serving those around the world carried on into medical school where I was able to join the school’s Global Health Concentration, and recently completed a concentration capstone project in Malawi, Africa. My love of community and global health, advocacy, and teaching also led me to pursue my MPH degree, which I completed concurrently with my MD, and graduated from the UT School of Public Health in May 2015.

I became involved with HGHC because: I believe it is an amazing collaboration that promotes global health both within the Texas Medical Center and beyond. The HGHC conference each year brings together students, educators, institutions, and other individuals and organizations, allowing them to work together to advance healthcare worldwide, and empowering them to make a difference. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?! 🙂

My goal for the HGHC Conference this year is: To empower people to be the change they wish to see in the world. I hope the conference adds to the global health knowledge and skills of all attendees, and sparks new ideas, research, discussions, and collaborations between organizations. I also hope the conference serves as a bridge between the many institutions within the TMC, and allows people from across Houston (and beyond!) to network and chat with those who may have similar interests.

Programs Committee

  • Krutina Patel Garcia – UH Pharmacy

Katherine Ackerman – Public Relations Chair

Educational Background: I am a second year MPH student in Community Health Practice at University of Texas School of Public Health.  I graduated from University of Maryland with a degree in public health in 2009 and served in the Peace Corps from 2011 ‐ 2013 as a Community Health Advisor in Malawi where my primary focus was to create sustainable programs in HIV/AIDS prevention, hygiene and sanitation and women’s health.  I am currently working on a photovoice project with orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya.

I became involved with HGHC because: I believe it provides a great opportunity for collaboration among students, researchers, medical professionals and organization leaders to make a lasting impact.

My goal for HGHC Conference this year: To highlight the many opportunities for change and sustainable development in Houston and abroad.

And to find Bono.

Sydnee Lucas – Abstracts Chair

Educational Background: I recently graduated with my Doctor of Nursing Practice from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where I also completed my Master of Science in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner in December 2013.

I became involved with HGHC because: I have been passionate about global health since my first international experience over five years ago. It remained a driving force behind my academic and professional pursuits, and I hope it continues to develop as I grow into my career. This is my third year involved with HGHC. Its ability to integrate the ideas generated by our medical center; its employees, students, researchers, educators, and resources is an incredible one to witness. Its growth has fostered relationships and created opportunities to all who share a similar interest in serving the greater community: on a local, national and international level.

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: To share new ideas, innovations, partnerships, research, and clinical skills. And for our attendees to gain insight into the amazing work being done by peers and mentors as well as forming connections that help build their own careers and aspirations.

Abstracts Committee

  • Denise Batuuka – UTMB
  • Ann Hause – BCM