This year, the University of Washington Department of Global Health is participating in Husky Giving Day to raise support for the Endowed Fellowship for Global Health Excellence, Equity and Impact. The Fellowship aims to broaden diversity and excellence within the field of global health by supporting students who come from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in the field and who might not otherwise be able to attend graduate school.

Each year, six students receive two different types of fellowships: either a $5k award and waiver of out-of-state-tuition (if applicable) or a Research Assistantship (RAship), which covers tuition, fees, health insurance, and a living stipend.

The value of an RAship extends beyond financial assistance. It also provides practical research experience and matches students with a faculty mentor. For example, past fellowship awardees have worked with global health professors Carey Farquhar, Donna Denno, and Pamela Collins on projects related to controlling the spread of sexually transmitted infections, understanding the cause of death in malnourished children, and researching child and adolescent mental health, respectively.

Students who receive these awards go on to impressive and impactful careers at highly regarded organizations around the world. We caught up with three such outstanding awardees to better understand the role the fellowship played in their academic and professional success: Shadae Paul, Sofia De Anda, and Mame Mareme Diakhate.

Profile photo of Shadae Paul

Shadae Paul (MPH, MPA '19)

After earning an MPH in Global Health and an MPA in 2019, Shadae Paul returned to her home state of Maryland to work for an independent regulatory agency and serve in local government. As a Program Manager at the Maryland Health Care Commission in Baltimore, she works under executive direction on projects related to state health policy and government relations. In frequent contact with state delegates, policy makers, and purchasers from public and private health agencies, she is gaining firsthand knowledge of how effective health policy can improve the lives of Marylanders.

Shadae doesn’t just interface with public officials; she is a public official in her own right. As the Vice President of the Washington County Commission for Women, she works alongside fellow Commissioners from various professional backgrounds to support the wellbeing of women and girls through advocacy, education, and resource provision.

Without the Endowed Fellowship for Global Health Excellence, Equity and Impact, Shadae says she may not have been able to pursue her education at UW. And as an emerging community leader, she looks for ways to provide similar assistance to those who need it most.

 “The financial relief provided by this award allowed me to focus on my graduate studies. In my professional career, I’m always looking for opportunities to pay it forward by developing scholarships and other forms of financial assistance to support educational advancement,” said Shadae.

 

Profile photo of Sofia De Anda

Sofia De Anda (MPH '19)

Sofia De Anda also graduated in 2019 with an MPH in Global Health. Like Shadae, Sofia’s decision to attend UW was heavily influenced by the Endowed Fellowship for Global Health Excellence, Equity and Impact Award.

“As a first-generation, Latinx graduate student, graduate school can be intimidating, and the fellowship reaffirmed my value and belonging in the community,” shares Sofia. 

Today, she is a PHI/CDC Global Health Fellow, working on the front lines of global health while developing the skills needed to make meaningful contributions to today’s global health challenges. For Sofia, this means supporting the CDC South Africa’s Quality Improvement Branch within the Division of Global HIV and TB. In her role, she oversees reporting, monitoring, and evaluation of Siyenza, an initiative to identify, treat, and retain people living with HIV to achieve suppression of the virus.

When the PHI/CDC fellowship ends, she plans to renew her position but ultimately hopes to pursue a PhD in epidemiology or implementation science. And she credits the Endowed Fellowship for Global Health Excellence, Equity and Impact for helping make these opportunities available.

“This fellowship launched my career without a doubt and the longevity of this investment is apparent in the support I receive to this day. The lasting mentorship I’ve received and the ability to manage my previous student debt has allowed me to continue to pursue a path that prioritizes learning,” says Sofia.

 

Profile photo of Mame Mareme Diakhate

Mame Mareme Diakhate (MPH ’20)

Mame Mareme Diakhate is a data manager for the University of Washington Global Center for Integrated Health of Women, Adolescents, and Children (Global WACh). Working in academic research, she also has opportunities to author studies and publish in journals. Mareme says the Endowed Fellowship for Global Health Excellence, Equity and Impact helped define her career trajectory, tracing a direct line from the award to her current role in academia

As a first-year student, she worked as a research assistant (RA) on the Minimally Invasive Tissue Sampling (MITS) in the Childhood Acute Illness and Nutrition Network (CHAIN) and on the Environmental Enteric Dysfunction (EED) studies with Dr. Donna Denno. That first RAship connected her to her practicum experience, where she became the data manager for various studies including the Toto Bora trial at Global WACh in the Gut Health and Child Survival Scientific Priority Area. After graduating with an MPH in Global Health in 2020, she was offered a full-time role with the same team.

“The fellowship opened many doors of opportunities for me,” says Mareme. “Moreover, as someone who came from a low-income background it allowed me to successfully achieve my academic and career goals without stressing about being able to afford it.”

The Endowed Fellowship for Global Health Excellence, Equity and Impact is pivotal to helping address barriers to the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority studentsConsider making a personal gift on Husky Giving Day.

BY AMY GOLDSTEIN