[separator top=”20″ style=”double”]
Health Policy + Refugee/Immigrant Health Speakers
[separator top=”20″ style=”double”]
Padma Swamy, MD, MPH
Baylor College of Medicine
Dr. Swamy attended medical school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, TX and completed her pediatric residency at Baylor College of Medicine. As a Global Child Health resident, she worked at the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative in eSwatini for one year. Following completion of residency she graduated from Academic General Pediatrics fellowship with a global health focus at Baylor College of Medicine. Since then Dr. Swamy has been working as a pediatrician on the Texas Children’s Mobile Clinic Program. Her clinical interests include providing care for underresourced populations, and her research interests include immigrant health, social needs screening, and medical education.
Mary Dahdouh, JD
International Refugee Assistance Project
Mary Dahdouh is a Staff Attorney with the International Refugee Assistance Project, a non-governmental organization that employs direct legal aid, litigation, and systemic advocacy to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. In this role, Mary provides direct legal representation to clients seeking resettlement to and immigration relief in the United States through a number of U.S.-based and international immigration processes. As an immigrants’ rights advocate, Mary’s work is deeply impacted by global health issues ranging from access to healthcare for displaced communities, global pandemics and the movement of people, health-related grounds of inadmissibility for entrance into the U.S., and climate change. Prior to joining IRAP, Mary received her Juris Doctor from the University of California – Berkeley School of Law, where she focused on international human rights and refugee law. During law school, Mary worked on a global advocacy movement for gender parity in international courts and tribunals with the Berkeley Law International Human Rights Law Clinic and was a contributing writer for IntLawGrrls, an online platform that gives voice to women scholars, lawyers, and leaders on issues related to international law. She also worked with the Middle East & North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, the Center for Justice & Accountability, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California. In addition to her J.D., Mary holds a B.A. in journalism, English literature, and political philosophy from the University of Houston. She is a member of the New York bar.
Aisha Siddiqui, DrPH
Culture of Health-Advancing Together (CHAT)
Dr. Aisha Siddiqui, Dr.PH, is a graduate of University of Texas, School of Public Health (UTSPH). She earned her doctorate in Management, Policy, and Community Health. She moved to Houston with her husband and two little children, in 1989. As an immigrant woman, she faced many challenges. From navigating the streets of a new city to finding a job, adjusting to an unfamiliar country was an uphill climb. This land of opportunity was incredible, yet daunting. She encountered caring people who were willing to help her adjust to a new life and knew that she, in turn, had to give back and help those who were not as fortunate. Dr. Siddiqui re-started her education in 1999 with a Masters in Public Health, while working as a research assistant at the University of Texas – Dental Branch. After graduating, she started working as an Epidemiologist at the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. Siddiqui was always passionate about education and health promotion in under-served communities. Her work at the Health Department involved working with the underprivileged population of Houston, which strengthened her determination to serve the disadvantaged. When she was at UT’s School of Public Health, Siddiqui wanted to incorporate her background with her interests in public health. While working on her doctoral degree, she sought out South Asian women to better understand the challenges they faced in staying healthy. Documenting their stories allowed her to complete her studies, but she knew she couldn’t stop there. In 2015, Dr. Siddiqui founded Culture of Health-Advancing Together (CHAT), a non-profit organization, with a mission to foster the health and well-being of immigrant and refugee communities through the education, arts, advocacy and access to care. Her vision is to build a healthy community that is self-sufficient and meets the everyday challenges of living in a diverse society. In her free time Dr. Siddiqui loves to spend time with her family and friends. She is an avid traveler and loves to explore diverse cultures and cuisines.
Michelle Belco, JD, PhD
University of Houston
Dr. Belco is an instructor in political science in the Honors College. She entered teaching several years ago after taking a circuitous path through art, engineering, law, and finally, political science. She teaches courses on the United States and Texas Constitutions, American Political Institutions. Health Policy and Administration, Immigration Policy in the United States, and The Politics of Energy and the Environment. She is a mentor and thesis advisor for Honors students in the field of health, disabilities, and immigration. She volunteered for several years as a judge for Mock Trial and Moot Court competitions for her former law school. Her research focuses on the presidents and their use of administrative policy and how agencies carry out the presidents’ orders. She has authored and coauthored articles on the presidency that have been published in academic journals, encyclopedias, book chapters, and a 2017 book entitled, The Dual Executive: Unilateral Power in a Separated and Shared System.
Eric Jones, PhD
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Dr. Jones is an assistant professor of social epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. He conducts research mainly on human behavior related to extreme events (like disasters, warfare and migration), including a focus on the role of relationships in post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and functioning in those settings. He is co-editor of the books The Political Economy of Hazards and Disasters (2009), and Social Network Analysis in Disaster Response, Recovery and Adaption (2016). His research has taken place mostly in Ecuador, Mexico and the United States. He teaches graduate courses on social networks and health, qualitative research, epidemiology of mental health, as well as the Masters in Public Health capstone course.