Global Health Equity Scholars Fellowship Program

The Global Health Equity Scholars (GHES) Program is part of the NIH Fogarty Global Health Programs for Fellows and Scholars.

*Applications for the 2024-2025 fellowship year are now open! Deadline is November 1st, 2023 at 5:00 PM EST. Find out more and access the application here.  

The GHES Consortium is comprised of 4 US partner institutions that include Yale University, the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, and the University of Arizona. More than 100 GHES trained faculty members (mentors) of these institutions currently conduct research at one of 24 training sites across 21 countries, representing Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Oceania.


The Global Health Equity Scholars (GHES) program is designed to create a new community of researchers, educators, and professionals prepared to address new and emerging global health challenges. We build on the last 10 years of this training program to create a cadre of new researchers who can dedicate their research career to address the health problems that arise out of inequity of human conditions prevalent in informal human settlements that the United Nations has defined as slums. Rather than addressing one disease at a time, we propose to provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and integrated approach to deal with slum health issues, developed over many years by various participating faculty members of this program.

What is it? 

  • A 12-month, NIH-supported, mentored training in global health research designed to address health inequities and improve population health. Fellowship year typically runs July-June.
  • 24 training sites located in 21 low- or middle- countries
  • Postdoctoral fellows from the U.S. and LMICs and U.S. students currently enrolled in doctoral (PhD, DrPH, etc.) or professional MD, DDS, DVM, etc.) degree programs can apply.
  • U.S. fellows are required to spend at least 9 months at their LMIC research training site. LMIC fellows are expected to complete a 2 - 3 month training experience at a U.S. GHES site. 


  • Stipend at NIH scale, health insurance funds, travel funds, and a research budget, as well as a week-long orientation at the NIH with the world’s leading global health experts
  • Gain research experience and have the opportunity to publish in peer-reviewed journals and present at national and international  conferences
  • An active network of alumni available  to provide mentoring support

Who can apply? 

  • US Citizens & Permanent Residents from any U.S. institution can apply for post-doctoral fellowships (priority group)
  • US Citizens & Permanent Residents who are currently enrolled in doctoral (PhD, DrPH, etc.) or professional (MD, DDS, etc.) degree programs from any U.S. institution can apply for pre-doctoral fellowships 
  • Low and Middle-Income Country Citizens who are affiliated with one of the research training sites can apply for post-doctoral fellowships
  • GHES is committed to fairness, equity, and inclusion. We strongly encourage applications from underrepresented populations.

GHES Application Guidelines  

  • The application requires working with a faculty mentor from one of the four GHES U.S. institutions
  • We strongly recommend interested individuals to contact a GHES program manager to discuss the application
  • Program Managers can help connect potential applicants with GHES faculty mentors based on research interests area and career goals

Questions? Please contact: Purnima Madhivanan (

University of Arizona 2022-2023 Program Fellows

Predoctoral Student Scholar

Lisa Labita Woodson, MPH (PhD Candidate)

Fellowship Site: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
Research: Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health

Lisa Labita Woodson is a third-year PhD Epidemiology candidate with a focus on Global Health. She spent her last year as a Fulbright Fogarty Scholar carrying out research on the effects of COVID-19 on adolescent pregnancy and educational attainment in the Amazon Basin of Peru. In the coming year as a GHES Fellow, she will pivot her research to study the feasibility of implementing an adolescent sexual and reproductive health intervention in remote communities of the Peruvian Amazon where she proposes to use the already established network of Community Health Workers through the organization Mamás del Río and peer educators. The intervention is based on the Diffusion of Innovation theory and behavior change models and she will measure its feasibility within the community using the following five areas of focus: acceptability, demand, implementation, practicality, and integration.

Lisa has an MPH from the University of Arizona and prior global health experience in Nepal as both a Peace Corps volunteer and Fulbright Scholar. She has also worked in Thailand with Planned Parenthood International, and in Senegal with Counterpart International and the University of Arizona. Within her home city of Tucson, she has worked as a teen advisor for Planned Parenthood – Southern Arizona Regional Health Center, an infectious disease epidemiologist for the Pima County Health Department, an Infection Preventionist for a local hospital, and most recently as a food security research analyst for TANGO International. She is excited to have the opportunity to blend her passion for global health and epidemiology through her research. Her future aims include creating career pathways for minority women in global health and continue advocating and promoting research that advances the rights of women, children, and other vulnerable populations, especially within LMICs, to equitable access to care.

LMIC Postdoctoral Fellow

Biniyam Tefera Deressa, M.D. Specialty Certificate in Clinical Oncology

Fellowship Site: Addis Adaba University, Ethiopia
Research: Breast Cancer Patients in an Understudied Global Population

Dr. Biniyam Tefera Deressa will spend his fellowship year in Ethiopia at Addis Ababa University conducting a mixed-methods study investigating peer support, quality of life, resilience, treatment adherence, and HIV co-morbidity of breast cancer patients in an understudied global population. He will be co-mentored by Professor Teferi Gedif Fenta and Dr. Purnima Madhivanan

Cancer is one of the global health inequities of our time, with low and middle-income countries (LMICs) accounting for more than 70% of cancer deaths, despite high-income countries having a higher incidence (Sung, 2021). In 2020, female breast cancer (BC) surpassed lung cancer as the most common cancer worldwide (Sung, 2021). In Ethiopia, BC is the most frequent malignancy, comprising one-third (33%) of all cancer cases (Timotewos, 2018). Cancer is severely understudied and addressed in Ethiopia: the nation’s first National Cancer Control Plan was formulated in 2015, and fewer than 25 oncologists and only two radiotherapy centers exist for an entire population of more than 115,000,000 (Lesley, 2021).

A doctoral candidate in Epidemiology at MEZCOPH, Habila is also currently working towards a Master of Science in Health and Pharmaceutical Outcomes in the College of Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University and completed her MPH from MEZCOPH in 2019. She is a graduate research associate with Dr. Beth Jacobs as part of the CoVHORT Genome Wide Association Study.

With the limited available resources dedicated to direct prevention and treatment of cancer, survivors’ lived experiences and quality of life (QOL) are often overlooked. Previous research has shown that a majority of patients, especially those with advanced stage disease, have pain, reduced emotional and sexual functioning, and significant financial difficulties (Hassen, 2019, Sibhat, 2019). Observing this gap and inspired by peer support groups for people living with HIV, an innovative BC patients and survivors support group was formed at the Adama Hospital Medical College Cancer Unit (AHMCCU) in October 2020 to address patients’ overlooked psychosocial challenges, and to build their resilience to cope with a life-altering medical diagnosis. Anecdotally, this first-of-its-kind group has improved the well-being of its 30 participants, however, no formal measure of the impact of the group has been evaluated to date.

This project will evaluate the impact of the group on participants’ QOL, resilience, and treatment adherence. Additionally, the lived experiences of one special patient population will be further explored: women living with HIV (WLHIV) and BC. There is limited understanding of HIV and BC co-morbidity, with some evidence demonstrating greater chemotherapy toxicity and worse overall survival for WLHIV compared to their HIV-negative counterparts (Brandão, 2021; Grover, 2017; Hurley, 2001). While they may face unique challenges, it is also plausible that WLHIV may in fact exhibit higher resilience and adherence to their cancer treatment. Mixed methods, including a quantitative questionnaire and qualitative interviews will be used to explore these ideas.

“My ultimate goal is to join a group of scientists who will conduct innovative research and use existing resources to improve global health and close the health inequality gap, particularly in low-income countries. During the one-year fellowship, I will gain the skills of designing, leading, and implementing independent research in the field of cancer prevention, treatment, and palliative care which could have a positive impact on the improvement of cancer care in my country and other low- and middle-income countries.”


University of Arizona 2021-2022 Program Fellows

Postdoctoral Fellows

Lott photo

Breanne Lott, MPH, PhD

Fellowship Site: Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
Research: Cervical Cancer Screening

Breanne Lott, PhD, MPH, will spend her Global Health Equity Scholars fellowship year in Ethiopia with Addis Ababa University, under the co-mentorship of Dr Dawit Worku Kassa, MD in Ethiopia and Dr Purnima Madhivanan.

In Ethiopia, Dr. Lott will study community-based cervical cancer screening approaches such as home-based HPV self-sampling. After evaluating the screening preferences of women living with and without HIV, she will pilot an intervention to increase screening uptake. Breanne is excited about the opportunity to reduce the global impact of cervical cancer through improved screening programs.

Dr. Lott graduated from the Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona with her PhD in Health Behavior Health Promotion in May, 2021. She started her educational journey at Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Health, then received her Masters of Public Health from the Zuckerman College of Public Health – Phoenix Campus. Breanne completed her dissertation on cervical cancer screening and prevention in Ethiopia, which began her passion for global health scholarship and served as a foundation for her GHES application.

"I really look forward to connecting with other global health researchers,"" says Lott, “We have already had the opportunity to network with other fellows from around the world. I hope to acquire new skills through this fellowship and learn more about the variety of career paths."" Dr. Lott has a passion for improving lives by using public health practices, as she says, "I am excited about women’s health and hope to contribute to this field by reducing global cancer burden through improved cervical cancer screening programs."

Predoctoral Student Scholars

Habila photo

Magdiel Habila, MPH (PhD Candidate)

Fellowship Site: University of Jos, Nigeria
Research: Cervical Cancer Prevention

Magdiel Habila, MPH, PhD Candidate, will spend her Global Health Equity Scholars fellowship year at Jos University in Nigeria studying the barriers and implementation issues to cervical cancer screening uptake in Jos and the surrounding communities from patient and provider perspectives. She will work under the co-mentorship of Dr. Jonah Musa, MBBS, PhD in Nigeria, and Dr. Purnima Madhivanan.

Through her research project, Magdiel aims to identify barriers that patients face while seeking cervical cancer screenings as well as factors that facilitate their access to screenings. She will also consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their health seeking behaviors and use of services.

A doctoral candidate in Epidemiology at MEZCOPH, Habila is also currently working towards a Master of Science in Health and Pharmaceutical Outcomes in the College of Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University and completed her MPH from MEZCOPH in 2019. She is a graduate research associate with Dr. Beth Jacobs as part of the CoVHORT Genome Wide Association Study.

"This fellowship is an opportunity for me to learn from and work with researchers in my home country, to identify and address the barriers to health equity that Nigerian women face,"" says Habila, "All with the goal of making sustainable changes that will lead to improved health. This is an incredible opportunity to grow as a researcher and to give back to my community."

Her goal is to become a cancer epidemiologist who focuses on understanding and addressing barriers to health equity in cancer diagnosis and treatment among women living in Sub-Saharan Africa. "I decided to focus my research on cervical cancer because it is inexcusable to me that women in Nigeria and around the world die of a disease that is completely preventable simply because they lack access to preventative healthcare services," says Magdiel, "And I want to thank my mentors, Dr. Jacobs, Dr. Madhivanan, and Dr. Musa whose guidance and insight has been instrumental in designing my research project."


Samsamshariat photo

Tina Samsamshariat, MPH (MD Student)

Fellowship Site: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia
Research: Maternal Child Health and COVID-19

Tina Samsamshariat, MPH, will spend her GHES fellowship year in Lima, Peru at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) under the co-mentorship of Magaly Blas, MD, MPH, PhD and Dr. Purnima Madhivanan.

Through her research, Samsamshariat aims to understand the resilience and adaptation strategies of community health workers delivering maternal and neonatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Loreto, Peru. She will look at how the pandemic has affected external factors, such as limited resources, and transportation, as well as the impact on mental health.

During this research project she will utilize a community based participatory research strategy called Photovoice, a visual research methodology with the intention to foster social change by providing cameras to community health workers to photo document their personal experiences. Photovoice projects seek to empower participants and communities. "My project allows me to bring together public health, art/photography, policy, and health equity, which are all topics I am passionate about," she says.

Now in her fourth year at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, Tina brings a passion for emergency medicine, disaster relief, women’s health and policy to her fellowship. She earned her BS from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and MPH from the University of Southern California (USC). Her current focus is to develop complex healthcare systems at multilateral and community levels to better address changes in our built, sociopolitical, and natural environments. Looking forward to her career in global health, Tina envisions herself in a leadership role with a non-governmental organization (NGO) like Doctors without Borders or Partners in Health, or even starting her own organization that tackles modern issues in public health.

"I’m looking forward to making partnerships with community leaders and better understanding how COVID-19 is affecting populations around the world, says Samsamshariat, "many of our health victories over the past century have been public health victories, like washing our hands and vaccines. We have a tendency to look to technology as solving our problems, but simple public health solutions can have incredible impact on the health of populations. She believes that understanding how health equity, access to healthcare, and other socioeconomic factors impact people’s health will make her a better doctor.

LMIC Postdoctoral Fellows

Rao photo

Arathi Rao, MBBS, MPH, PhD

Fellowship Site: Manipal Academy of High Education, India
Research: HIV and Cardiovascular Risk

Arathi Rao, MD, PhD, MPH, will spend her fellowship year in Udupi, India to research the lived experience of women who face the double burden of COVID-19 and cardiac disease using a mixed-method approach. She will be co-mentored by Judith Noronha, PhD, MSc, MPhil in India and Dr. Purnima Madhivanan.

For her fellowship, Dr. Rao will conduct her research in the local setting of Udupi, a coastal town in India, to better understand the health challenges faced by women during the COVID pandemic. The GHES experience has already connected her with a network of other global public health researchers, and Arathi hopes this fellowship experience will prepare her to become an independent researcher who can use data to help other women from low- and middle- income countries (LMICs).

Currently serving as Associate Professor and Coordinator of the MPH Program at Prasanna School of Public Health at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) in India, Dr. Rao is working towards a postdoctoral fellowship at the Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona. Previously she was a practicing gynecologist, valuable experience that informs her ongoing interest in women's health.

"Women’s voices are unheard in patriarchal societies irrespective of literacy, employment and social status," says Rao, "I want to change that. I give regular talks on community radio about public health issues, with a special focus on maternal and child health. I was a practicing gynecologist and I chose a different path, to earn my MPH degree. The MPH completely transformed my perspective towards health as a clinician."

Dr. Rao is passionate about giving back to society and improving the lives of women in LMICs through qualitative research. Her career goal is to find social, context-based solutions to women's health issues in conservative patriarchal societies, both in India and across the globe.

Program Faculty

Eva Harris

Eva Harris, PhD

GHES UC Berkeley Program Director

Professor, Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology
UC Berkeley

Purnima Madhivanan photo

Purnima Madhivanan, MBBS, MPH, PhD

GHES University of Arizona Program Director

Associate Professor, Health Promotion Sciences
Zuckerman College of Public Health
University of Arizona

Michele Barry photo

Michele Barry, MD, FACP

GHES Stanford Program Director

Senior Associate Dean Global Health
Professor of Medicine
Stanford University

Albert Icksang Ko photo

Albert Ko, MD

GHES Yale Program Director

Chair, Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases
Professor of Medicine
Yale School of Public Health