2018-2020 Fellows

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Craig Avery

Craig Avery was born and raised in Sanders, Arizona and is a member of the Navajo Nation tribe. He is Honágháahnii (One-Walks-Around Clan), born for Tsi’naajinii (Black-Streaked-Wood People), his maternal grandfather is Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House People), and his paternal grandfather is Tó’áhání (Near-To-Water Clan). Craig received his Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Pre Health Emphasis, from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. Before accepting his current position, he worked for the Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Project for three years as a Health Educator, and worked six months for Tsaile Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Department as a Recreation Specialist. He is currently employed by Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility (CCHCF) and has worked there for the past three years as a Diabetes Health Coach. He provides direct patient care to patients diagnosed with diabetes mellitus within Internal Medicine and other outpatient departments. Craig speaks and understands the Navajo language and serves as an interpreter during patient appointment visits with providers. Mr. Avery has discovered his passion for American Indian health care, and hopes to continue to serve his native people. As a HEAL Initiative fellow, he is excited to expand his skill-set in leadership and grow personally and professionally. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and running. Craig is a fellow at Chinle Comprehensive Healthcare Facility in Chinle, Arizona

Andrethia Bia-James

Andrethia Bia-James grew up on the Navajo Reservation near Red Mesa, Arizona. She is of the Red Bottom People clan and born for the Coyote Pass-Jemez clan, her maternal grandfather is of the Mud clan, and her paternal grandfather is of the Bitter Water clan. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and an Associate Degree in Navajo Studies, Elementary Education and Liberal Arts. Andrethia has worked in a diverse range of settings, including art, education, law enforcement, and as a park ranger. She currently works at Indian Health Services Chinle Service Unit as an Integrated Behavioral Health Coach where she strives to provide quality and accessible whole-person care for her Dine People. She has admired the values and aims of the HEAL initiative since seeing other HEAL fellows bring empowering change to serve her community and the Navajo Nation. She has always been interested in social justice and community involvement. In Chinle, she volunteered at the food bank, family services, and at the hospital. Her hobbies include embracing the simple life of enjoying time with her family, traveling to new places, hiking, running, and painting landscapes. Andrethia is a fellow at Chinle Comprehensive Healthcare Facility  in Chinle, Arizona.

Diana Dennis

Diana Dennis was born and raised in Nimba County in a little town called Yekepa. Traditionally, she’s from Zorzor District in Lofa County. She received a diploma in nursing from the Phebe Hospital and School of Nursing in Suakoko, Bong County. Upon her graduation from the training program, she sat the entrance exam to enroll at Cuttington University, where she obtained a Bachelor Degree in Nursing. She later started work with the Ministry of Health as an investigator. She was hired by Last Mile Health as a Community Clinical Supervisor,then later transition to the Ministry of Health as Community Health Services Supervisor (CHSS). She’s now fully employed with Last Mile Health as a Quality Assurance Officer. In her free time, she loves to watch movies, read books, and spend time with friends. Her goal is to keep serving the underserved. She is a fellow at Last Mile Health in Liberia.

Djoume Diakite

Djoume Diakite was born and raised in Farabala, Sikasso, Mali and received his MBBS from the University of Bamako Faculty of Medicine. In 2015 he co-founded Muso and took on the role of Community Health Worker Manager. From 2008 -2010 he was the Head of Health Programs before becoming the Muso Program Director in 2010. Since 2015, Djoume has been a HEAL Site Mentor & Advisor. He is a fellow at Muso in Mali.

Robynn Frank

Robynn Frank is Dine’ born and was raised in Sanostee, New Mexico. Her clans are Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water clan), born for Tachii’nii (Red Running Into Water clan), her maternal grandfather is Kinyaa’aanii (Towering House clan) and her paternal grandfather is Hooghanlani (Many Hogans clan). In 2015, Robynn completed an internship with the Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program with Indian Health Service at the Shiprock site; it was during this time she realized that “home” is where she needs to be. After completing this internship, Robynn received her Bachelor Degree in Public Health with a minor in History from New Mexico State University. Robynn has worked with Indian Health Service ever since and has 2 years experience in working with the HIV/AIDS Program at Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock. She is particularly passionate about working with those who are living with HIV/AIDS on the Navajo Reservation and is a member of the New Mexico’s HIV Community Planning and Action Group. She is excited to embark on her journey as a HEAL fellow. She is a fellow at Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico.

Jennifer Gorman

Jennifer Gorman was born and raised in Chinle, AZ in the heart of the Navajo Reservation. She attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and obtained her B.S. in Exercise Science from Arizona State University. After 7 years of working at Chinle Comprehensive Healthcare Facility she accepted a position at Fort Defiance Indian Hospital Board, Inc. (FDIHB) Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance, AZ. She obtained her M.S. in Sports Management from California University of Pennsylvania and is now the Director of Wellness & Fitness at FDIHB Nihi Dine’e Ba Wellness Center. She has worked in the fitness field for over 15 years and is committed to improving the overall health and wellbeing of the Navajo community through exercise and physical activity. She enjoys running, hiking, spending time with family and eating different foods. She is hard-working, but doesn’t like to take herself too seriously. Jennifer is a fellow at Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

Hannah Jones

Hannah Jones was born in Botswana and grew up in Malawi and Kenya. She left the warmth of Africa to study International Relations at Tufts University in Massachusetts. While at Tufts, she spent a year in Paris learning French and re-examining her career goals. After graduating, Hannah worked at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC. However, she eventually decided to take the plunge and pursue a career in medicine. So, she returned to Massachusetts to complete the pre-medical requirements, while also working at a Boston-based ophthalmology practice. She attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and stayed in the city to complete her internal medicine residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Throughout this time, she took every opportunity to expand her global health horizons, including trips to Cameroon, Eastern and Southern Africa and Haiti, as well as being involved in the CDC Ebola response training workshops in Aniston, Alabama. She also did a rotation on the Navajo reservation in Kayenta, Arizona, which helped solidify her goal of becoming a HEAL fellow after residency. She will be working in at Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona and at Muso in Bamako, Mali.

Muhammad (Shoaib) Khan

Muhammad (Shoaib) Khan was raised in Riyadh and Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He finished his residency in Family and Community Medicine at the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa, OK. His interest in global health is a combination of many different things including the influence of his parents in helping him choose a career. In medical school, he worked directly in an under-resourced public hospital and volunteered as an administrator in a healthcare NGO. He was also an intern in a slum hospital, contributed in natural disaster relief work, and has done 10 years of research in primary care, public health, infectious disease, pediatric cardiac diseases and outcomes across the world. When choosing a career, he wants to continue being a clinician (especially in the under-served settings), a public health professional involved in research and academics, and most importantly become a leader that can bring about change. He is a fellow at Last Mile Health in Liberia and at Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

Abhisake (Abhi) Kole

Abhisake (Abhi) Kole Abhi was born in Calcutta, India. He finished his medical school at Emory University and PhD at University of Oxford with residency in Internal Medicine at Emory University. He became interested in the economic toll of untreated chronic illnesses through economic development courses in his undergraduate studies. He believes by increasing access to healthcare, equity in other parts of society will be achievable. During his MD/PhD, he studied cellular immunology of the gut mucosa in the context of maintaining homeostasis in the face of infectious and non-infectious antigens. During residency, he rotated through the Indian Health Services in Tuba City, AZ and Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He currently volunteers regularly at a free refugee clinic near Atlanta, GA. He also enjoys mentoring children via several programs including a sickle cell buddy program, autism buddy program, and Destination Imagination, a creative problem solving program that combines theatrical and scientific elements. Abhi is a fellow at Jan Swasthya Sahjog in India and at UCSF Medical Center at San Francisco, California.

Shruti Kumar

Shruti Kumar grew up in Atlanta, GA and remained connected to her Indian roots with frequent trips during her childhood. During her undergraduate years at Georgia Tech, she worked with FIMRC and rotated at their clinical site in El Salvador. She attended medical school at GA-PCOM during which she completed a one-month clerkship in New Delhi, India. Shruti will complete her training at the Middlesex Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program in June 2018 where she participated in the Global & Community Health Track. Her desire to work in India longitudinally led her to travel to India several times during residency. She has also participated in a Spanish language immersion program in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala where she was able to provide care to locals at the free health clinic and participate in mobile nutrition clinics. More recently, she worked with the inpatient pediatric team at CHUK in Kigali, Rwanda where she was able to engage with pediatric residents and medical students, an experience which enabled her to further develop her interests in teaching and medical education. Shruti is a fellow at Jan Swasthya Sahyog in India and at Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

Brian McPhee

Brian McPhee is a child and adult psychiatrist who recently graduated from the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at UCLA, after completing his Adult Psychiatry Residency at the same institution. He attended medical school at UCSF and was in the inaugural class of the UCSF PRIME Urban Underserved program, an additive curriculum with a focus on training physicians to work in low-resource and often marginalized settings. Growing up he was provided with an education in both the social determinants of health and the role of power and inequality in cultural relations. He moved to New York City to attend college at NYU, where he studied anthropology and sociology. He stayed in New York and became a member of an avant-garde performance troupe with a group of visual and performance artists on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. After performing on tour in Europe, he returned to New York and worked for an HIV non-profit and began pursuing a career in medicine. He attended a post-baccalaureate program for entrance to medical school, and worked at the New York State AIDS Institute, as a researcher in quality improvement and healthcare delivery services. Since graduating medical school, he has worked for the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health, on a school-based project in Nicaragua for 6 months with at-risk youth and families, and at a residential school in the northeast of Guatemala for 4 months. He is excited to work in Navajo Nation at the Gallup Indian Medical Center and in western Nepal at Possible in Achham.

Mariana Montaño

Mariana Montaño is from Mexico City. She attended medical school at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She completed her social service year as a primary-care physician in rural Chiapas with Compañeros en Salud (CES). After finishing her social service year, she worked closely with Community Health Workers and has spent her last year working as the Maternal Health Coordinator at CES. Throughout these years, she received additional training in social justice and global health. Mariana is passionate about improving women´s health and empowering them, she is especially interested in obstetric care and ceasing obstetric violence. Her long-term goal is to keep strengthening public health systems in rural areas. She is very excited to join the HEAL family and to hear about other HEAL fellow´s experiences. Mariana is a site fellow at Compañeros En Salud in Mexico.

Margaret (Maggie) Prior

Margaret (Maggie) Prior grew up in Michigan and studied Biology as an undergraduate at DePaul University in Chicago. She then completed graduate work in Pharmacology and her MD at Wayne State University in Detroit. She graduated from the OB/Gyn residency program at Beaumont Health in the Detroit area. During her residency, she became interested in global health while spending time working in Kenya with a particular interest in HPV testing and cervical cancer research. In her free time, she is an avid runner, and loves to travel and read. She is a fellow at Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo in Malawi and at the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico.

Neha Sagar

Neha Sagar completed her graduate education from Dr. V.M, Government Medical College, Solapur, Maharashtra, India. Neha was a part of the Youth Movement in Maharashtra called Nirman, which gave her a huge opportunity to meet many like minded friends and mentors working for a social cause. A few of her friends from Nirman formed a group who wished to continue to serve the under-served areas and wished to explore similar places. As a part of their exploration, she worked in Jan Swasthya Sahyog, as a volunteer for a year and later joined the DNB, Family Medicine course 2015 batch in JSS as a resident doctor. Neha is currently working in JSS as a third year Resident. She is a fellow at Jan Swasthya Sahyog in India.

Kalpana Shah

Kalpana Shah was born and brought up in Gujarat, India. She completed her MBBS with a post-graduate degree in anaesthesia from Gujarat University. Immediately after post-graduation she joined SEWA Rural, a voluntary organization in south Gujarat working for the community health and integrated development of poor youth and women of rural tribal families. She has more than 25 years of professional experience which includes basic anesthesia work in wide, typical surgical areas related to tribal patients. She has also worked hard for surgical camps of plastic surgery, polio, gynecology oculoplasty etc. Some of her interests include working to expand and develop the operating theater and a focus on infection control. She developed and implemented a critical infection control protocol after the in-depth study of different areas of the hospital after providing the required trainings. She has frequently been invited as a resource person at state and national level hospitals to evaluate infection control qualities. Her hobbies include reading, cooking, gardening, home decorating and travelling. Her ultimate goal is to stay in this remote location to serve the needy and realize the purpose of human birth. Kalpana is a fellow at SEWA Rural in India.

George Talama

George Talama completed his primary school at Naotcha Full Primary School and Chilomoni Catholic Primary School and secondary level education at Henry Henderson Institute. He enrolled at University of Malawi, College of Medicine in 2006 and finished his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in October 2011. George completed his internship at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe in May 2013. He was then posted by the Ministry of Health to Kasungu District Hospital where he worked from July 2013 to November 2016. At Kasungu District Hospital he worked as a Medical Officer doing direct patient care and was then promoted to work as an In-charge / Director of the Hospital. In November 2016, he left the government and joined Partners in Health (PIH) where he currently works as a Clinical Manager. George joined PIH due to his passion to serve poor people and to gain a better understanding of health equity. George’s vision is to help in alleviating the health disparities that exist between the rich and the poor. He is a fellow at Abwenzi Pa Za Umuyo in Malawi.

Evan Taylor

Evan Taylor received his Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Combined training at the University of California, San Diego. He had initially planned to be a writer while studying English Literature at Tufts University but after graduation he found a passion for global and rural health while serving as a Health Education Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa. He met his wife while attending the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and they still consider Colorado home. In addition to his time in the Peace Corps, he has done global health work in Mali with Engineers Without Borders, and worked in Uganda and Saipan. He enjoys running, hiking, burritos, zombie shows, surfing, and spending time with his wife Claire and son Oliver. Evan is a fellow at Abwenzi Pa Za Umuyo in Malawi and at Chinle Comprehensive Healthcare Facility  in Chinle, Arizona.

Jessica Top

Jessica Top grew up in South Dakota with an interest in global health that began at a young age. She attended Wheaton College in the Chicago area where she earned a B.S. in Cross-Cultural Healthcare, then returned home to attend medical school at the University of South Dakota. USD exposed her to medicine in underserved areas of the Midwest as well as Haiti which confirmed her desire to pursue a career involving global health and providing care for the underserved. She did her pediatric residency at Virginia Tech Carilion in the Appalachian mountains, then stayed on as a chief resident and attending pediatric hospitalist. Throughout her training she has had experience with the NGO Mission Haiti, Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital, and garnering experience in Ghana and Malawi. She has spent the last two years as a teaching pediatric hospitalist, then decided to pursue more training and experience in global health through the HEAL fellowship. She has a passion for medical education, quality improvement in the hospital setting, and providing care for underserved children. She loves mountain biking, snowboarding, trail running, Thai food, her nephews, and a good book. She is thrilled to join the HEAL family and provide care at Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona and SEWA Rural in Jhagadia, India.

Natasha Topaha

Natasha Topaha grew up on the Navajo Reservation. She has lived in Burnside, AZ most of her life. Her clans are Tódich'ii'nii (Bitter Water clan) born for Honágháahnii (One-walks-around clan), her maternal grandfather is Tábąąhá (Water's Edge clan), paternal grandfather is Kiyaa'áanii (The Towering House clan). Natasha graduated from Ganado High School and attended Eastern Arizona College. However, it wasn’t until she attended Everest College for Medical Assisting that she found her passion for the healthcare field. She received a Diploma in Medical Assisting and is a Nationally Certified Medical Assistant. Natasha’s goal is to go back to school to become a registered nurse. Currently, she works in the Mobile Health & Outreach Services Department at Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance, AZ. She enjoys being out in the community and helping bring healthcare services to those in need. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her two kids as well as reading, running, and biking. Natasha is currently training to run the Grand Canyon Half Marathon this fall. She is a fellow at Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

Clarice Upshaw

Clarice Upshaw was born in a small community on the Navajo reservation called Fort Defiance, Arizona. Clarice is of the Coyote Pass-Jemez clan born for the One Walks Around people. Her maternal grandfather is of the Mud clan, and her paternal grandfather is of the Bitter Water clan. Clarice received her Associate Degree in Nursing and began working in Indian Health Service (IHS). In 2016, she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and has dedicated a total of thirty years of nursing in IHS. She has worked in many facets in nursing from bedside staff nurse, supervisory clinical nurse, and currently as a nurse case manager in the Behavioral Health department at Gallup Indian Medical Center in New Mexico. Clarice is currently seeking state board certification as a nurse case manager. She has volunteered her time in various community projects with an emphasis on promoting harmony with self, family, neighbors, and other members of the community. She enjoys walking in the country, physical exercise, watching movies, working outdoors, learning new things and make an honest effort to apply healthy living habits into all that she does. She also enjoy spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. This spring her family project is to start a vegetable garden, seeing the importance in learning, teaching, and representing healthy life choices. Clarice is a fellow at Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup, New Mexico.