Jasmine Hamilton – a Global Health Fellow

Jasmine Hamilton, a PhD candidate in Dr. Jay Kizhakkedathu’s lab at the CBR, was accepted into Duke University’s prestigious Global Health Fellowship Program this summer. The CBR was pleased to help support Jasmine. Following is her report of this remarkable experience.

“The CBR travel scholarship allowed me to build my knowledge and experience in Global Health this summer (2014). I was accepted as a Global Health Fellow in the Duke University’s Sandford School of Public Policy. This program, which is conducted in Geneva Switzerland, consists of a one- week intensive course in Global Health Policy and Governance, and an 8-12 week internship at a leading organization involved in global health.

Dr. John Reeder (TDR Director), Jasmine Hamilton (Intern), Dr. Hiroki Nakatani (Assitant Director General WHO), Sindhoori Nalla (intern) and Anna Chow (intern)During the one-week course, I was privileged to attend lectures from leading experts, policy makers and implementers that have worked on improving access to medicines and pharmaceutical products, strengthening health systems, shaping the vaccine market, health diplomacy and improving health in low and middle income countries (LMICs). In addition to lectures, our course involved traveling to the sites of organizations leading the global health field. Some personal favourites were the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), Find Diagnostics, Doctors without borders (MSF), Medicines for Malaria Ventures, the World Trade Organization and the South Centre. Having the ability to share ideas and debate with peers from New Zeeland, Austria and the US, as well as world renowned experts in health care, was one of the richest experiences that I have had as a graduate student.

My 12-week internship was in the Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) at the World Health Organization. The emphasis of the TDR is to combat neglected diseases of poverty through the direct strengthening of research capacity in LMICs. My internship with the research capacity strengthening team involved investigating potential tools for enhancing collaboration among researchers in LMICs. I studied the experience of 16 academic institutions based in the USA, Europe and Australia and interviewed potential implementers and departments at the WHO to define specifications of the proposed expert network. I compiled a report of these findings, made recommendations to the TDR and began defining the implementation requirements of the system.

I am committed to a career which allows me to translate research into policies that advance healthcare. I am especially passionate about creating opportunities to propel medical innovation and strengthen the healthcare system in South America and the Caribbean, where I was born and raised. My participation in the Duke University program allowed me to learn about some of the complexities involved in policy making. Moreover, it enabled me to become actively involved in research capacity building, which is critical to advancing health care anywhere in the world. I have greatly improved my knowledge of some of the factors that advance and hinder progress in global health and have also discovered new skills that I possess that are valuable to this career path but could only be realized in a setting like that provided by the Duke program. I am very thankful for this opportunity and look forward to the many ways in which it will shape my career path in the future.”