Executive Committee 2015

Executive Committee 2015

Jen Rodriguez – Conference Chair
Catherine Chen – Conference Chair
Kyle Carpenter – Logistics Chair
Divya Bhamidipati – Logistics Chair
Humsini Viswanath – Programs Chair
Shruti Sakhuja – Programs Chair
Tram Tran – Fundraising Chair
Ishan Kamat – Fundraising Chair
Tahani Hamdan – Public Relations Chair
Sydnee Lucas – Abstracts Chair

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Executive Committee Bios:

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Jen Rodriguez – Conference 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 4th 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 currently applying to internal medicine 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.

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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Catherine Chen – Conference Chair

Educational Background: I am currently a third 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 was Local Initiatives Director of SIGHT (Students Improving Global Health in Texas) at the medical school, and am pursuing a Global Health Concentration in addition to my MD degree.

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.

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Kyle Carpenter – Logistics Chair

Educational Background: I am originally from Georgia and attended The University of Georgia for my undergraduate education. I am currently a 4th year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine. I am enrolled in the global health and ethics tracks at BCM and am interested in the ethics of humanitarian surgical efforts. I also am currently enrolled in a Diploma of Tropical Medicine course at BCM. I am applying to residency in general surgery and hope to pursue a career in global pediatric surgery, helping to develop sustainable surgical training programs in the developing world.

I became involved with HGHC because: I think it is a great opportunity to promote the global health efforts being undertaken in the TMC and to get students and professionals motivated to do more work in this important area of medicine. I look forward to working with others who are passionate about global medicine. It is an honor to work with the extremely motivated organizers of this conference.

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: I think it will help to bring together people who are share similar passions and interests, including helping patients regardless of where they might be found on a map. I believe this conference will help foster collaboration among those wanting to help solve the problems facing the delivery of healthcare around the world. I hope it will bring attention to the great work already being done in the Texas Medical Center and inspire others to get involved.

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Divya Bhamidipati – Logistics Chair

Educational Background: I am currently a 3rd 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 haven’t chosen my specialty yet, but I hope to pursue a 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

  • Abdullah Shaikh – BCM
  • Sherri Bogard -BCM

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Humsini Viswanath – Programs Chair

Educational background: I am a recent Masters in Public Health graduate from University of Texas, Houston School of Public Health in Epidemiology and concentration in Global Health. I am currently working at Baylor College of Medicine as a Research Coordinator for a lab studying addiction and psychiatric illnesses.

I became involved with HGHC because: I believe it is a great way to open up avenues for collaboration between academics, researchers, students, physicians, and non-profits within the TMC and Texas to promote global health research and education and improve quality of health care locally and abroad.

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is:​ To promote research and work being done by individuals all over Texas, bring more diverse topics to the conference, expand interest to individuals from all over Texas and/or US, and most importantly, create opportunities for participants to collaborate and learn from each other.

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Shruti Sakhuja – Programs Chair

Educational Background: I am currently a second year medical student at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. I graduated from Houston Baptist University in 2012 with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I hope to pursue a career incorporating both pediatrics and global health in the near future.

I became involved with HGHC because: I believe that the institutions in the TMC have such tremendous potential to collaborate and truly make a lasting impact in the world. My involvement with HGHC stems from my desire to be a part of that collaborative process. I first became interested in global health when I volunteered with a charity group in India a few years back. Since then I have been actively involved with SIGHT (Students Improving Global Health in Texas) at UTH, and even had the chance to volunteer in Panama this past spring break. Both of my international experiences were life-changing, and I’m excited to see the possibilities that can exist if people throughout the TMC who share the same passion as me work together!

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: To build an even larger network of students, physicians, and professionals who desire to unite for the common purpose of improving healthcare across the world.

Programs Committee

  • Sumita Ghosh
  • Gabriela Austgen, BCM
  • Jane Doan, UTMB
  • Elyssa Berg, UTSPH

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Tram Tran – Fundraising Chair

Educational Background: University of Houston College of Pharmacy, P3. I am planning to pursue a residency in Ambulatory Care.

I became involved with HGHC because: I have had a long time interest in global health, beginning when I lived in Vietnam, where I was born and raised. During that time, I witnessed many health issues that the underprivileged population has had to face every day. My hope is to contribute my knowledge and effort to raise awareness of global health issues.

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: I hope to be able to help increase the interaction between students and physicians to lead to greater awareness and, therefore, boost more interest in global health among the conference attendees.


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Ishan Kamat – Fundraising Chair

Educational background:  Currently, I am a second year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine. I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Biochemistry in 2013. I aspire to build a career that involves cardiology and global health.

I became involved with HGHC because: My interest in global health had been planted by experiences abroad in countries in Eastern Europe and India. In medical school, I have been exposed to experts’ efforts in global health. I have seen what kind of effort it takes to progress to solutions to many global health problems. Becoming part of the HGHC has given me the chance to learn more about the global health field. The rest of the executive committee has taught me so much; I anticipate a fantastic experience at the Global Health Impact Conference.

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: Houston is a global cultural hub, having been rated the most diverse city in America. I think we can take steps to make the Texas Medical Center in Houston the center of progress in global health.


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Tahani Hamdan – Public Relations Chair

Educational Background: I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Texas A&M University in 2011. I am currently a Master of Public Health candidate with a focus in Epidemiology and a concentration in Global Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health in Houston, Texas. I have a particular interest in working in chronic diseases of minority populations as well as policy changes to minimize health disparities.

I became involved with HGHC because: As a first-generation American, I have always been fascinated by global health and international populations. I became involved with HGHC as a result of an ever-growing passion to assist global populations. A lifetime spent traveling the world has opened my mind and my heart to health disparities both globally and locally. I have completed pilot studies on disabled women in Palestine, completed sustainable public health projects in Nicaragua as well as educated children on sanitation, and also conducted health assessments along the Texas-Mexico border.  My lifetime of community service projects has led me to the desire to want to do more for Houston.

My goal for HGHC Conference this year: To increase awareness of global health issues in Houston. Global is local. What happens in one country never truly stays in that one country, but instead impacts the entire world. I would like to increase this mindset through the hearts and minds of Houstonians throughout the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical center, and ultimately beyond. I want this conference to inspire and impact society with the urge to change the world one brick, one innovation, one vaccination, and one more life saved at a time.

Public Relations Committee

  • Jessica Winston – UTMB
  • Nizar Bhulani – UTSPH
  • Eboni Stafford – UTSPH
  • Lani Alcazar – UTSPH
  • Sevith Rao – BCM

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Sydnee Lucas – Abstracts Chair

Educational Background: I’m in the final year of an accelerated Family Nurse Practitioner to Doctor of Nursing Practice program at UTHSC-SON.

I became involved with HGHC because: I love global health. It has been a passion of mine since my first international experience nearly five years ago, and a driving force behind my academic and professional pursuits. The global health collaborative, and this conference, can support and integrate the ideas generated by our medical center, its employees, students, researchers, educators, and resources.

My goal for the HGHC conference this year is: To share new ideas, innovations, partnerships, research, and clinical skills being implemented in the global health community with those in and around the Texas Medical Center. Through this conference I hope we can learn about and improve upon opportunities to positively impact the lives of others, on both an international and domestic level.

Abstracts Committee

  • Stella Namuwonge – UTSON
  • Sydney Thompson – UTSON
  • Laraib Safeer – BCM


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