12th Annual Houston Global Health Conference 2024
Executive Committee 2024
Conference Co-Chairs: Abbas Karim & Lorena Macias-Navarro
Program Chairs: Allen Kuncheria & Chidera Emeto
Workshops Chair: Bry Reinhardt
Abstracts Chair: Angel Ogbeide
Logistics Co-Chairs: Sidra Beg & Saanie Zahra Naqvi
Public Relations Chair: Zarna Lalwani
Technology Chair: Inara Momin
HGHC Executive Committee Bios
Abbas Karim completed his Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology at the University of Houston in 2022 and is currently a second year medical student at the UTMB John Sealy School of Medicine in Galveston, TX, pursuing his M.D., with a Scholarly Concentration in Global Health. His specific career and research interests include global surgery, surgical capacity-building, plastic & reconstructive surgery, global health diplomacy, and the provision of emergency/trauma surgical care in post-conflict and post-disaster regions.
Previously, Abbas has worked with Harris County Public Health as a member of the Medical Reserve Corps throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, led global health-focused student organizations, served at free clinics for migrant and underserved populations, and conducted both clinical and global health research.
He is greatly excited to apply the skills and knowledge he has gained thus far toward creating an enriching, engaging HGHC 2024 Conference that furthers global health education, research, and service.
Lorena Macias-Navarro is a second year doctoral student at the UTHealth Houston School of Public Health. Her research interests focus on finding science-based solutions to address nutrition-related diseases with a focus on the intersection between food, policy, and health.
Prior to joining UTHealth, Lorena was appointed by former Mexican President, Mr. Enrique Peña Nieto, as Executive Secretary of the Science Advisory Council. During her tenure as a science diplomat, she acted as a liaison between the scientific community in Mexico and the Office of Science, Technology, and Innovation of the President.
Lorena is a Food Engineer from Universidad Iberoamericana and holds a Master’s degree in Food Policy from Tufts University. She has also been a visiting scientist at the Nutrition Department at the University of Arizona, the Nutrition for Health and Development Department at the World Health Organization, and the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University.
Allen grew up in Chicago and attended Rice University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Cell Biology/Genetics under the BA/MD program in conjunction with Baylor College of Medicine. Currently, he is a second-year medical student at Baylor with a career aspiration to become a global surgeon, driven by a profound dedication to addressing critical health disparities worldwide.
His journey towards rectifying healthcare disparities began as a manager at the HOMES Clinic, the only student-run medical clinic in Houston. At the clinic, Allen passionately worked to offer comprehensive healthcare services to a diverse patient demographic facing housing instability. This experience catalyzed his resolve to continue to bridge healthcare gaps within the local community as well as globally.
He is eager to collaborate with fellow conference committee members to create a dynamic platform for the advancement of global health education, research, and service.
Chidera Emeto is a dynamic professional with over four years of global work experience working with vulnerable populations. Currently pursuing a DrPH in Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, she also holds a Master of Arts in Community Psychology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Religion and Cultural Studies from the University of Nigeria. Dera’s research interests include global health, mental health, maternal health, program development and evaluation, and implementation science. She is passionate about community well-being and has collaborated with various organizations on projects. She serves as the President of the Public Health Students of African Descent association on her campus and is keen on building a sense of community amongst graduate students. She has experience planning and coordinating programs and events and is excited to join the executive team this year.
Bry Reinhardt is a 3rd year MD/MPH student at LSUHS in New Orleans. Concurrently, she is the VP of Customer Success and founding team member of the tech company, Popl. She built and manages the customer service department and helps coordinate in-person events, including a networking workshop she led at HGHC 2023. Bry is interested in pursuing gene and cell therapy research as a future physician, as well as working to make these therapies accessible to patients in need. She currently serves as a sub-investigator for a Phase I CAR T-cell clinical trial she helped develop at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
Dr. Angel Ogbeide is a dentist with substantial experience working with marginalized patient populations in various health settings. Her research interests include quality improvement and post-operative pain management. She received her training at Creighton University School of Dentistry in Omaha, NE and completed her Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery internship at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, OH. She also completed the UT-Southwestern Medical Center House staff Emerging Academy of Leaders Certificate Program. She is a strong champion of the oral healthcare provider’s role in the integrated care model and hopes to continue to bridge the gap of collaboration among the medical and dental fields in the future.
Sidra Beg, MSc, is a PhD Student at UTHealth Houston in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science. She is also a Research Coordinator at UTHealth Institute for Implementation Science. Sidra completed a masters in Health Psychology from University College London and shortly after that worked as a researcher for London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her research interests include behavioral interventions to manage multimorbidities, cultural adaptation of evidence-based interventions, global health, and research measures.
Saanie Zahra Naqvi
Saanie Zahra Naqvi is an M.D. candidate at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, with special interests in the fields of psychiatry, internal medicine, and dermatology. She earned a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in neuroscience from the University of Toledo with honors in May of 2022. Saanie has completed research in the field of neuroscience, and submitted her thesis which sought insight into the neural circuitry linking sensory inputs and behavior in worms to address neuropsychiatric disease in humans. Saanie is currently working on research regarding global health and historical medicine.
Over the past year, Saanie worked with the Halim Clinic as their Administrative Director, a local free healthcare clinic in Toledo, Ohio. She dedicates her time towards local healthcare initiatives as well as diversity and inclusion programs. She looks forward to applying her skills towards the HGHC 2024.
Zarna Lalwani is a former dentist from India, currently pursuing her Master of Public Health degree with a major in Epidemiology. She has a vast interest in congenital orofacial anomalies, which led her to work as a graduate research assistant in a craniofacial research center for a year.
Zarna’s passion for global health stems from a diverse background that includes fieldwork in rural health clinics, public health research, and collaborative projects with Indian NGOs. Her global health interests span infectious disease control, healthcare infrastructure development, and humanitarian response.
Inara is an undergraduate student at the University of Houston, majoring in biotechnology and is pursuing a career in bioinformatics. She wishes to pursue a career as a scientist and is currently a research assistant at Chitrala Lab with a focus of research in Frontal Temporal Disorders, Breast cancer, COVID-19 with factors of race and comorbidities. Check out her recent publication titled “Analysis of Potential Biomarkers in Frontal Temporal Dementia: A Bioinformatics Approach” https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/24/19/14910