Every year, the University of Washington Department of Global Health (DGH) honors three exceptional graduate students who demonstrate a strong commitment to the field of global health. In addition to these departmental honorees, DGH nominates two candidates to the Gilbert S. Omenn Award, the School of Public Health’s most prestigious recognition for students. Awardees and nominees are selected based on a combination of academic excellence, impactful interdisciplinary research, and collaborations with local and global partners.
This year, we’re thrilled to announce that global health metrics & implementation science PhD student Elizabeth Irungu was selected as one of two Omenn Award recipients for her impressive work on HIV prevention research, programming, and policy.
We’re also pleased to share that the 2021 Global Health Outstanding Student Award winners are Saida Mahamud Tukri, a master’s student who researched the intersection of mental health and forced migration, Veronica Anjali Davé, a doctoral student who studied the role of T cells in protecting the female genital tract against infections, and Alyssa Hummel, a medical student who collaborated with Peruvian trans women to create an interactive presentation regarding hormone therapy and HIV education.
“The Department of Global Health Outstanding Student Awards are an important recognition of students whose work exemplifies our values including excellence, innovation, impact, social justice and equity,” said Susan Graham, associate chair for academic programs. “We are thrilled to recognize Saida, Veronica, Alyssa, and Elizabeth for their unique and impactful contributions as trainees. We are extremely proud of all our DGH students, who have completed rigorous coursework and training while navigating COVID-related challenges that were truly formidable.”
All winners are spotlighted during both the UW School of Public Health (SPH) Awards of Excellence ceremony and the DGH Graduation celebration, held virtually.
Read more about the accomplishments of these four extraordinary students.
GILBERT S. OMENN AWARD FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE (PHD)
Elizabeth Irungu, PhD Global Health Metrics & Implementation Science
Dr. Elizabeth Irungu joined the Global Health Metrics and Implementation Science PhD program in 2019. She has demonstrated great productivity in the public health setting. For example, as country director for the Partners Scale-Up Project in Kenya, she contributed immensely to the PrEP technical working group activities that guided PrEP implementation in public health facilities country wide. At the 2021 Virtual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, Elizabeth had the opportunity to discuss the positive outcomes of this program during a debate-style session with former US Global AID Coordinator Ambassador Mark Dybul. Elizabeth has also garnered extensive experience in HIV prevention clinical trials and has been key personnel in several HIV prevention studies, leading to her having authorship in 6 of 26 peer-reviewed publications with high-impact journals.
OUTSTANDING MASTER’S STUDENT
Saida Mahamud Tukri, MPH
Saida Mahamud is a Global Health MPH student earning a certificate in International Humanitarian Response. She is also a 2020 recipient of DGH’s Excellence, Equity, and Impact Fellowship. Her work focuses on mental health and forced migration. Saida’s thesis examined if social connectedness can serve as a moderator between post-migration stressors and depression in a sample of displaced persons. For her practicum, she prepared strategic seasonal injury prevention messages and conducted evidence-based literature review to support the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center mission. She has been involved in a range of local programs and research with the World Health Organization, Yemen Relief Reconstruction Foundation, and Powerful Voices.
OUTSTANDING PHD STUDENT
Veronica Anjali Davé, PhD Pathobiology
Veronica Anjali Davé was born in San Diego, CA. She completed her B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology and her M.S. in Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, where she researched molecular biomarkers of environmental chemical exposure and obesity among Mexican-American mothers and children in the laboratory of Nina Holland. Veronica then joined the laboratories of Martin Prlic and Jennifer Lund at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to pursue her PhD in Pathobiology at the University of Washington. During her PhD, she studied the role of T cells in protecting the female genital tract against infections of global health importance.
MEDICAL STUDENT LEADERSHIP/ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Alyssa Hummel, MD, MPH
Alyssa Hummel completed the Global Health Pathway certificate in the UW School of Medicine and obtained an MPH in Global Health. During her time at UW, Hummel immersed herself in the Seattle community. She has volunteered with multiple student-run clinics where she offered healthcare screenings to LatinX immigrants and homeless individuals. Alyssa also served on the Department of Global Health Curriculum Committee and assembled COVID-19 test kits for the Greater Seattle Coronavirus Network. Internationally, she participated in the Global Health Immersion Program where she collaborated with Peruvian trans women to create an interactive presentation regarding hormone therapy and HIV education with accompanying brochures. Following graduation, Alyssa will pursue a residency in Internal Medicine at University of Arizona-Phoenix