The Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Student Profiles

Heller MS students are simply amazing. We believe that our program attracts people who are uniquely driven to improving health systems for local communities. Our students come to Heller with an already-impressive array of skills and experiences, from doctors and nurses, to returned Peace Corps volunteers and public health workers. 

Chibo Shinagawa

Chibo Shinagawa, MS GHPM'19

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

“I was looking specifically for programs that focus on advancing social justice as part of their curriculum,” she says. “I’ve always been a community organizer at heart. That’s my passion, and I’ve always known my interest was in reproductive health and reproductive justice, which is part of the reason why I decided to join the Peace Corps.” She says her Peace Corps experience also helped expose her to the role of direct service organizations, as part of her role included facilitating vaccinations and immunizations at a local health clinic.

Sai Thiha Tun

Sai Thiha Tun, MS GHPM'19

Fulbright Scholar

“After I graduate, I will go back to Myanmar and try to advocate for health policy reform. I’d like to focus on broader questions of access to health care. A lot of people in my country, especially those who live in very remote or conflict-prone areas, have difficulty getting treatment. For example if a conflict arises in a rural area, an HIV-infected person who needs to maintain regular treatment may not be able to get out of their village to obtain their drugs.”

Tozoe Marton

Tozoe Marton, MA SID/MS GHPM’20

“I’m taking courses in STATA, and applied regression—it’s so difficult but I love it so much that I’m planning to take econometrics. I also love my class on International Health Systems and Development. We’re learning about all the interactions of different factors in a health system—it’s showing me how to apply the skills that I want to have when I graduate.”

Lokesh Bhatt, MS GHPM'18 (Nepal)

“I’ve worked with different populations in Nepal, different communities,” says Bhatt. His work has ranged from administering HIV programs for Bhutanese refugees to malaria monitoring for the Nepalese government to studying malnutrition in children and pregnant women in rural Nepal.

“I realized, if you don’t have proper policy, if you don’t have appropriate systems in place, working in any activity or any project is not enough,” says Bhatt, who also holds a master’s degree in public health. “You have to work with policy. I wanted to learn how policy impacts the change in our communities.”

Funke Falade

Funke Falade, MS GHPM'18 (Nigeria)

“I didn’t want a master’s in public health—I don’t want to be a public health specialist. I want to be a systems specialist. At Heller, the program is very skills-based, and it’s like a light bulb has gone off. I think all the time, ‘I wish I knew this back then,’ which would have enhanced the way I managed a project.”

During her time at Heller, Falade aims to strengthen her skills in health systems financing, data utilization and evidence-based policy development. After completing her degree, Falade will return to her husband and two young children waiting for her back in Abuja. She plans to focus on health systems strengthening and reform initiatives in her home country and throughout the sub-Saharan region.  

Head shot of Ahmed Ghanem, MS GHPM’17

Ahmed Ghanem, MS GHPM'17 (Egypt)

"How was my first semester at Heller? Wonderful, I think is the one word that could summarize the whole experience. Heller is quite diverse, quite deep, and complicated sometimes, but it's always an interesting place to learn, to interact, to reflect on our previous experiences and current knowledge. I think one of the most interesting things here in Heller is that most of the professors and students have hands-on experience that allows them to give and to get real-life advice and knowledge.

We can consider not just how theory interacts with practice, but also how social policies and health policies formed at the highest levels of our communities impacts the field and the lowest levels of our communities. I think there are something like 70 countries represented here at Heller. Every conversation, every interaction, I learn something new."

Pamela Titi giving a graduation speech

Pamela Titi, MS GHPM'16 (Uganda)

Pamela Titi was originally trained as a lawyer in her home country of Uganda, but her career trajectory changed sharply after the birth of her daughter, Gabby, who was born with severe brain damage. After seeking specialized health care for Gabby in the United States that was unavailable in Uganda, Titi decided to found the Tunaweza Children’s Centre for children with special needs in Kampala. It is the first therapy center of its kind in East Africa. She then enrolled in the Heller School’s MS in Global Health Policy and Management program to gain the skills she needed for Tunaweza to succeed.