2021-2022 Fellowship Cohort

ThinkWell is thrilled to announce the inaugural cohort for the Samya Rose Stumo Memorial Fellowship for Global Health. These five incredible young women will join us for a year-long fellowship starting September 1st, 2021, and will work to shape their transformative global health ideas. ThinkWell will provide mentorship to inspire their vision, develop their skills, and incubate their visions for the future of global health systems.

Below are the members of the 2021-2022 cohort and their fellowship projects.

Nadine Casino

Country: Philippines

Project Title: The Mother Connection – Ugnayang Nanay”

“Imagine communities with a comprehensive lactation policy, a strong network of breastfeeding champions, and the presence of lactation care centers. No mother will be left alone in infant feeding. She will be in an environment where we are sure that the access to unbiased information and skilled support is available to her, and the practice of breastfeeding is normalized. Together let us lay the best foundations of lifelong health for our children through breastfeeding enabling communities.”

Nadine Casino’s project aims to bring together breastfeeding mother leaders, breastfeeding supporters, policy makers, stakeholders, and investors to create enabling environments for optimal infant and young child feeding in the Philippines. Her deep passion and interest to normalize breastfeeding has the power to change breastfeeding practices throughout the provinces of the Philippines.

Martha de la Paz

Country: Philippines

Project Title: Integrating SOGIE in Family Health

In the health sector of the Philippines, programs are focused on cisgender and heterosexual individuals. Platforms for discourse and educational activities all take on a heteronormative approach. Health services for queer women remain inaccessible.

Martha’s vision is to integrate health services for queer women and other members of the LGBTQ+ community into on-going health programs in the Philippines. Some initiatives entail the sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE) framework be integrated into family health programs at the national level and inclusive primary care be built at the local level. By embedding these changes into the health system, she will provide a proof of concept for legislation to take concrete steps towards increasing access to inclusive health services for the LGBTQ+ community at the national policy level. She envisions a future where the Philippines can fully embrace and support the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ members.

Rukhshan Fahmi

Country: Bangladesh

Project Title: Building Awareness and Advocacy around Congenital Hydrocephalus

Congenital hydrocephalus is a disorder that hampers the natural flow of cerebral spinal fluid into the brain. This disruption results in abnormal expansion of the head and pressure on the brain. Left untreated, this neurological disorder leads to death and other disabilities.  Mainly children from poor socioeconomic background become its victim, and Bangladesh is a country where there is very little awareness or advocacy around this issue.

Rukhshan Fahmi’s project aims to build stronger awareness and advocacy around congenital hydrocephalus, especially in lower income communities across Bangladesh. She hopes to develop research on nutritional interventions for mothers and build awareness campaigns through digital and print media.

Nuzulul Putri

Country: Indonesia

Project Title: Impact of COVID-19 on Strategic Purchasing for Healthcare in Indonesia

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the health system in Indonesia.  During the first year of the pandemic the government of Indonesia revised their budget structure and asked local governments to refocus their local budgets to align with this new policy. To date, however, there has been little evaluation of the impact of this “adjusted health purchasing arrangement.”

Pandemics provide an opportunity to build more resilient health systems. Documenting the impact of policy changes during an emergency setting is vital to strengthen the health system in the future. Nuzulul aims to do exactly this. Throughout the year, she will analyze the effects of the adjusted purchasing arrangement on both short- and long-term outcomes and across different levels of government to help improve our knowledge for future emergency preparedness. This project will also provide evidence to purchasers on how and when they should implement purchasing adjustment—both in an emergency setting, such as the current pandemic, and for future public health emergencies.

Ruth Wambui Wagatua

Country: Kenya

Project Title: Rethinking Water and Public Health Governance in Fluorosis-Affected Communities

“The fellowship is a chance for me to be of service to my fluorosis affected family by making our health needs understood and addressed. I hope to influence public health policies on marginalized cases such as fluorosis.”

Ruth comes from Naivasha, Kenya, a fluorosis-affected community (FAC) where she has personally witnessed the negative effects of fluorosis. Fluorosis is a condition caused by consumption of water with high fluoride levels and presents itself in the form of dental, skeletal, and mental fluorosis (lowers the IQ) among other effects. Ruth hopes to create a new water and public health governance paradigm aimed at addressing the FACs and their ecosystem health issues, starting with Nakuru County. She will promote community education as well as tactical solutions such as rainwater harvesting tanks and defluorination plants. Through her work, she aims to positively reshape the lives for people in FACs. Someday, she hopes to influence legislative decision makers and even run for office so that she can be a bigger voice for FACs.