Executive Committee 2014

Executive Committee 2014

Rachel Davis – Conference Chair
David Philpott – Conference Vice-Chair
Alaina Brinley – Fundraising Chair, Gulf Coast
Becky Geck – Fundraising Chair, TMC
Cathy Chen – Logistics Chair
Jamie Chu – Public Relations Chair
Jen Rodriguez – Public Relations Vice-Chair
Daniele Swetnam – Abstract Chair
Jennifer McKinney – Technology Chair

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Executive Committee Bios:

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Rachel-DavisRachel Davis – Conference Chair

Educational background: I am a 4th year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine, currently applying for residency in general surgery. I graduated from Texas A&M University with a BA in History, BS in Psychology, and Neuroscience minor.

I became involved with HGHC because: I am passionate about international health and global surgery. I feel that HGHC has the potential to make incredible advances in this area by bringing together people with a large variety of backgrounds and experiences. We should be collaborating to build on the work of others rather than duplicating effort, and HGHC does this in an efficient and powerful way.

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: to help make the Texas Medical Center even more of a magnet for innovation, cooperation, education, and research in global health. I hope that by bringing many people together, we can streamline our efforts toward more impactful medical care.

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David PhilpottDavid Philpott – Conference Vice-Chair

Educational background: I am a second year Master’s student at The University of Texas School of Public Health and am majoring in Epidemiology and Global Health, with a specific interest in tropical infectious diseases.  My master’s thesis focuses on the long term effects of West Nile Virus infection. And I am working part time at Living Water International to improve monitoring and evaluation systems for programs in Africa, India and Latin America.

I became involved with HGHC because: I wanted to be a part of something that could make a lasting difference in the TMC.  I was excited about being part of a new organization that had such potential for growth and impact in the long term.  Last year’s conference was a fantastic beginning, but I’m excited to see what is coming in the future.

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, to diversify the types of content available at the conference by adding workshops and panels, expand the reach of the conference geographically, attracting people from outside TMC, increase attendance from last year’s 200 up to 400 participants, and finally create more opportunities for networking and new relationships across institutional boundaries.

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Alaina-Brinley1Alaina Brinley – Fundraising Chair, Gulf Coast

Educational Background: The University of Texas Medical Branch, MS2. I am planning to pursue a residency in emergency medicine or internal medicine/infectious disease. Ideally, I would to have a career involving both practice of medicine and research.

I became involved with HGHC because: I have had a long time interest in global health beginning when I lived in Nairobi, Kenya as an undergraduate. I have since studied abroad in Botucatu, Brasil and worked with several global health groups including UTMB SIGHT and the Johnson Space Center chapter of Engineers without Borders. I find the issues surrounding global health fascinating because, while humans have fundamentally similar physiology, the health problems associated with different regions and environmental conditions are widely variable. Finding solutions to these problems, particularly those that have similarities between populations, is what drives my continued interest in global health.

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: I hope to be able to help increase the interaction between various entities interested in global health including academic, government, non-profit, and industry organizations. Increased interaction will hopefully lead to greater awareness and, therefore, involvement of Houston-area entities in the global health sector.

Student Fundraising Committee

  • Sophie Fuller: School of Orthopedic Research and Education
  • Conor Holton-Burke: Baylor College of Medicine
  • Mirae Kim: UT School of Nursing
  • Alina Mohanty: Debakey High School
  • Katherine Verity: UT Medical School
  • Savannah Wiley: UT School of Nursing

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Becky-GeckBecky Geck – Fundraising Chair, TMC

Educational Background: I’m in my second year of three in the UTHSC dual masters degree-MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner/MPH-Community Health Practice with a concentration in global health.

I became involved with HGHC because: To help increase the awareness in the TMC and around our city that global health is Houston health. I became very interested in improving the health of people in low and middle income countries through international travels, but as I began my nursing career in the TMC I realized people here in Houston face similar issues. The more I have seen and the further I get into my Public Health degree, the more I have realized that with increased globalization, there is no such thing as “US health” and “outside the US health”. They are one in the same.

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: Last year’s conference went really well and generated great interest among the TMC educational institutions. This year I hope to reach more of the hospitals and and other healthcare institutions. We know there are many healthcare professionals in the TMC who do work around the globe, and we are hoping to find everyone and bring them together. Knowing what is happening throughout the entire TMC will be an invaluable resource now and in the future. Final word: Everyone involved in HGHC is excited about the potential here in Houston. We are the most diverse city in the United States and have one of the biggest and best medical centers in the world. There is no reason Houston should not be the leader in Global Health.

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Cathy-ChenCathy Chen – Logistics Chair

Educational Background: I am currently a second year medical student at UTHSC Houston Medical School. I graduated from Rice University in 2011 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 currently the Local Initiatives Director of SIGHT (Students Improving Global Health in Texas) at the medical school, and am pursuing a Global Health Concentration.

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.

Student Logistics Committee

  • Sika Lawson: UT School of Public Health
  • Jessica Bauldry: UT School of Public Health
  • Amy O’Neill: UT Medical School
  • Avani Raythatha: Baylor College of Medicine
  • Humsini Viswanath: UT School of Public Health/ Baylor College of Medicine
  • Stephanie Wedgeworth: UT School of Nursing

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Jamie ChuJamie Chu – Public Relations Chair

Educational Background: University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Class of 2014, currently applying to pediatrics residency programs

I became involved with HGHC because: Global Health is such an important and emerging field, and I am familiar with many of the relevant initiatives taking place within my institution. However, what is happening across the rest of the TMC within this field is unknown to me, and I feel students and faculty at other institutions likely share the same sense of unawareness. This conference is a wonderful way to bring people who are similarly invested in this field together!

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: To spread the word and generate enthusiasm for this great conference across the TMC and Gulf Coast institutions to anyone who is interested in Global Health!

Student Public Relations Committee

  • Srividya Bhadriraju, MD: Baylor College of Medicine
  • Erica East: UT School of Nursing
  • Faeeza Faruq: UT School of Public Health
  • Tahani Hamdan: UT School of Public Health
  • Rojelio Mejia, MD: Baylor College of Medicine
  • Yue Xu: UT School of Public Health

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Jen-RodriguezJen Rodriguez – Public Relations Vice-Chair

Educational Background: I am originally from Honduras and I think my interests in global health started there. I earned my undergraduate degree at UT Austin and am currently a 3rd year medical student at BCM. I am in the global health track at BCM and planning to earn a diploma in tropical medicine concurrently with my MD. I am interested in medicine or pediatrics for residency and looking to involve global health initiatives and research in my future career.

I became involved with HGHC because: I think the TMC offers a variety of opportunities in these areas and I want to be involved in the promotion of global health efforts within our medical center.

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DanieleDaniele Swetnam – Abstract Chair

Educational background: I am a second year student pursuing a Ph.D in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch. I am interested in emerging infectious diseases and zoonosis. The primary focus of my dissertation research is the evolution and molecular epidemiology of West Nile Virus.

I became involved with HGHC because: Global health is one of my passions.

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: to foster interdisciplinary partnership in the greater Houston area.

Student Abstract Committee

  • Buchi Akpe: UT School of Public Health
  • Wafa Duhaim: UT School of Public Health
  • Thanh Hoang: UT School of Public Health
  • Sydnee Lucas: UT School of Nursing
  • Michael Morlaes: UT School of Nursing
  • Fahim Pyarali: UTMB Medical School
  • Shannon Ronca: UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

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Jennifer-McKinneyJennifer McKinney – Technology Chair

Educational Background: I am currently a fourth year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine and am also completing my MPH at UTSPH in Health Promotions and Behavioral Sciences. I am applying for Obstetrics and Gynecology residency programs right now, and look forward to a career incorporating medicine and public health.

I became involved with HGHC because: I was fortunate enough to have multiple international experiences during medical school, and I started to realize that I kept running into the same group of like-minded people. I also realized that these people all worked fairly independently, and that there was not a lot of cross-talk between institutions. When I heard about the HGHC, I was so excited at the possibilities that would exist if all this collective brainpower and their collective resources had the opportunity to get together!

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: The conference is a great way to get people together and discuss ideas. The talks are always wonderful and very interesting, but I think even more important will be the networking opportunities this year. I have experienced it myself multiple times: the power of a single conversation with the right person/s!

Student Technology Committee

  • Jina D’Cruz