Mollie Holmberg is a biology major who takes seriously the idea that health exists at the intersection of human-driven and ecological factors. Mollie believes that studies of global health and ecology should be united as a single discipline because both examine how living things interact with their environment. Rather than dividing up the world among disciplines studying human populations or non-human populations, she believes the greatest progress can be made by collapsing this distinction.
Mollie became involved in global health after Professor Sparke, Director of the Minor, was a guest speaker in one of her courses. He explained how economic policies effect health, demonstrating to Mollie that people from multiple disciplines can be health professionals. Mollie drew parallels between Professor Sparke’s talk and her major, biology, expanding concepts she had learned through the Human Ecosystem Model. Mollie also felt encouraged to get involved in global health when Dr. Paul Pottinger, a speaker at one of the department’s monthly mixers, told her that her interests naturally allied with a career in global health.
In terms of global health challenges, Mollie cites the fact that our interventions must be driven by good data, but that data from places most in need is also most difficult to obtain. She also believes that good global health will happen only as standards of living are raised globally and after some measure of economic redistribution is introduced. To achieve the latter, Mollie argues that we must focus on educating women and girls, and that we must recognize that biomedical and behavioral interventions cannot be successful in the context of intense poverty.