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. For more information, visit our program page.
Benjamin Acheampong is a current pediatric cardiology fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center He obtained his medical degree from the University of Science and Technology in Ghana. He previously did residency in Pediatrics with the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, West African College of Physicians and the Mayo Clinic graduate medical college, Rochester Minnesota. His interest in global health started in medical school where he led a team of medical students for health education and promotion programs in cocoa growing areas in Ghana. He has solely funded a community hospital in Ghana that sees 40,000 patients annually. He also undertakes bi-weekly telemedicine teaching via Skype for newly graduated doctors in some rural areas in Ghana to help with pediatric cardiology knowledge transfer. He is currently enrolled in the MPH (global health tract) at Vanderbilt University. His main interest centers on capacity building for cardiovascular care for children in underserved areas and plans to engaged in more capacity building programs after fellowship. He will spend 3 months this summer at Cape Coast Teaching Hospital in Ghana, teaching residents and medical students and training local providers in focused cardiac imaging using handheld echocardiogram machine for the diagnosis of cardiac dysfunction in HIV infected children as part of his MPH practicum. This trip is supported by Hope through Healing hands and the division of Pediatric Cardiology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Melissa Bellomy, MD is a 4th year Anesthesiology resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She obtained her BS in Biochemistry at Seton Hall University where she minored in vocal performance and competed in Division 1 Athletics. For her medical degree, Melissa attended Harvard Medical School, where she was learned the importance of participating global health initiatives from Dr. Paul Farmer in her social medicine course. She has always had a passion for education and is excited to spend a month in Kijabe, Kenya working in the operating rooms and helping teach the nurse anesthesia students as part of the Vanderbilt International Anesthesiology program.
Allison Courtney received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing at University of Arkansas in 2010. Following graduation she began working at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a registered nurse in the adult Medical Intensive Care Unit. After five years of bedside nursing in the critical care setting Allison became increasingly interested in global preventative health and wellness. She began pursing a Master’s Degree in Public Health, and shortly after focused her interest on becoming a family nurse practitioner. Allison is currently enrolled in Belmont University’s MSN, Family Nurse Practitioner program anticipating graduation in December 2018. Thanks to the financial support of Hope Through Healing Hands, Allison recently had the unique opportunity to spend three weeks in an international clinical setting in Cambodia. It was an exceptional experience that deepened her understanding of global health and the vital role of the nurse practitioner worldwide. Upon graduation Allison plans to work as a family nurse practitioner focusing on health and wellness through global nutrition and advocacy.
Taylor Matherly is a dual-degree graduate student pursuing her Masters of Public Health (Global Health) and Masters of Education (International Education Policy & Management) at Vanderbilt University. She grew up in the Triangle area of North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for undergrad where she studied Hispanic Linguistics and Sociology.
Post-graduation, she spent two years living and working with rural and refugee populations in Spain. She spent the summer of 2017 completing her M.Ed. practicum at the Universidad Tecnica del Norte in Ibarra, Ecuador, where she developed curriculum focused on fostering early childhood development through cognitive stimulation.
This summer, she is excited to work with Primeros Pasos, located in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Primeros Pasos is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the rural communities of the Palajunoj Valley through their community clinic, health education, and nutritional recuperation programs. During her two months with Primeros Pasos Taylor will be a part of the health education outreach team, which offers free medical care and develops and hosts health education workshops for local primary school students and their mothers. After graduating in May 2019, Taylor hopes to continue working within the intersection of health and education, two fields with an undeniably interdependent relationship.
Name: Jessica Murray
Major: Public Health
Universtiy: Eastern Tennessee State University
I received a B.A. in Global Health at Arizona State University. My professional interests include global health and working with underserved communities. I have previously studied abroad in Nicaragua and England. Additionally, I am an intern for a global health non-profit, Playing to Live!, that focuses on the mental health needs of children who have experienced trauma, a research intern for my one of my professors who works in global health, and will be assisting with data analysis for mental health research project that worked with Palestinian refugees in Gaza. In 2016, I moved to Tennessee with my boyfriend and our three dogs to pursue my graduate degree.
Carolina Pinzon-Guzman is a general surgery resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is from Cali-Colombia, South America, and received her BS degree in Biomedical Science at Texas A&M University in College Station Texas. She completed her MD/PhD degree at, Pennsylvania State University in Hershey Pennsylvania. Her PhD focused on the molecular and genetic mechanisms involved in the development of the nervous system. She elected to move to Nashville to pursue general surgery training at Vanderbilt, and is currently conducting lab research in development of the esophagus and what may be the molecular mechanisms that cause esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula in neonates. She will be traveling to Kijabe, Kenya with her husband and two children who are all very excited to have this opportunity, and look forward to teaching and learning from such an incredible place.
Alice Proia recently received a Master of Science degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner). Her interest in global health began while she spent a year living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, where she worked as the nursing case manager for an international medical assistance company. Since then, she has continued to pursue her enthusiasm for global health by taking numerous global health elective courses through Vanderbilt’s Institute for Global Health and participating in an inter-professional medical service trip to Nicaragua.
Her passion lies in delivering healthcare to Spanish-speaking immigrant populations in the United States, with an emphasis on preventive measures in the primary care setting. She is excited and grateful for this opportunity as a Frist Global Health Leader. She will be working in San Miguel de Allende with the PACE Center (Centro de Programa de Actualización Continua en Emergencias) to develop a cultural sensitivity and competency program for healthcare professionals.
Kendall Schoenekase is a 24-year old Registered Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner student at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. She is from Kansas City originally, but completed her BSN at the University of Arkansas, where she graduated in the top 10% of her class. Kendall’s occupational background includes working as a pharmacy technician, a medical-surgical RN, a medical aesthetics RN, and fulfilling the full-time job of Miss Kansas 2016 as a spokeswoman for the Miss America Organization and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Kendall now resides in Nashville, TN, where she is finishing up her advanced practice degree, while also working part-time as a professional public speaker through her agency, Red7 Live. Upon completion of her MSN, Kendall plans to work in family medicine as a nurse practitioner and hopes to travel the world throughout her career serving rural communities through medical missions. Kendall completed her first big medical mission trip this past May, as she was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Cambodia with Belmont Abroad, in large part thanks to Hope Through Healing Hands.
Susannah Spero, RN is a Family Nurse Practitioner student at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She will graduate with a Master of Science in Nursing degree in August 2018. She graduated magna cum laude from Hamilton College in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Socioeconomic and Political Studies. Prior to entering healthcare, Susannah worked in the nonprofit sector. She has also traveled extensively in Central and Southeast Asia, and conducted research in rural Mongolia with the School for International Training. While at VUSN, Susannah served as the co-chair of the Global Health Journal Club and of Nurses for Sexual and Reproductive Health. Susannah is passionate about health equity and aspires to provide primary care to underserved patients in the United States and abroad. She is thrilled to be working with Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation in Georgetown, Guyana.
Greg Wykoff is an MD/MPH student at ETSU Quillen College of Medicine, currently in his final year. Although pursuing Psychiatry as a medical specialty, he has a diverse range of interests in both medicine and public health, and considers global health to be an essential issue to be addressed on all fronts, from acute care to preventative medicine and public health infrastructure. With assistance from Hope Through Healing Hands and the Frist Global Leaders Program Scholarship, he is working alongside Project Hope UK to help bring essential services to the city of Munsieville, South Africa, an under served area long-stricken with poverty and lack of access to healthcare.