The LAGHC 2017 planning team consists of 20 students and 5 faculty and staff from UCLA (David Geffen School of Medicine, Fielding School of Public Health, and Undergraduate Campus), USC (Keck School of Medicine, Global Health Institute, and Department of Clinical Psychology), Claremont Graduate University, and the Pardee RAND Graduate School.


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John Nesemann
M.D. Candidate at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

A majority of John’s formative years were spent overseas being exposed to and imprinted on by various cultures. He pursued this nascent interest at the University of Virginia by majoring in Anthropology in addition to completing his premedical course work. This work, combined with his passion for medicine, makes for a natural interest in the intersection of medicine and culture and the effects each has on the other. For his distinguished major thesis in Anthropology he conducted six weeks of ethnographic field work in Guyana. While there he gathered Makuxi narratives of illness and healing and used these to assess the convivial theory of sociality attributed to Amazonia and explore what implications the Amerindian cultural stress on affective living could have for western biomedicine. He graduated in May of 2015 and is in the David Geffen School of Medicine class of 2020.

Kristen Schoenhard
M.D. Candidate at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Kristen Schoenhard, a first year medical student at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is honored to be the Co-Director for the 2017 Los Angeles Global Health Conference. She graduated from the University of Colorado in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Prior to her undergraduate education, she served four years in the United States Army as a combat medic. As a young soldier deployed to Iraq, her passion in global health was ignited when she saw the tremendous impact that public health initiatives had in a war zone. After her enlistment with the military, she was selected for an internship with Columbia University in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She extensively studied health disparities, cultural competence, and the social determinants of health to help improve various community projects throughout New York City including a needle exchange clinic and an elderly fall prevention program. In 2013, she further explored her global health interest by volunteering in a children’s hospital in Morocco. She valued the integration of western and non-western traditions as they provided the most effective healthcare of patients in a holistic manner. The totality of her experiences, both local and abroad, have inspired her to pursue a career in medicine with an emphasis in global health disparities. She is motivated by the transcendence of borders, and looks forward to working with a diverse group of individuals who are also passionate about worldwide health improvement.

Logistics Co-Chairs


Abhinav Sharma (Lead Chair)
M.D. Candidate at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

It was not until his on-the-ground experiences in India and Honduras that Abhi became aware of the magnitude of the disparities in access to healthcare. During college, Abhi became committed and inspired to help make a difference and do his part to advocate on behalf of those suffering in silence. He started Emory University’s FACE AIDS chapter to mobilize students and raise money on behalf of Partners in Health’s programs to combat HIV in Rwanda. Upon graduating in 2014, Abhi moved to the Greater Washington, D.C., area and continued his involvement with Partners in Health by co-founding the region’s Partners in Health: Engage chapter. This grassroots, community-organizing movement sprouted from the idea that students and young professionals could make an impact by taking an active role in advocating, educating, and fundraising for Partners in Health’s sustainable, health systems strengthening initiatives in developing countries around the world. Abhi then made a cross-continental move out West, where he is currently a first-year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He hopes to continue his involvement in the global health arena post-medical school, and to incorporate it in his practice.

Ashley Han
B.S. Candidate at the UCLA Department of Human Biology and Society

Ashley is a third year undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Human Biology and Society with a concentration in Medicine and Public Health. During her first two years in college, she participated in actively promoting public health education in undeserved student populations through the UCLA T.E.A.C.H. (Together Educating and Advocating Community Health) program. In tandem, she discovered her passion for Global health through the exposure and opportunities offered by the UCLA Center for World Health. She continues to support and advocate for public and global health efforts on campus as one of the founding members of the pre-professional organization P.I.L.O.T. (Public Health Initiative- Leaders of Tomorrow) and by serving as Co-Logistics Chair on the Planning Committee of the LAGHC 2017. Upon graduation, she looks forward to working hard towards a PA degree and contributing her professional skill set and compassion to global health efforts both local and abroad.

Annemarie Kelleghan
Ph.D. Candidate at the USC Department of Clinical Psychology

Annemarie Kelleghan is a first year clinical science PhD student at USC whose current research focuses on child and adolescent mental health and culture. Prior to attending USC, Annemarie worked at the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Program where she helped develop an intervention for parents of substance abusing adolescents and also assisted in conducting research and implementing the use of a smartphone app for methamphetamine users in the US and China. Annemarie completed her undergraduate education at UCLA where she double majored in Human Biology & Society and Psychology. As an undergraduate, her research involvement included work on gesturing and early development of children in rural and urban India, parenting of children with intellectual disabilities, cognitive behavioral therapy interventions for children with comorbid autism and anxiety, and issues of stigma for adults treated in public mental health settings for severe mental illnesses. Annemarie is passionate about addressing mental health as a global, public health concern using community-based approaches to alleviate health disparities and to improve overall mental health.

Betty Nguyen
B.S. Candidate at the UCLA Department of Biology and Global Health

Betty is a fourth year undergraduate at UCLA studying Biology with interests in social justice, health disparities, and global health. Prior to her work with LAGHC, Betty has served as President of the UCLA Residential Life On Campus Housing Council, where she led a team of 24 students to plan programs for over 11,000 students living in residential halls. Betty has also interned for UCLA Mobile Clinic Project, where she worked with the vulnerable populations of West Hollywood to collect clients’ social histories and helped provide referrals and medication. Her interest in public health led her to study abroad at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where she did ethnographic research on stigma and tuberculosis. Upon graduation, Betty plans to pursue an MD/MPH dual degree and continue working with underserved communities.

Bryan Phillips
M.P.H. Candidate at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Bryan Phillips is pursuing a Masters in Public Health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health focused on Health Policy and Management. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Medical Anthropology and Global Health from the University of Washington where he also was a founding member of the UW chapter of GlobeMed. After graduating, he worked as a Data Analyst for three years at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), a global health research institute affiliated with the University of Washington. At IHME, he conducted quantitative data analysis and survey implementation for projects such as the Global Burden of Disease Study and several health impact evaluation studies. While studying at UCLA, he is also working as a graduate student researcher for Dr. Randall Kuhn evaluating the effectiveness of the Matlab Maternal and Child Health / Family Planning (MCH/FP) program in Bangladesh. After his experience, he is interested in improving health information systems and systems of care that can address the growing burden of non-communicable diseases.

Public Relations Co-Chairs

Matt Hing (Lead Chair)
M.D. Candidate at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Matt Hing is a first year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine interested in global primary care, community health workers, and the intersection of health, violence, and peacebuilding.  Prior to starting at UCLA, Matt was working with Partners in Health as a Community Health Programs Assistant in Chiapas, Mexico, where he helped manage and expand their acompañante community health worker program.  During his undergraduate years, he worked with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health through the Foundation for Sustainable Development to assist a governmental health post in implementing a community-based reproductive and maternal health initiative, and interned with a public HIV/AIDS clinic in Puebla, Mexico to support their health and human rights education programs. Matt also conducted ethnographic research on the medical and community management of gender-based violence in Nicaragua, served as the Global Health University Coordinator for the University of Notre Dame’s chapter of GlobeMed, and led advocacy campaigns through the Notre Dame Center for Social Concerns for improved campus policies toward undocumented students.  Matt holds a B.A. in Spanish and Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame.  

Diana Brown
M.P.H. Candidate at the USC Keck School of Medicine

Diana is a first year MPH student at USC with an interest in global health leadership and environmental sustainability. During her undergraduate career, Diana served as a Peer Health Educator and the Global Health Chair for the organization Generation for United Nations. As a global health advocate, she planned and facilitated campus wide events that promoted greater acknowledgement and involvement in international affairs. She has spent her past two summers volunteering in Honduras and Peru where she collaborated with rural communities to prevent common illnesses through in-home infrastructural development, community leader training, and health education. She intends to pursue a career in the non-profit sector where she is able to promote healthier communities in economically disadvantaged countries. Diana holds a BS in Health Science from California State University, Fullerton.

Eesha Jagtap
M.P.H. Candidate at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Eesha is a first year student at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health working towards her MPH in Health Policy and Management. She received a BA in Psychology from Whittier College, where she had the opportunity to study abroad in Vienna, Austria. There, she observed some of the first groups of migrants making their way to Europe as a result of the Syrian Civil war. This experience sparked her interest in global and public health, specifically focusing on refugee and underserved populations. After graduation she volunteered as a case manager at AIDS Project LA serving the HIV positive community in West Hollywood and the general LA area. Following that experience she spent a few months in Bangkok, Thailand working as an interpreter for asylum seekers and displaced persons who fled religious and political persecution from their home countries. Most recently she worked in administration for a mental health non-profit. After finishing her MPH she hopes to work in global health and program development for underserved populations.

Cosima Lenz
M.P.H. Candidate at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Cosima Lenz is currently pursing her MPH in Policy at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She has her BA from Northwestern University, having majored in German and minored in Global Health. She has studied public health in Stellenbosch, South Africa, where her interest in the field took form. She has done both clinical and statistical research in Germany at the Technical University of Dresden. After graduation, Cosima spent six months in Guatemala working in the Centro de Salud in Quetzaltenango focusing on parasitical illnesses and testing pregnant women for HIV and Syphilis. Most recently she spent her summer interning in the Reproductive Health and Research Department at the Headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva. As part of the Adolescent and At-Risk Populations Group, her work focused on adolescents’ access to quality sexual and reproductive health services in low, middle, and high-income countries.

Allyssa Ungrue
M.P.H. Candidate at the Claremont Graduate University

Allyssa is a first year Masters of Public Health student at the Claremont Graduate University focused in leadership and management. In her undergraduate career, Allyssa studied Family and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Food and Nutrition. Her passion for healthy eating and food security led her to be involved in research and work on improving health and wellness among underserved populations in Northern California. She has also spent time implementing health and wellness programs for communities suffering from mental health issues in Southern California. In the future, Allyssa hopes to work with underserved populations globally in the fight to end the injustice of food insecurity. Lastly, Allyssa currently sits on the Student Association Executive Board and acts as a student representative to create an optimal learning environment and experience at the SCGH.

Speakers Co-Chairs

Sarah Lawrence (Lead Chair)
M.D. Candidate at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Sarah Lawrence is a medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She has a passion for service and a truly interesting and varied background. She graduated high school at 15, lived on a tall ship in the South Pacific for nearly a year, studied Farsi and Arabic, and worked in a Bolivian orphanage for a summer before college. While completing her degree in Peace and Conflict Studies with a focus on conflict transformation and maternal mortality in Afghanistan, Sarah was involved in leadership roles in a number of international non-profits and national organizations focusing on global social justice issues. After graduating in 2010, she worked in international development where, among other things, she led the on-the-ground efforts to rethink health care delivery in East Timor, and worked on the “Winning the Hearts and Minds” campaign in southern Afghanistan. After deciding to go to medical school, Sarah moved to Cape Town, South Africa to work as an emergency medic on ambulances and in one of the central government hospitals for two years before coming back to Berkeley to complete her premedical coursework. During her post-baccalaureate, Sarah helped to found and became the Director of Development for Prosperas International - an NGO working to address childhood malnutrition in the province of La Union in the Philippines through sustainable community gardens and partnerships with local agricultural universities. She still remains on Prosperas’ leadership.

Gulrez Shah Azhar, M.D. M.P.H. M.B.B.S.
Ph.D. Candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School

Gulrez Shah Azhar is an Assistant Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation and a 3rd year Public Policy doctoral candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. An MPH and MD with residency in Community Medicine, he was an Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar of the Public Health Foundation of India. There he taught classroom and distance learning courses, in service trainings and did research. His research explored issues around environmental health, climate change & infectious diseases focusing on surveillance and early warning systems. He examined heat wave mortality due to climate change and helped implement adaptation efforts for the city of Ahmedabad. He researched infectious disease epidemiology and laboratory diagnostic capacity to improve state epidemic surveillance. He led a statewide health facility planning study recommending the numbers, location and design for health centers across the state. Previously, as an intern at the World Health Organization’s Geneva headquarters, he helped in the development of a prioritized NCD research agenda in LMICs and reviewed self-management of NCDs. Additionally; he has analyzed the utilization of healthcare services in India and relapses in TB treatment through the national DOTS program. He was awarded the prestigious Erasmus Mundus scholarship to pursue his MPH degree from the universities of Sheffield, Copenhagen, and École des hautes études en santé publique Rennes. His current interests are in health, environment, and development issues.

Veronica Kapoor
M.P.H. Candidate at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Veronica is currently pursing her Master of Public Health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She previously earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an emphasis on environmental and global health. In North Carolina, Veronica served as a health educator for underprivileged children and as an in-clinic translator for Spanish-speaking patients. Her experiences have solidified her interest in improving the efficiency of health systems while addressing health disparities. Most notably, Veronica was involved in organizing a UNC global health conference, and she is excited to bring another enriching experience to others through LAGHC.

Erika Morikawa
M.D. Candidate at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Erika Morikawa is in her second year of medical training at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Since completing her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at UCLA (‘13), Erika spent her gap years in a research lab working with patients suffering from chronic spinal cord injury. She worked as a research coordinator on a project investigating ways to improve the functional state of this vulnerable population, and attributes her desire to become a physician to this experience. She is currently passionate about women’s health, and spent the past summer in South Africa helping implement point-of-care STI testing among HIV-infected pregnant women in the low-resource outpatient setting. This project is ongoing through 2017 and she continues to be involved as the team tracks birth outcomes in this patient cohort. Her clinical interests involve women’s reproductive health and maternal-fetal health, and she hopes to explore such careers in both domestic and international settings. Erika’s interest in global health truly took off and solidified after attending last year’s LAGHC conference, and hopes that this year’s conference will have a similar positive influence on other attendees.

Anish Parekh
M.D./M.P.H. Candidate at the USC Keck School of Medicine

Anish Parekh is a second year MD/MPH student at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. This is his second year as Co-Chair in the Speaker Subcommittee for the LAGHC. Anish’s South African heritage and Socal upbringing imbued him with a strong interest in the intersection of human rights, climate change, and health. During his undergraduate studies at USC, Anish channeled his interest in global health by co-founding MED SRG, Inc., a nonprofit with the mission to promote sustainable and accessible care for all by collecting and redistributing excess surgical supplies to those most in need abroad. He currently is starting a Los Angeles chapter of Blueprints for Pangaea, a Michigan-based, student-led nonprofit with a similar focus. To investigate the influence of climate on human health, Anish works alongside researchers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to validate a climate-based influenza prediction model using surveillance data from the South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases. To explore the confluence of human rights and health, he is working with faculty and students at Keck to design LA’s first student-run asylum clinic, which will provide forensic medical examinations for asylum seekers. Anish combined his interests by helping to revitalize a six-session class on global health for Keck medical students that will feature diverse speakers, including the President of Operation Smile and the Chief Medical Officer of the Program for Torture Victims.

Co-Founders & Conference Advisers

Anthony Bui, M.P.H.
M.D. Candidate at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Anthony is a second year medical student at DGSOM at UCLA interested in health systems reform, resource allocation, social determinants of health, and primary care. At UCLA, he is a dual Systems of Care and Global Health Pathway student and has led the establishment of the health and social service services arm of Bruin Shelter, a student-run shelter for homeless college students. He spent last summer as a Blum Center Summer Scholar in Lima, Peru conducting chronic disease epidemiology and health systems research at CRONICAS at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. Prior to UCLA, Anthony spent 5 years working in global health and international development. As a research fellow for the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), he was supported by the Gates Foundation to analyze global and domestic healthcare spending and financing. Before IHME, he was a strategy consultant with the Monitor Group (now Monitor Deloitte) in New York City, serving healthcare and government clients on corporate strategy and economic development cases. He has advised and collaborated with corporations, government agencies, and NGOs on population health and development projects in the U.S., Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, India, Vietnam, Mexico, and Peru. A former board member of the Uganda Village Project, Anthony holds a BA in Economics and Public Health from UC Berkeley and a MPH in Global Health Metrics from the University of Washington.

Kara Faktor
M.D. Candidate at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Kara is a second year medical student at David Geffen School of Medicine with an interest in community-centered healthcare, and development of sustainable global partnerships. Before UCLA, she spent a year pursuing public health research in Honduras through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. During her undergraduate career, she established a chapter of Global Medical Brigades at Brandeis University, and led three weeklong medical brigades to rural Honduran communities. Prior to her work in Latin America, Kara interned at the Center for Neuropsychology Evaluation and Treatment in Madrid, Spain, where she assisted in developing workshops to help children with ADHD in improving executive functions. Kara holds a BS in Neuroscience, Biology, and Spanish from Brandeis University. 

Sreetha Sidharthan
M.D. Candidate at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Prior to starting her medical education at the David Geffen School of Medicine, Sreetha spent two years at the National Institutes of Health working as an associate investigator of clinical trials for the treatment of hepatitis C. There she worked closely with the urban, underserved populations of DC and Baltimore and developed an interest in local and global health disparities. She also presented her research at national conferences and was a recipient of the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) Young Investigator Award in 2015.  As an undergraduate, Sreetha received funding through the Mary Gates Scholarship to pursue research on the pathogenesis of human herpesvirus 8. Sreetha holds a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Washington. 

Institutional Staff & Faculty

Thomas J. Coates, Ph.D.
Director, UCLA Center for World Health

Nivvy Hundal, M.P.H.
Program Manager, USC Institute of Global Health

Folasade May, M.D. Ph.D. M.Phil.
Co-Director of Global Health Education Program, UCLA Center for World Health

Laura Van Voorhis
Administrative Assistant, UCLA Center for World Health

Traci Wells, Ph.D.
Director of Education, UCLA Center for World Health

Mellissa Withers, Ph.D., MHS
Assistant Professor of Clinical, USC Institute for Global Health

Read about the inaugural 2016 conference planning team here.