Fellows

Kristofer Sherwood | Elisha Nziengui Boussengui | Anna McDonald

| Sharon Brown Kunin | Khamp Southisombath | Tara Simpson | Naffie Ceesay | Daniel Cornish


Kristofer Sherwood, MD, Global Health Fellow 2012-2013

J. Kristofer Sherwood, MD was the first global health fellow in the 2012-2013 academic year. He received his medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School and completed his family medicine residency at the University of Washington in the Roosevelt/Northgate track.

Dr. Sherwood first became involved in the field of global health in the summer of 2006 between his first and second year of medical school. He traveled with his friend Deogratias “Deo” Niyzonkiza and others to the nation of Burundi in east Africa to continue preparations for a medical center in the village of Kigutu, Burundi. Dr. Sherwood spent the trip traveling with Deo and others to lay the groundwork for the medical center, including meeting with community leaders, government officials, construction contractors, and health officials.
Shortly after this trip, Deo founded the organization Village Health Works (www.villagehealthworks.org) to support the construction and operation of a health center in Kigutu. During the subsequent years, Dr. Sherwood continued to work to raise funds, find resources, and raise awareness for Village Health Works in the USA. Village Health Works started seeing patients in December 2006 and have since seen well over 50,000 patients. They continue to offer a comprehensive community health program that includes inpatient and outpatient care in addition to economic, agriculture, and education programs to help relieve the extreme poverty that affects the region.
In August of 2011, Dr. Sherwood returned to Kigutu during a residency elective to work as a volunteer clinician for Village Health Works. He helped the Burundian medical staff provide medical care for Village Health Works’ patients and assisted in training activities for the medical staff.  Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the visit for Dr. Sherwood was the opportunity to work so closely with the Burundian medical staff and exchange knowledge for the betterment of patient care.
After completion of the fellowship, Dr. Sherwood hopes to secure a career in which he can continue to provide excellent patient care to immigrants, refugees, and travelers in the USA, including by serving as a resource and teacher in his community. He also hopes to continue to work closely with Village Health Works to expand and improve their clinical programs as able through work at home and abroad.
 
Testimonial:
Perhaps my favorite episode from fellowship came during my time in Burundi. During my trip, one of the Burundian physicians I was working with came to ask me for help. He was treating a man for Hansen’s disease (leprosy) and the patient had developed marked swelling over his body and in his hands, especially. I knew very little about Hansen’s disease at the time, but was honored my colleague asked me for help. I didn’t want to let him down so began pouring over some textbook sections on Hansen’s disease. I discovered that in Hansen’s disease there are 2 types of immune mediated reactions to the infection that often occur not long after starting treatment. Based on the reading, we started the man on prednisone. Also, I snapped a few photos of his skin lesions and sent them to Chris Sanford, who in turn shared them with Jim Harnisch, who runs a Hansen’s disease clinic at Harborview. Dr Harnisch sent me back a series of very helpful emails that allowed us to control what we ultimately determined was Erythema nodosum leprosum for the patient. During the next 1.5 months of my time in Burundi, I sent a large number of pictures and emails back and forth with Dr Harnisch and with other friends and colleagues I met during my residency and fellowship at the UW from a wide variety of fields(HIV, Derm, ID, Nephrology, Ortho, Radiology, etc), bringing some of the collective knowledge of a large academic medical center to bear on the medical problems of a country with no residency training programs and only a handful of specialty trained physicians.

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Elisha Nziengui Boussengui, MD, Global Health Fellow 2013-2014

Dr. Elisha Nziengui Boussengui straddles the worlds between Montana, Seattle, and Gabon, Africa. Originally from Montana, she served in the Peace Corps in Gabon. It is there that she acquired her lifelong commitment to international medical service. She attended medical school at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and completed her residency with the University of Washington Family Medicine residency. The missions of family medicine and international medicine – that of viewing patient health and disease in the context of the patient, the patient’s family, and culture – mirrors her own approach to life, where each life event is seen by how it fits into the “bigger picture.” She intends to create a future medical practice that incorporates her passions for full spectrum family medicine, teaching, Montana, and Gabon. Outside of medicine, she enjoys the outdoors, the performing arts, and, chiefly, spending time with her family, including her young children.
 
Testimonial:
The time I spent as a Global Health Fellow was invaluable. I was able to craft my fellowship to suit my particular interests and needs for my career straddling between local and international medical pursuits. I particularly valued the access to knowledgeable faculty and clinicians in many disciplines, the opportunity to develop teaching skills in teaching/supervising medical students and residents, and the strong mentoring in travel medicine.
 

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Anna McDonald, MD, MPH, Global Health Fellow 2014-2015

Having spent the majority of my life rooted in the southern culture of North Carolina, I moved to Seattle to see what life would be like on the “best coast”. I completed my undergrad at Duke University, then spent the next year living and working in various public health and clinical settings in Guatemala, Peru, and Tanzania – an experience that confirmed my desire to spend my life working towards providing basic healthcare services to the world’s most vulnerable populations. To that end, I began my medical education at the University of North Carolina, taking an extra year to complete my MPH at Harvard University, with a concentration in Global Health. When it came time to choose a residency program, I was drawn to the Swedish Family Medicine program and the Downtown Family Medicine Clinic because of the ubiquitous commitment to working with underserved populations, the wealth of international experience, and the passion and commitment to leading political and social change I found in the faculty and my co-residents there. Completing residency in a health department-based training system allowed me to learn from and care for some of Seattle’s most vulnerable populations, and furthered my commitment to this type of work. I became involved with Seattle’s Ethiopian community and helped to lead a series of health education sessions at the monthly community meetings, and eventually got to spend a month in Gondar, Ethiopia, working towards the development of a new Family Medicine curriculum there. I am excited to continue to pursue my wide array of interests within family medicine – global health policy, maternal and child health, and advocating for social justice/eliminating health disparities – during my fellowship year at UW.
 
Testimonial:
I completed my fellowship in the 2014-2015 academic year and it was the perfect opportunity for me to expand my infectious disease and tropical medicine knowledge while continuing to practice full spectrum family medicine. In addition to doing rotations at the Harborview STD clinic, Leprosy clinic, Madison (HIV) clinic and TB clinics, I was also able to complete the Gorgas course in Peru, which allowed me to graduate with a diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. I will be leaving fellowship to start a position with the Global Health Service Corps (run by the Peace Corps and SEED global health) in Malawi, where I will be working on an academic development project in collaboration with the College of Medicine in Malawi. I am so thankful for all of the teaching and exposure to international experts in the field that this fellowship has given me.
 
 

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Sharon Brown Kunin, DO, MS, Global Health Fellow 2015-2016
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Growing up in Oakland, CA, I developed a desire to work with underserved communities from an early age. My passion for global health ignited at the Harvard School of Public Health. My studies in Maternal & Child Health, Health Policy, and International Health, set a strong foundation for my life’s work. As an Albert Schweitzer fellow, I met a group of like-minded health professionals all working with the common goal of helping underserved communities. Then a trip to Bangladesh shaped my dream to combine global health and medicine. This experience inspired me to go to medical school so that I could make a significant impact on the world’s most vulnerable populations. My travels to rural Ghana, working with one of my medical school classmates to build medical clinics in remote areas of Africa, was both inspiring and life-changing. By visiting and living in countries around the world, including Israel, Africa, and South America, I learned to communicate effectively with children and families across language and cultural barriers. I have worked on multidisciplinary medical and research teams at Stanford and UCSF all with a common goal of patient health and wellness. Beyond medicine, what gives me joy and inspiration is spending time with my 3 children, running, and traveling. In the future, I aspire to deliver effective interventions to patients who need them the most and to be a part of a movement that helps bridge the gap of knowledge and practice in global health around the world.

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Khamp Southisombath, MD, Global Health Fellow 2016-2017
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My family came from Laos to the United States as refugees when I was five years old. I grew up in a very diverse and low-socioeconomic area in Fresno, California and subsequently  was exposed to the many health disparities faced by my community. This prompted my decision to become a doctor. My love of teaching and the belief that one’s health is dependent on so many different social, economic, and cultural factors was why I specialized in the field of Family Medicine. I graduated from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and completed my Family Medicine Residency at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
During my medical training, I’ve had opportunities to participate in international programs such as the Himalayan Health Exchange and Health Leadership International in India and Laos respectively. Through these experiences, I witnessed the obstacles facing medical education at a global level, the detrimental effects it had on health care delivery, and most importantly how I can make a difference. Because of this, health care sustainability and improvement through medical education is a strong interest of mine and the reason for my pursuing a career in global health.
Lastly, I’m very excited to join the UW family as a Global Health Fellow. I’ve spent the majority of my life in “sunny” California and am looking forward to see what all the fuss is about in “rainy” Seattle!
 
Testimonial:
The UW Family Medicine Global Health Fellowship was a great balance between clinical and global health work.  When I started, I was unclear of what my role as a physician was going to be in the field of global health. Through the fellowship, I had the opportunity to learn from excellent preceptors and global health leaders in the field of travel medicine, HIV, tuberculosis, infectious disease, dermatology, and immigrant and refugee health. I traveled abroad and worked in my home country of Laos. Most importantly, I was supported and mentored by people who genuinely cared for my development as a global health physician. Completing the fellowship has given me insight on what my role is in the field of global health.
Since the completion of the fellowship, I have started work at a community health center that serves a diverse group of patients including immigrants/refugees in South Seattle. I will be going back to Laos every year to continue my work in Laos. Overall, the fellowship was a wonderful experience and I would truly recommend it!
 

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Tara Simpson, MD, Global Health Fellow 2018-2019

 
I was born in Salt Lake City, UT, and moved with my family to Guadalajara, Mexico at the age of four. Ten wonderful years later, we moved to Vancouver, B.C., and upon graduating from high school in Vancouver, I came to UW to join the top-ranked Women’s Tennis team (and to study biochemistry). After graduating and working at Harborview Medical Center for two years, I began medical school at UWSOM. Upon completing the program, I joined UW Family Medicine residency program and am now looking forward to sticking around as a Global Health Fellow. I am particularly excited to continue my work in the implementation of clinician educator tracks and to explore the development of family medicine training programs worldwide while also pursuing my interests in refugee and immigrant health, travel medicine, and other academic endeavors.
 
Testimonial:
I had a fantastic fellowship experience and met my educational goals. What makes this fellowship exceptionally attractive is the manageable clinical load linked with the vast array of training, research, global, and other opportunities. The unique opportunities afforded by this fellowship are made possible with the support of University of Washington, a leader in global health, and with the accessibility of the fellowship director’s worldwide connections. Armed with both time and connections, I was able to guide training to meet my goals. Some examples are as follows: I was interested in learning more about refugee and migrant care, so I was able to arrange a rotation working with the local public health department and a refugee clinic. I advanced by goal of continuing academic work by presenting nationally at Society of Teachers in Family Medicine conference. In furtherance of my interest in preventing road traffic injuries, I partnered with Dr. Sanford and a leading researcher in this field from Ireland to conduct a study.
 
The highlight of fellowship, however, was the two months I spent in Malawi. I joined a team of clinicians affiliated with Malawi’s College of Medicine (COM) to precept Malawian medical students on their family medicine rotation at a large district hospital. This was an invaluable learning and life experience. Please contact me any time to discuss more.
 

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Naffie Ceesay, MD, MBA, Global Health Fellow 2019-2020
 
My love and appreciation for global cultural experiences started at a young age; by the time I was in my teen years, I had lived on 3 continents (Africa, Asia and North America). I spent the first part of childhood in “the smiling coast,” The Gambia, West Africa, where I was born. Living in a developing nation, I became quite aware of health inequities that afflicted my community very early on, which fueled my passion in not only becoming a doctor, but help improve the health care system in underserved communities. After completing a BS in Human Biology and Psychology at Michigan State University, I went on to receive my medical degree at UMHS, during which time I also earned an MBA in Healthcare Management. It was during my residency training at St. Luke Warren Family Medicine in New Jersey that I started an organization called OKC foundation, which focuses on making healthcare and education more accessible to vulnerable communities in The Gambia. We coordinate bi-annual volunteer medical trips with highly skilled doctors and nurses delivering free medical care to the local communities, all the while promoting health care sustainability through recruiting and training with local healthcare personnels. 
 

Testimonial:
What a year to be in Global Health during Covid 19- pandemic! Not only was the ease of global transmission of disease highlighted, but the importance of strengthening public health infrastructures globally to contain outbreak source and minimize impact. I was fortunate enough to make another trip to rural parts of Gambia before travel restrictions were implemented. The experience was truly rewarding in that it gave me an opportunity to work hand in hand with the government via the Ministry of Health and local communities in need assessment, implementation of community health awareness programs and clinical experience. The close working relationship with esteemed UW specialists particularly in the field of Travel Medicine, HIV and TB management was another high point of my fellowship year. Overall, my fellowship experience gave me an egde as I embark on plans for practicing International Medicine.

 
Daniel Cornish

Upon request email addresses of prior fellows will be provided