Executive Committee 2023

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Saswati Upadhyay – Conference Co-Chair

Saswati is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Environmental Health Department at UTHealth. She has an MPH degree from Emory University and an MBBS degree from India. She has always been interested in global health and hopes to pursue it at the intersection of her research with climate change and its impacts on an international health level. With her involvement in HGHC, she hopes to bring together like-minded individuals to discuss and work alongside each other in an interprofessional setting to make a more significant global impact with their work.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Yajur Maker- Conference Co-Chair

Yajur Maker is an M.D./Ph.D. student from Houston, TX, currently in his 3rd year as a Bioengineering Graduate Student at Rice University. With a strong commitment to Global Health, he has helped to develop and translate affordable designs for several low-cost medical devices, including an HIV Viral Load Monitoring System through his startup Worldcare Technologies, and more recently through his Ph.D. work, a Multimodal Colposcope for Cervical Cancer Diagnosis. He serves as a Board Member and Co-Chair Conference Committee for the Houston Global Health Collaborative.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Valerie Lomonte – Program Chair


Valerie is a 2nd year MPH student at UTHealth School of Public Health. She is studying in the Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences Department and is also completing a certificate in Health Disparities. 


As a member of HGHC, she hopes to improve and advance global health by collaborating with a diverse group of leaders in the field.


[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Alejandra Garcia Quintana – Workshop Chair

Alejandra is an international student coming from Venezuela. She is a 2nd year MPH student in the Dept. of Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences, UTHealth SPH (UTHSPH). Her background is as a Dental Professional, graduating from Universidad Central de Venezuela. 

Her main areas of research are Maternal and Child Health during the first 1000 days of life, health promotion program design and implementation within healthcare settings (especially in the dental public health system), chronic and non-communicable diseases prevention, mHealth as a tool for Health promotion and microbiome-epigenome-behaviors interaction with the health/disease process and Global Oral Health. She is currently working on one Global Oral  Health Project to implement a health campaign in an indigenous community in Venezuela.

She is a current GRA working in the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, is part of the executive committees of the IADR Venezuela Division (Vice president 2022-2025) and Behavioral, Epidemiological and Health Services Research Group of the IADR (Councillor 2022-2025).

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Anusha Sajja – Workshop Chair

Anusha is a 2nd year MPH student in the Dept. of Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences, UTHealth SPH (UTHSPH). Due to her curiosity and passion for global health, she enrolled in the Global Health Graduate Certificate at the UTHSPH. She obtained her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree from Karnataka, India, intending to serve socially disadvantaged populations, especially in urban and rural regions of Southern India with a high demand for physicians. 

As a member of HGHC, she hopes to enhance her interpersonal and communication skills by working with individuals coming from diversified educational and cultural backgrounds. She believes that public health specialists across the globe can collectively address health disparities and solve ongoing public health problems affecting underserved populations. She believes this opportunity would allow her to contribute by working with a highly-motivated team to increase awareness and participation in the upcoming Global Health conferences.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Farnaz Karimighovanloo – Abstract Chair


Farnaz is an M.D. candidate at the University of Houston College of Medicine class of 2025. She obtained a B.S. in Nuclear engineering from Tehran Polytechnique. After that, she completed a B.S. in Biology at Baylor University.

She hopes to become an advocate and make healthcare services accessible to underserved communities worldwide.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Kennedi Wilson – Abstract Chair


Kennedi Wilson is an M.D. Candidate at the University of Houston College of Medicine Class of 2024. She obtained a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in nano-biotechnology and biomedical imaging from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Kennedi then completed a Master’s in Public Health in Management, Policy, and Community Health Practice at The University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health where she was a Net Impact Fellow in Impact Investing. Ms. Wilson now attends the University of Houston College of Medicine, as an MS3 student in the inaugural class. Kennedi has remained engaged with various communities as she strives to address health equity and global health disparities. Since beginning medical school Kennedi has started the community service organization VOICES, is the Diversity and Inclusion Student Representative, acts as a peer tutor in her medical education program, worked on the Vaccines and US: Cultural Organizations for Community Health project, is a student representative for the Harris County Medical Society and has participated in numerous health equity projects. Her passions are to one day provide medical care to vulnerable populations and continue to address health equity. In Kennedi’s free time, she loves to spend time with her family, kayak, bike, and work on housing renovations.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

 Fatima Zohra Makkia – Public Relations Chair

Fatima is a first-year Ph.D. student in epidemiology at the UTHealth at Houston School Of Public Health. She completed her MBBS and MPH in her home country Bangladesh. After that, she worked as a government physician in the rural healthcare system. She closely observed the disparity and inequity of health care services to people who needed the most. It helped her make the decision to go back to academia again to learn and develop herself to help reduce the discrepancy in health service.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Suha Soni – Public Relations Chair

Suha is a first-year MPH student at the UTHSPH and a  physician working in a translational research lab trying to make mosquitoes immune to malaria. A passionate humanitarian and community-driven individual who has worked at the ground level with different socio-economic strata to ensure last-mile healthcare delivery.

She wishes to bring developing nations to par with developed nations regarding healthcare practices. Marred with social evils, she strives to be a social justice proponent and seek healthcare free of gender, economic, and caste-based disparities.

She wishes to be a physician-scientist, set up her laboratory, and work with Infectious Diseases.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Srushti Ganesh Bhalerao – Logistics Chair

Srusti is a 1st year MPH student majoring in Epidemiology at UTHealth School of Public Health. She has a BDS degree from India. She has always been interested in Global Health. Also, she wishes to pursue a Global Health Certification along with her MPH and wants to pursue it with international health disparities and inequalities at focus.

As part of the HGHC, she wishes to collaborate with like-minded individuals from a public health viewpoint on a single platform to propagate global health ideas and initiatives.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

Fathimath Shamna – Logistics Chair

 Fathimath is a first MPH in Epidemiology student at the UTHealth School of Public Health. She has  her undergraduate degree in dentistry from India. Her research interest lies primarily in oral health and understanding the detrimental effect of tobacco on oral health, neonatal health, and cancer epidemiology.

With her degree, she hopes to bridge the gap between dental research and global health and get oral health recognized as a population health priority worldwide.