2016-2017 Humphrey Fellows


Dr. Kyaw worked as the Senior Public Health Officer at the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) where he was responsible for successful implementation and management of more than 20 HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria grants supported by the 3MDG Fund. His has worked closely with the Ministry of Health and donors to evaluate proposals, conduct grant negotiation and finalization processes, and develop and maintain 3MDG Fund’s HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria operational plan. As a key resource person for the 3MDG Fund, he conducted regular monitoring trips to track project progress, activity results, and aid effectiveness.

While a Humphrey Fellow, Dr. Kyaw will study health policy and aid effectiveness. He plans to pursue courses in global health policy and programs, social entrepreneurship, and health systems financing and policy implementation. During his time in the United States, Dr. Kyaw would like to collaborate with a donor agency/financial institution such as World Bank, USAID or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Upon his return to Myanmar, Dr. Kyaw hopes to promote coordination mechanisms among different stakeholders in order to effectively contribute to the goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Myanmar. He also plans to set up a “think tank” for health policy and health systems strengthening.


Dr. Zawolo has accrued valuable experience serving different roles in primary healthcare service delivery within Liberia. While in medical school, he volunteered as a reproductive health counselor where he organized community-based distribution of products for healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy through a local non-profit organization. During the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Dr. Zawolo provided clinical services within Ebola treatment centers in some of the worst affected communities. Notably, he coordinated the establishment of the first rapid response isolation center for Ebola-stricken community members in Jene Wonde, Liberia; the success of this center provided a blue print for similar interventions in other rural and remote areas.

Dr. Zawolo was most recently a resident of pediatrics and has worked at several referral hospitals in Liberia. Through the Humphrey Fellowship, he plans to develop his skills in project design and management. His long-term career goal is to pursue a PhD in epidemiology.

Zhijie An

Dr. Zhijie An graduated from Harbin Medical University in 1995 and earned his MPH in 2006. He also participated in the Chinese Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) for two years professionally on work training. He had two years’ experience as a physician before moving to Heilongjiang Provincial CDC to work with the immunization program. He joined the National Immunization Program in China CDC and led a team in vaccine preventable disease surveillance and outbreak response focused on polio eradication, measles and rubella elimination. He was seconded to World Health Organization China Office between 2009 and 2013, as the National Professional Officer on the immunization team, where he mainly worked in measles and rubella elimination and the new vaccine. In 2014, he was also assigned by China CDC to work in Sierra Leone to support Ebola Virus Disease emergency response. His recent achievements include coordinating the polio immunization strategy switch plan, updating the national immunization schedule guideline, and developing the immunization recommendation guideline for the new Enterovirus 71 vaccine.

During his time within the Humphrey Fellowship Program, Dr. An hopes to study vaccine research and evaluation methodologies. He plans to complete his Professional Affiliation at the CDC in order to understand effective introduction of new vaccines into immunization programs. He also wants to learn how to provide systematic evidence for immunization policy making—consistent with public health needs in China—to help develop a strategic vaccine plan.

Koffi siliadin

Dr. Koffi M. Siliadin launched his career as a general practitioner for over 5 years—first in a community health center and then in a regional hospital. After that, he worked as the director of one of 40 health districts in Togo under the Ministry of Health. In the first, rural district he administrated, he set up a team which almost built a whole health system in the newly created district that was hosting 66,000 inhabitants. His actions led to remarkable progress particularly in Child and Maternal health, disease control, and health program efficiency. These performances led him to his next position as director of an urban district of 218,000 inhabitants. In both districts that he supervised, he designed successful cholera and meningitis preparedness and response plans. In addition to his district managing skills he has obtained several certificates including health in disaster management, malaria control, and infection prevention and control.

Besides his administrative position, Dr. Koffi M. Siliadin worked as a health consultant for the City of Paris and for the Worldbank. He also volunteers for the Togolese Red Cross as a first aid trainer.

As a Humphrey Fellow interested in Health Policy and Management, Dr. Siliadin aims to enhance his capacities in health systems strengthening and in health emergency preparedness and response. During his fellowship, he will be working on Disease Surveillance and Monitoring and Evaluation with the support of eHealth and health information technologies. After completing his fellowship, he plans to enhance Togolese health programs and the health care system through evidence-based management and policy making.

Khairoonisa Pathan

Dr. Khairoonisa I. Pathan completed her MD in 2000 at the University of Dar Es Salaam and received her MPH in International Health–HIV/AIDS from the University of Melbourne in 2008. She has participated in several trainings on HIV/AIDS prevention care and treatment in Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa and also on health systems strengthening in Japan.

Dr. Pathan currently serves as the Bukoba District Council Medical Officer after recently being promoted from Regional AIDS Control Coordinator in the Kagera region. Concurrently, she manages the program of Accountable and Coordinated HIV/AIDS services by regional health management teams under PEPFAR as the principal investigator. She has vast experience of more than 15 years working in the field of HIV/AIDS in sub Saharan Africa.

While as a Humphrey fellow, Dr. Pathan intends to pursue coursework in several areas of study including ways of conducting research and publication, HIV/AIDS issues such as program management and evaluation as well as the government’s role in financing and legislation and human rights and rights-based approaches. She hopes to build relevant professional affiliations with U.S. based agencies such as CDC and USAID in addition to pursuing a PhD.

Upon returning to Tanzania, Dr. Pathan will continue her work to have an equitable HIV and AIDS intervention that is more accessible and available to the rural poor communities. Her work will focus on research and formulating policy interventions that will prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, protect and support vulnerable groups, and mitigate the social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS.

Noah Dessalegn

Dr. Dessalegn received his Doctor of Medicine from Jimma University in Ethiopia in 2008; his Master of Medicine (Clinical Medicine) in HIV, STIs, and Sexual Health in 2014 and later his MPhil (Medicine) in 2016 from the University of Sydney, Australia.

Dr. Dessalegn worked as a General Medical Practitioner (GP) for more than 4 years before moving into sexual and reproductive health. From 2009-2011, he served at Jinka Zonal Hospital as one of the only four doctors in the South Omo Zone in different capacities including GP, case-team leader, medical director, and member of the hospital’s management committee. During his time there, Dr. Dessalegn also helped to start an association for diabetes patients, a new maternity ward for delivering women, and a shelter home for HIV positive pregnant women. He moved to Myungsung Christian Medical Centre (MCM) at the beginning of 2011—one of the largest and well equipped hospitals in the country—where he served as a GP and a mentor to Medical students.

Throughout his career, Dr. Dessalegn has volunteered in several events ranging from local events, such as free medical care services in Addis Ababa, to international ones, such as the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

While participating as a Humphrey Fellow, Dr. Dessalegn plans to develop his knowledge and skills set in clinical medicine in infectious diseases, research undertaking, and effective development and implementation of heath policies. Upon returning to Ethiopia, Dr. Dessalegn plans to continue his work in clinical medicine, medical and public health research, and academia. It is his passion to contribute to combating TB/HIV, STIs, malaria, and other communicable diseases.

Kwizera Pierre

Dr. Kwizera has over 5 years of experience in Public Health working with Burundi’s Ministry of Health in implementing a new approach to financing the health system called Performance-Based Financing. He attended the National University of Rwanda and received a degree in General Medicine. Following the completion of his degree in 2007, Dr. Kwizera worked in a health center for people living with HIV/AIDS in an eastern province of Rwanda. The following year, he became a coordinator and was responsible for a research site in the western province of Rwanda as part of a clinical trial studying malaria medication through the European and Developing Countries Trial Partnership (EDCTP). In 2008, Dr. Kwizera returned to Burundi and conducted a survey observing patients at the Association Nationale de Soutien aux Seropositifs Sidéens (National Association for Support of HIV+ persons) and at Hôpital Prince Régent Charles (Prince Regent Charles Hospital) to assess for the compliance of people under antiretroviral therapy. In addition to this survey, he also worked as a General Practitioner in a number of hospitals in the capital city of Burundi including the Prince Louis Rwagasore Clinic where he served in the maternity ward. In 2010, Dr. Kwizera became the Medical Coordinator of Performance-Based Financing and worked for HealthNet TPO, an NGO based in the Netherlands. He was the Medical Coordinator of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights from February 2016 until his departure for the United States.

He is interested in Health System Strengthening and Health Financing, and he would also like to learn a lot about Reproductive Health. Dr. Kwizera hopes to learn more about research, Health System Promotion and Prevention during his Humphrey Fellowship.

Priya Adisesha Reddy

Ms. Priya Adhisesha Reddy completed an MBA in Hospital & Health Systems Management and a Fellowship in Eye Hospital Management. During her time as a project manager with Aravind Eye Care System, she successfully conceptualized and managed several projects involving eye screening and eradication of childhood blindness for more than 2 million children. She is part of the team from Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology that provides consultancy for various eye hospitals across India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia and Madagascar to enhance their eye care services through a process of training, capacity building and resource management.

Ms. Reddy initiated and facilitated a partnership between Aravind and the Government of Pondicherry to screen premature children in order to prevent and cure retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). She is also actively involved with USAID in various multi-country research projects and recently published a paper titled “Vision Screening by Teachers in Southern Indian Schools: Testing a New ‘All Class Teacher’ Model” in the Journal of Ophthalmic Epidemiology. She has actively participated and presented papers in national and international conferences on eye care with special emphasis on childhood blindness.

While a Humphrey Fellow, Ms. Reddy intends to improve her understanding of health care policies and advocacy so she may continue to contribute to the global objective of eliminating avoidable blindness in communities across the developing world. She wants to explore low-cost screening models and how to implement them as well as how to transition such screening models that currently exist in the non-profit sector to the public sector. She hopes this work will benefit both local and international eye public health and will help fill the research-practice gap by focusing on research to help underserved populations world-wide.

Piyanit Tharmaphornpilas

Dr. Piyanit Tharmaphornpilas was awarded her MD by Mahidol University, Bangkok, in 1988, and her MPH by Johns Hopkins University in 1993. A medical epidemiologist, she has in total 23 years’ experience with the Department of Disease Control in Thailand. Her public health career commenced in Thailand’s Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), working on disease surveillance, outbreak investigation, and field research. She then joined the staff of the training program, and later became its director.

During 1998-1999, she was seconded to the Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Control section of WHO in Geneva. Working there at a global level improved her understanding of the need for international collaboration in public health. She was subsequently appointed as National Manager of Thailand’s immunization program and also as Director of the Center for Coordinating Polio and Measles Eradication. She has most recently served as the Senior Medical Advisor to Thailand’s Department of Disease Control. In the latter role, Dr. Tharmaphornpilas advised on national policy, work mechanisms and guidelines for infectious disease control, epidemiological work, and research programs. She was concerned also with cross-cutting issues, including disease prevention and control in relation to migrant flows, the growth of urban populations, and medical tourism.

As a Humphrey Fellow, her focus is in gaining wider experience of disease prevention and control systems in urban settings, the process of global health policy development, and mechanisms for public health emergency management. She hopes to have opportunities to interact with state and local health administrations while in the U.S., as well as with CDC technical units.

Redona Dudushi

Ms. Dudushi completed a Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democracy for South
East Europa Countries in Bologna, Italy and also holds a Masters in Social Psychology and Social Transformation from Vermont University in the U.S. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with a focus on sexual behaviors of people living with HIV/AIDS in Albania.

For the past 15 years, Ms. Dudushi has worked as a Clinical Psychologist for the National Institute of Public Health in the Department of Infectious Disease at the National Program of HIV/AIDS. From 2007-2010 she assisted the establishment of 12 Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centers (VCTs) for HIV testing as the National Coordinator under the Global Fund. She has worked as part of a group that created Protocols and Standards for HIV testing and Counseling as well as designed training curricula for the providers that work in VCTs. She has published many articles about psychosocial issues of HIV and how HIV as a chronic disease impacts mental health in Albania. Since 2012, she has lectured on Research Methods at the University of Tirana, and she is currently working on how antiretroviral therapy affects levels of depression and how they influence sexual desire of people living with HIV.

During her studies as a Humphrey fellow, she will concentrate in behavior change communication to increase the use of VCTs, the improvement of VCT protocol and standards, and how VCTs can better approach the community’s need—especially for marginalized groups of society. She wants to be involved in research that shows how HIV and antiretroviral therapy impact the sexual life of people living with HIV, and she is also very interested in being involved with a project about Humanitarian Emergencies.

Sajida Mahmood

Ms. Mahmood has more than 15 years of experience as a health care professional in the field of Clinical Psychology, Speech-Language Therapy and Rehabilitation in Pakistan’s most reputable public and private sector organizations. She is currently serving as the Head of the Speech Therapy Department for the government of Pakistan at Directorate General of Special Education (DGSE) under the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CADD). Her position encompasses the coordination, management and supervision of Speech-Language Therapy plans, as well as rehabilitation service provisions to children with disabilities and developmental disorders. Additionally, she provides training to speech therapist interns and other health care professionals from different universities. As a rehabilitation consultant, she also worked with international NGOs on community based rehabilitation in the area of speech- language therapy.

During her Humphrey Fellowship, she would like to focus on Disability Prevention, Early Diagnosis and Management as a significant Public Health issue by developing and adopting Standardized Procedural Protocols for Newborn Screening (NBS) for the numbers of diseased conditions causing future lifelong disabilities (such as Hearing Impairment and Metabolic Disorders). She would also like to integrate early intervention and rehabilitation processes followed by screening and connect health care services and other rehabilitation professionals/institutes to work together in harmony at the national level.

Sandra Gomez Ventura

Dr. Gomez Ventura was the Chief of Medical practices at the Faculty of Health Sciences at UNITEC. She was in charge of designing the monitoring and evaluation of the medical practices and the design of community work. She has also taught business development in Health and Research Methods classes.

Before joining UNITEC, she worked as the Associate Peace Corps Director for the Youth Development program for 10 years in Honduras. She was in charge of the design, monitoring and evaluation of programs on how to improve the academic performance, life skills, and development of healthy living practices, as well as how to develop community service among youth, which were implemented by 34 Peace Corps volunteers per year and their local partners (parents, teachers, health care workers) who work with youth. Dr. Gomez also worked in PC Colombia and Guatemala to train their staff to begin their youth programs. After working for Peace Corps she was a consultant for USAID, the German Cooperation, and UNDP. Dr. Gomez has also served as the Director of the Board for Gerizim Christian School—a school which provides bilingual education for children with low incomes.

She got her PhD degree in Public Health and Sanitary Management from Zaragoza University in Spain, an MPH from the Braun School of Public Health at the Hebrew University in Israel and a postgraduate degree in Adolescent Development from the Catholic University in Chile. Dr. Gomez also has a DDS from the National University of Honduras.

As a Humphrey fellow under the Public Health Policy and Program Management program, Dr. Gomez expects to improve her knowledge and skills on program evaluation (design, implementation and impact evaluation) to achieve better quality for children and youth health programs. She hopes to teach others the new teaching methodology skills she will obtain and also to collaborate in research evaluation studies while at Emory University.

Muhammad Amin

Mr. Muhammad Amin has a professional background in the field of evidence based medicine and pharmaceutical sciences. For the last ten years he has practiced in the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan under the Ministry of National Health Services and Coordination, where he is responsible for assessing safety, efficacy and quality parameters of new treatment interventions and generic therapeutics. He supervises the Center for Pharmaceutical Evaluation and proposes plans to upgrade the regulatory framework of health care technologies in Pakistan. His research work has been published in international journals including Drug Safety, PLoS One, and Clinical Drug Investigation.

Mr. Amin is experienced in conducting safety and efficacy reviews of therapeutic choices in Pakistan—especially for those that are likely to pose risks to public health at large. He has recently accomplished the task of ensuring availability of cost-effective interventions for Hepatitis C treatment in Pakistan. He also remained involved in framing legislation of medical devices in the country to bring all such products under regulatory framework; this is considered to be a major step in reducing spread of infectious disease like HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis. He has also volunteered to work with communities on different disease prevention programs such as cervical and breast cancer, hepatitis, diabetes and educating people on the importance of immunization.

During his Humphrey Fellowship, Mr. Amin aspires to strengthen his skills in clinical research, vaccine technology and evidence based global health policies. He hopes to improve his knowledge in the field of drug safety and availability as well as development and approval processes of health care technologies.

Chukwunomso “Ekene” Osakwe

Chukwunomso Osakwe has over 11 years of scientific research experience at the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), with a background in molecular biology, biotechnology, and immunology. As a scientific officer in NABDA, Dr. Osakwe has initiated and participated in several projects including advocacy programs on the importance of GMOs, implementation of HIV/AIDS workplace policy, and integration of infectious disease and non-communicable disease research.

Dr. Osakwe obtained her PhD in 2010 from the University of Bucharest, Romania, during which time she studied the immune responses of HIV positive children at different stages of the disease. Upon completion of her doctoral program, Dr. Osakwe was made coordinator of the infectious disease/immunology unit that focuses on HIV/AIDS, malaria, and hepatitis B and C research. She initiated the integration of non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cervical and breast cancer into the unit after she completed a 3-month training fellowship at the Catholic University of Leuven where she focused on hypertension. Dr. Osakwe also initiated a number of collaborations including a collaboration with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which trained NABDA staff on HIV testing services in order to implement the national HIV workplace policy at the agency.

She volunteers in youth-based NGOs—initiating leadership and empowerment programs for youth—and participates in medical outreaches at the camps of internally displaced person’s (IDPs) displaced by the Boko Haram terrorist group in North East Nigeria.

Dr. Osakwe is passionate about women’s and girls’ rights and seeks to use research methods to address women’s health related issues. During the Humphrey Fellowship, she intends to develop a policy enumerating strategies for providing reproductive health services to women in IDP camps in Nigeria.