The Frist Global Health Leaders (FGHL) program affords young health professional students, residents, and fellows the opportunity to serve and train abroad in underserved communities for up to one semester. In doing so, they will bolster capacity in clinics in need of support as well as offer training to community health workers to promote sustainability upon their departure from these communities. As part of the program, they blog about their experiences here. For more information, visit our program page.

omo 2 Omo Aisagbonhi (center in photo) was born and raised in Nigeria. She came to America for college when she was 17 years old. Sh attended sunny California State University, Long Beach, and she graduated in 2004 with a BS in Biochemistry and a minor in Spanish. After college, she joined the Vanderbilt Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) and obtained my PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology in 2010. She will be graduating from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine next year. The Frist Global Health Leaders Program gave her the opportunity to gain first-hand exposure to the areas of medical need in Ogbomoso, Nigeria and she hopes to settle permanently in Africa – either home in Nigeria, or in Uganda – after residency training.

emma apatu american samoa 1

Emma Apatu (second from left in photo) is a Doctor of Public Health student in the Community Health track. She is originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Emma received her undergraduate degree from the University of Maine at Machias and a master of public health degree, with a specialization in health education and behavioral science from Emory University. Prior to enrolling into DrPH program at East Tennessee State University, Emma served as the PR coordinator for Cielo Productions,  a non-profit video film company that delivers timely public health news from around the world.  This summer Emma will be completing her field experience in American Samoa. Emma will work under the direction of Dr. Dan Aga, Dean and Director of Community & Natural Resources at American Samoa Community College to help with Food security issues with the island’s Food Policy Council.

badger kijabe 2 Stephen Badger (front row, second from right) is a Chief Resident in the Department of Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2007, and he has a BA in Latin American studies from Brigham Young University. He was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he fell in love with all things outdoors, including running, hiking, snowboarding and wakeboarding. Most of his free time now is spent with his wife Sara and two small children Rylan and Ellie. Awards that he has received during his training include the Merck Award for academic excellence from the Medical College of Wisconsin and induction into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Presentations include medically challenging cases at the 2009 and 2010 American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meetings and a research presentation at the 2009 American Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists annual meeting. He is excited to be able to share his experience and training with the medical professionals in Kijabe, Kenya look forward to learning from them as well.

Sun Safety booth Katie Baker

Katie Baker is a native of Greeneville, Tennessee. She attended Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and graduated with a degree in Health & Exercise Science.  After Furman, she enrolled in the University of Alabama – Birmingham, where she pursued a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Maternal & Child Health (MCH). During her training in MCH, Katie gained a thorough understanding of child health and development, women’s health and social behavior, and family and community health.  As a graduate research assistant, she was tasked with interviewing participants in the Birmingham Youth Violence Study (BYVS), allowing her a first-hand glimpse into high-risk health behaviors impacting adolescent health in the US. Katie is currently enrolled in the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health, pursuing her Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree with a specialization in Community Health.  She has completed two years of the program and was awarded 2009-2010 Outstanding DrPH Student in Community Health. As an ASPIRE Appalachia scholarship recipient, Katie looks forward to her internship with the Tennessee Cancer Coalition serving rural Tennessee, Appalachia region communities.

bechtel and patient Brett Bechtel is a native of Southborough, Massachusetts. He has a BS in Biology from Wake Forest University ('03), where he travelled and studied ecology and economics in Peru and Benin. He matriculated to Wake Forest University School of Medicine and received his MD in 2007. He completed a residency in Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he now works as Chief Resident of Emergency Medicine. In Georgetown, Guyana, he taught bedside with general medical officers and Emergency Medicine Residents as well as lectured to medical staff and doctors on selected Emergency Medicine topics.

orville bignall operating Orville Newton-Ray Bignall, II is a pediatric resident physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is pursuing careers in pediatric medicine, global health, and health policy. Born to Jamaican natives Dr. and Mrs. Orville Bignall, Sr., Ray is a summa cum laude graduate of Howard University, in Washington, DC. He became involved with the Frist Global Health Leaders program while matriculating at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN, where he received the doctor of medicine degree. Outside of his avid interest in medicine, Orville also enjoys playing the violin, taking friends and family flying as a licensed private pilot, and youth ministry. He serves as a minister, community organizer, motivator, and mentor. He will serve in Georgetown, Guyana.

karie castle

Karie Castle is a senior at East Tennessee University in Johnson City, Tennessee where her major field of study is Environmental Health.   Karie is a recipient of the ASPIRE Appalachia scholarship, which is made possible through the LoveEverybody foundation based in Nashville, Tennessee and Hope Through Healing Hands.   The purpose of this scholarship is to afford ETSU College of Public Health Students the opportunity to spend a semester long internship serving rural Appalachia region communities. Karie will be working with the Boone Watershed Partnership this summer where she will be assisting with restoration projects of both Sinking Creek and Gap Creek, to watershed resources that provide water throughout southern Appalachia but are significantly polluted.

rebecca cook

Rebecca Cook is currently a senior medical student at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She was born and raised in Kenya, where she lived until she was 17 years old. She earned her BS in Biology with a minor in International Studies at Wake Forest University and her MSc(s) in Medical Anthropology and Global Health Science before starting medical studies at Vanderbilt in 2007. During medical school she has had the opportunity to work with Vanderbilt's HIV/AIDS treatment program in Mozambique where she studied the early infant diagnosis program for infants born to HIV-positive mothers. In the spring 2011, she will spend 2 months in Kenya where she will work at Lwala Community Health Center in in Lwala, Kenya in January and Kijabe Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya in February. Rebecca will enter residency training in Internal Medicine-Pediatrics in July 2011 where she hopes to continue to pursue a calling to serve the underserved and ultimately return to the developing world.

allison greening bio Allison Greening is from Albuquerque, NM. She is at Vanderbilt Medical Center Department of Anesthesia completing her residency in anesthesia. She has background as a chemical engineer. She will serve in Kijabe, Kenya at Kijabe Hospital. As part of her trip, she will take a week of vacation and attempt to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro with a bicycle racing-turned backpacking friend from Albuquerque.  Practicing and teaching anesthesia in Kenya and climbing Kilimanjaro are similarly familiar things in unfamiliar environments. Though she considers herself a solid senior resident with four years experience doing all sorts of cases, she has never used halothane, or likely much of the equipment she’ll be working with. She looks forward to the new experiences.

resident_Iranmanesh_Sina Sina Iranmanesh grew up in Tampa, Florida where he attended the University of South Florida for both his undergraduate and medical degrees. As a medical student he worked extensively with Project World Health, visiting the Dominican Republic each year for one week at a time, seeing patients of all ages in makeshift clinics and even observing a few surgical procedures. His interests include music, athletics (running, tennis, snowboarding), and traveling. Currently he has begun his fourth year of general surgery residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is thrilled at being given another opportunity to travel to Kijabe, Kenya to continue treating underserved patients. He hopes that upon finishing his training he will continue to participate in international mission trips.
Matt Landman

shannon langston bio pic Dr. Shannon Langston is a native of North Carolina.  He held a previous career as a paramedic and attended East Carolina University where he earned a BA in Anthropology.  He matriculated to Ben Gurion University, Medical School for International Health, in Beersheva Israel in 2007.  While there he travelled extensively throughout the Middle East and several countries in Africa.  He volunteered at local clinic serving an underserved and unrecognized Bedouin community and travelled with an Israeli disaster team to assist with the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.  He completed a residency in Emergency Medicine at Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center.  While there he travelled twice to Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake in order to provide medical assistance to the population.  He is currently a Fellow in International Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and is pursuing a MSc in infectious Disease from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Shannon is currently working on a project at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation in Georgetown, Guyana.  He will be providing bedside teaching to house officers and Emergency Medicine Residents in the new Emergency Medicine residency established in cooperation with Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  In addition, he will be providing consultations to medical staff, providing weekly lectures, assisting with policy development, and assisting with a needs assessment as a first step in establishing a national EMS system in Guyana.

liz lightner bio Liz Lightner is a resident in Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She relocated to Nashville from Phoenix, Arizona after graduating from the University of Arizona, College of Medicine in 2008. During her first year of medical school, she spent a month assisting in a community medical clinic in Huancayo, Peru. Although this experience provided an opportunity to learn about medical practice and culture in less resource rich areas of the world, she was eager to gain the medical knowledge and procedural skills that would allow her to better assist patients in this setting. As part of her residency program, she had the opportunity to spend a month practicing Emergency Medicine abroad. She chose to work in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala in order to improve upon her medical Spanish, learn more about medicine in developing areas of the world, and to provide care to the patients of this area.

megan quinn and children

Megan Quinn (second row, second from right) was born in Titusville, FL.  Megan attended Wesleyan College in Macon, GA.  In 2005, she received her BA in psychology with minors in biology and neuroscience.  Following graduation, Megan gained employment as an Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist and worked with children on the Autism Spectrum. After a few years of work experience, Megan attended the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland and received her Master’s of Science in public health research in 2009.  Megan is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Public Health program at East Tennessee State University.  She will be graduating with an epidemiology concentration in spring 2012. Megan will be working with Project Hope UK on the Thoughtful Path Program in Munsieville, South Africa

resident_Schratt_Walter Walter Schratt is a board certified German general surgeon. Since July 2010, he has been a resident at the Department of General Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  He attended medical school in Munich, Germany, residency  at  the Department of Surgery,  University of Heidelberg, Germany. He has years of experience in general and thoracic surgeon as vice-chairman of a community hospital surgical department and as attending in private practice. He moved to the US in 2008, redoing parts of residency for certification as general  surgeon in the US. Currently, he is on a 4-week international rotation at AIC Kijabe Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya. He holds medical licenses for Germany, the UK and temporarily for Kenya.

julie shelton photo Julie Shelton graduated from the Medical College of Georgia in 2006. There she received the Merck manual award for academic excellence and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. She has completed three years of clinical surgical training at Vanderbilt University and is currently completing her Master of Public Health focusing on health services research and surgical education. Her research time afforded her the opportunity to present her work at the Association for Surgical Education, the Association for Academic Surgery, and the Southeastern Surgical Congress among others. She looks forward to resuming her clinical training; starting in Kijabe, Kenya and then returning to Nashville, Tennessee and beyond as she pursues her goal of becoming an academic pediatric surgeon involved in research, clinical activities, and surgical education. She is excited to join those already working at the AIC Kijabe Hospital and hopes that the next time she returns she can be joined by her husband and two children.

twanda blog 3a Twanda D. Wadlington (at left) is from Memphis, Tennessee. She attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee graduating in 2008, with a BA in Biology.  While enrolled at Fisk University, Twanda  made the most of numerous internship opportunities including the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at Duke University and the International Scholar Laureate Program (ISLP) Medical Delegation of South Africa. Twanda recently completed her Master of Public Health with a Community Health concentration and certification in Epidemiology at East Tennessee State University’s College of Public Health. Before graduating from East Tennessee State University, she had the opportunity to participate in the Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There she had the opportunity to work and develop the National Center for Health Marketing Campaign Audit Database. Twanda is currently enrolled in the Doctoral Program at East Tennessee State University’s College of Public Health and is looking forward to having the opportunity to return to South Africa and apply the competencies learned in public health to the population of Munsieville, South Africa. There she with work with Project Hope UK’s the Thoughtful Path: Munsieville, a program that seeks to engage the entire community in changing the way orphans and impoverished children are cared for in Munsieville. 

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