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2015-2017 Fellows


Jessica Bender

Jessica Bender grew up in the Pacific Northwest where she attended medical school at the University of Washington. She did her undergraduate studies in Biology and Science in Human Culture at Northwestern University and then  worked at the American Red Cross in Seattle. She completed her internal medicine residency training and chief residency at Boston University, focusing on refugee health and primary care. She has global health experience in Morocco, Madagascar, and Liberia. Her professional interests include health systems strengthening through primary care networks, quality improvement, and medical education.

Kelvin Chan

Kelvin Chan is originally from the Los Angeles area. He did his undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley and majored in Cognitive Science, and his medical school training at Wake Forest University. He subsequently completed his residency in internal medicine at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, a county hospital in Los Angeles, where he was first exposed to global health after doing a rotation at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. After finishing residency, Kelvin completed a chief year, and stayed on board working as an academic hospitalist at Olive View. Kelvin was a rotating fellow who served at Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup, New Mexico and at Last Mile Health in Liberia.

Emilia Connolly

Emilia Connolly is currently a pediatric chief resident at Jefferson Medical College/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, PA, where she also completed her pediatric residency. She grew up in California, where her family currently lives, and attended Smith College for her undergraduate work. Emilia worked in pharmaceutical development for 2 years and then attended the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey for medical school. She has been fortunate to have several global health experiences in eastern Africa during her training and is thrilled to learn and grow as a clinician and educator in the next two years. Emilia was a rotating fellow who served at Tséhootsooí Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona and at Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo in Malawi.

Amelia Fisher

Amelia Fisher is a recent graduate of the pediatric residency at the University of Vermont Medical Center. She grew up in Vermont and came back to the state for residency. She did her undergraduate studies in biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. She then went on to complete her MD at the University of California, San Francisco. She has done global health work in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, with a focus on pediatric HIV. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors- running, hiking, or biking. Amelia was a rotating fellow who served at Tséhootsooí Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona and at Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo in Malawi.

Kami Groten

Kami Groten is of the Red House People Clan, born for the Water Flows Together Clan. Her maternal grandfather is of the One Who Walks Around Clan and her paternal grandfather is of the Big Water Clan. She grew up a stone’s throw from the Navajo Reservation in Gallup, New Mexico. She attended the University of New Mexico and studied Signed Language Interpreting and Biology before participating in the Southern California Regional Dental Post-Baccalaureate Program at UCLA’s School of Dentistry. She received her dental training with an emphasis in Rural Health from the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine in 2013. She then returned back home and has been working as a general dentist with the Indian Health Service at Gallup Indian Medical Center. She is a first time mom to a rambunctious little boy. He absolutely hates brushing his teeth, but like his mom, he loves the outdoors. She also enjoys camping, fishing, indoor rock climbing, snowboarding, competitive bowling, reading, going to the movies and pulling teeth. Kami was a site fellow at Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup, New Mexico.

Tarnue Jallah

Tarnue Jallah is from Lofa county in the northern part of Liberia. He is currently working as a Site Manager at Last Mile Health in Konobo District, Grand Gedeh county. He started working with Last Mile Health in March 2013. When he is not working, Tarnue enjoys playing soccer and reading. His favorite food is rice with soup, especially with greens and palm oil. Tarnue was a site fellow at Last Mile Health in Liberia.

Alice Johnson

Alice Johnson is a rural health Liberian nurse who hails from Lofa County. She got involved in nursing care after witnessing and living through many terrible experiences during and after the Liberian Civil War. As a nurse working in the hospital's emergency department, she saw that many patients, especially those coming from last mile villages, could not make it to the hospital or were too late. As a person, a nurse, and an aspiring Public Health Practitioner, Alice is motivated by the fact that health is a basic human right and that everyone deserves quality health care no matter who they are or where they live. In a post war country like Liberia, she believes her country needs a grass roots health care approach that involves community health workers. While she is not working, Alice likes listening to music and chatting with friends. Her favorite Liberian dish is spicy potatoes and greens with palm oil. Alice was a site fellow at Last Mile Health in Liberia.

Annie Khan

Annie Khan is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area. As a first-generation child of immigrants, her personal experiences with diversity helped foster her interest in community-oriented health care leading to a career in Family Medicine. She completed residency at Boston Medical Center, which serves Boston’s diverse urban underserved populations. After completing undergraduate studies at University of California, Davis, she volunteered and provided preventive and reproductive health care education to women and children in Afghani refugee camps on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. After living amongst vulnerable populations, she wanted to better understand community oriented health care of all ages in resource poor areas, eventually leading to a career in clinical medicine. She went off to Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she continued work in global health through volunteering at Arco Iris Hospital in La Paz, Bolivia and completing research involving risk factors associated with heminthic infections in Assendabo, a rural village in Ethiopia. Her specific interests are International/Refugee Health, Maternal Child Health, Family Planning and Addiction Medicine. Outside of medicine, her hobbies include theater, writing comedic skits, traveling, and hiking. She is fluent in Punjabi/Hindko and proficient in Urdu. Annie was a rotating fellow who served at Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico and at Jan Swasthya Sahyog in India.

Anna Landau

Anna Landau is currently a 3rd year family medicine resident at UCLA/Harbor. Anna’s interest in medicine started at the early age of four, with a plastic stethoscope, and was fostered through many personal and family experiences with the health care system over the years. She studied chemistry and Latin American studies at Barnard College, and attended University of Arizona for both Medical School and to complete her Masters in Public Health. She was drawn to the philosophy of Family Medicine when she worked as a promotora for a community clinic in Tucson, AZ. It seemed to be the perfect mix of caring for individuals and communities. It was a way to meld her passion for preventive care and public health with medicine, while at the same time addressing social and economic disparities and barriers to healthcare access among women, immigrants and minorities. Growing up speaking Spanish and French, the extension to global health was a natural progression. Anna has worked in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, helping to establish sustainable locally-driven medical care, train lay health workers and help indigenous communities conduct health needs assessments. During her MPH work she partnered with the Department of Health Services to evaluate the legal policy regarding TB patients crossing the US-Mexico Border. She has helped to coordinate and run free clinics for refugees at the University of Arizona, as well as homeless patients in Los Angeles. She has been very involved the resident union as an elected delegate, focusing her work on Women in Medicine programming, contract negotiations, and staff & patient safety issues.  She recently has been involved in an exciting new project with group visits focusing ways to combat teen obesity.  Annie was a rotating fellow who served at Tuba City Regional Health Care in Tuba City, Arizona and at Last Mile Health in Liberia.

Tim Laux

Tim Laux grew up in New York (the suburbs of the City) and completed medical school at the University of Pittsburgh and subsequently Internal Medicine residency at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. He has previous experience working with Chronic Kidney Disease of Non-Traditional Causes (CKDnT) in Nicaragua and Guatemala, one of a number of recently described regional nephropathies affecting rural agricultural communities worldwide. He has done previous clinical work at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi but is not proud of this one month of voluntourism. His clinical interests include Critical Care in lower resource settings and tuberculosis and his ethical interests include the maturation of global health from a fad to an established, respected specialty. He can adamantly argue that tuberculosis is the most evil (yes, evil) of all the diseases. His interest in the HEAL Initiative stems from a desire to gain clinical experience in low-and-middle-income countries to better perform clinical research in the same setting(s). He speaks Spanish at near fluency and enjoys learning Hindi. The soccer / football team he supports is Fulham FC. Tim was a rotating fellow who served at Tséhootsooí Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona and at Jan Swasthya Sahyog in India.

Jimena Maza

Jimena Maza was born and rised in La Peninsula de Yucatan Mexico, (for her, the Paradaise on earth), in a very loving family. She did medical school in La Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan. After she finished medical school, she spent one year working in a rural clinic in a Mayan community close to Chichen Itza. Since then, she has been working as a clinical supervisor at Compañeros en Salud (CES) in la Sierra Madre de Chiapas. Jimena was a site fellow at Compañeros en Salud in Mexico.

Lawrence Nazimera

Lawrence Nazimera is a medical doctor working with Malawi’s Ministry of Health in the remote district of Neno. After graduating in 2011 from the Malawi College of Medicine with a Bachelors of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Dr Nazimera did an eighteen month internship at Queen Elizabeth Central hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. In 2013, he was recruited by the Ministry of Health as Neno’s District Health Officer, the highest ranking health official in a district of 150,000 people. In the role of District Health Officer, Dr Nazimera leads, manages, and coordinates all health related programs that take place within the district. This includes supervising the District Health Management Team, managing the district’s health budget, performing clinical and mentorship duties in the inpatient wards, coordinating with several multi-sectoral partners, and spearheading strategic planning for the district. Dr. Nazimera is very passionate and committed to improving the health of the poor and vulnerable population of Neno as well as mentoring and building a strong clinical team in the district. Lawrence was a site fellow at Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo in Malawi.

Isha Nirola

Isha Nirola is the Community Health Director at Possible, a nonprofit in Achham District of Nepal. She leads the Community Health strategy and oversees operations at two key levels of Possible’s hub-and-spoke healthcare model – clinics and community health workers. Previously, Isha worked for over 3 years as Regional Manager at the Carter Center, where she managed parts of the Guinea Worm eradication program in South Sudan – and where she and her team achieved a 92% reduction in Guinea Worm cases within her first 2 years. Prior to her work in South Sudan, Isha contributed to a number of fact-finding missions for the Human Rights Law Network’s Reproductive Rights Unit in India; served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Kiribati as a Health and Community Development worker; and worked as a Health Advocate in Baltimore City. Isha graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a B.A. in Health Administration and Policy, and earned her Master’s in Public Health at New York University. Isha was a site fellow at Possible in Nepal.

Sushil Patil

Sushil Patil is originally from Maharashtra state in India. He previously completed training in Ayurveda (Indian system of medicine) and later earned his Master’s in Health Administration from Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. Since completing his Masters, he has been working with Jan Swasthya Sahyog (JSS – Peoples’ Health Support Group), a voluntary, non-profit organization working in Chhattisgarh, a state in rural, central India. There, Dr. Patil works as clinical coordinator, looking to improve both the long-term systems based and intervention-based services JSS provides. Dr. Patil is excited to participate in the HEAL initiative and hopes to learn more about global health while collaboration with other HEAL fellows at JSS. Sushil was a site fellow at Jan Swasthya Sahyog in India.

Meghan Ritz

Meghan Ritz grew up in Northern Virginia and attended Virginia Tech for undergraduate studies in Biochemistry. She spent several years in Boston working in genetic research, followed by a move further up the coast to Portland, Maine to become involved in a tissue banking program as a research coordinator. After earning a Master's of Health Science in Physician Assistant studies at Quinnipiac University in New Haven, Connecticut, Meghan and her husband moved to the high desert of northwest New Mexico to begin a career in family medicine with the Indian Health Service. She has worked at Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico for three years and following her National Health Service Corps obligation, she remains committed to continuing her service in providing care for communities on Navajo Nation. Meghan is thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside HEAL fellows and is excited to learn new skills that will allow her to impact the health outcomes for the communities she serves on a larger scale. She is also excited to learn more about global health and recognizes the parallels in health disparities that exists in underserved communities in this country and internationally from her experiences in her career and as a PA student participating on a medical mission in the Dominican Republic. Meghan was a site fellow at Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico.

Trisha Schimek

Trisha Schimek is originally from Rochester, Minnesota, but has been moving around since high school. Her first stop was New Orleans, where she studied Neuroscience and Spanish at Tulane. She then decided to stay there after Hurricane Katrina to complete an MSPH in Tropical Medicine. Afterwards, she volunteered with Doctors for Global Health in Chiapas, Mexico, which was her first experience with global health. Since then, Trisha has spent time volunteering in Guatemala, Ecuador, and Peru. She completed medical school at the newly named Sydney Kimmel Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. For her Family Medicine residency, she decided to return to the Midwest to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Here she was able to continue providing care to underserved communities in an FQHC. Outside of medicine, Trisha enjoys biking, hiking, yoga, Latin dancing, volleyball, and of course traveling. She is thoroughly looking forward to working and learning among all of HEAL’s fellows and partner communities these next two years. Tricia was a rotating fellow who served at Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico and at Compañeros en Salud in Mexico.

Leonard Shirley, Jr.

Leonard Shirley, Jr. is of the Kiiyaa’ani clan born for the Ta’baaha Clan. His maternal grandfather is the Ashihi Clan and Paternal Grandfather’s clan is the Taa’chii’nii clan and is a member of the Navajo/Dine Nation of Arizona. He is originally from Ganado, Arizona and currently resides in Fort Defiance, Arizona. Mr. Shirley is the current Interim Director of the Outpatient Mental Health and Medical Social Work Program at Tsehootsooi Medical Center. Mr. Shirley has been employed at Tsehootsooi Medical Center since January 2010 as a Social Worker and is licensed in the State of New Mexico as a Licensed Independent Social Worker in good standing. Mr. Shirley received his undergraduate degree from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado with a dual major in Psychology and Sociology and graduated in 1997. Mr. Shirley also completed a Masters Degree in Social Work from the New Mexico Highlands University in 2005. Mr. Shirley is proficient in the Navajo language and is excited about participating in the HEAL Initiative to better the livelihood of other people, specifically underserved American Indian populations. Leonard was a site fellow at Tséhootsooí Medical Centerr in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

Marco Trigueros

Marco Trigueros is originally from Celaya, Gto in Mexico. He grew up in El Paso Texas up to high school, went to college at Washington State University at Pullman, WA with a BS in Zoology, and later went to medical school at Ross University. This was soon followed by residency at Stamford Hospital/Columbia U. College of Physicians, in internal medicine. Marco was a rotating fellow who served at Tséhootsooí Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona and at Compañeros en Salud in Mexico.

Michael Tutt

Michael Tutt is currently working as CMO for TMC in Fort Defiance, AZ. He is trained as an internist and rheumatologist. Interest includes traveling, farming, and natural medicine. Expand in the area of social injustice on the Navajo Reservation. Visited China, Libya, Turkey, Venezuela, Ecuador, Columbia, Peru, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. Michael was a site fellow at Tséhootsooí Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

Lena Wong

Lena Wong was born and raised in the wonderland that is New Jersey. She attended Rutgers University as an undergrad where following a few trips overseas to South Africa and China, she saw the inequities in access to medicine and education and decided to go to medical school with an interest in international health.  She moved to Philadelphia to attend medical school at Temple University, mostly to watch her beloved Flyers play. During that time, Lena was able to do medical work in Bolivia, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama and Tanzania, which served to solidify her goals in life. She went on to do a combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics in Miami, working mostly in the county hospital. With the diversity in the patient population, ability to work with the underserved and a great exposure to tropical medicine, she travelled south for the first time in her life and found it warm and amazing. She worked with the international community on a daily basis but also had the chance to go to India, Costa Rica and Cambodia for rotations. Ultimately she wants to do public health based work overseas, specifically in Africa but also wants to focus on gender equality. Lena was a rotating fellow who served at Tuba City Regional Health Care in Tuba City, Arizona and at Possible in Nepal.