UNITE Fellowship Program launches this week

The UNITE Fellowship Program will start officially this week, and we are glad to introduce the selected Junior and Senior Fellows who will, during the upcoming year, support UNITE’s goal to develop global health policies sustained in evidence-based data. We have gathered a diverse and experienced group of individuals eager to learn further about the work UNITE develops, as well as to connect with our members and partners.

Please find a short introduction from each Fellow, as well as their motivation for deciding to join our Fellowship Program.

UNITE welcomes them, with wishes of a great and insightful experience!

Sonia Tiedt, from Finland 🇫🇮

Sonia is currently pursuing her doctorate at Imperial College London, where she blends her love for public health with concerns for the planet. Central to her work is understanding how global changes affect human health and biodiversity. In particular, she studies the future effects of climate change on the distribution of infectious diseases. Beyond her PhD, Sonia has collaborated on a broad range of research projects spanning public health, conservation, and human-wildlife conflict.

Sonia is now thrilled to join UNITE as a Junior Policy Fellow. Committed to shaping policies that foster equitable health systems and empower vulnerable communities, she holds a special interest in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, as well as addressing neglected tropical diseases. This fellowship not only offers a chance to deepen her understanding of global health policy and governance but also provides an avenue to connect, share insights, and learn from her fellow peers.

Kumar Abhishek, from India 🇮🇳

As a Vertical Lead of the Policy Engagements team at Swaniti Initiative, Kumar Abhishek works closely with Members of Parliament from India on a range of policy issues. His role primarily entails catering to the research requirements and managing programs with MPs as critical stakeholders. In his career as of now, Kumar has worked in complex, convergence-centric programs with stakeholders like; governments, donors, industry, and elected representatives.

Working with Parliamentarians gives an incredible opportunity to have a thorough understanding of the situation on the ground and drive it up to the highest policy levels for redressal. The UNITE Fellowship Program is one such window that offers Kumar the scope to work with Parliamentarians across different countries wherein he gets a chance to focus the spotlight on public health. Further, Kumar considers the role very critical as he can be instrumental in initiating conversations on the core and new-age public health issues.

Nazneen Ali, from India 🇮🇳

Nazneen is a physician from Kerala, India, and she has recently completed a M.Phil. in population health sciences with a focus on global health at the University of Cambridge. Nazneen is passionate about equity and social justice in health and has worked in projects focused on non-communicable diseases, digital health, and community engagement to drive universal health coverage in low- and middle-income countries.

Nazneen believes that the UNITE Fellowship Program will help her become a thought leader in global health through building strong networks with subject matter experts and policy makers. She also hopes to contribute with her knowledge and skills to deliver valuable research outputs and evidence to advocate for UHC and equitable healthcare in her community.

Ndifanji Namacha, from Malawi 🇲🇼

Dr. Ndifanji Namacha is a global health researcher, entrepreneurial, self-driven, and transformative leader with over 7 years of success in various roles including technical leadership of PEPFAR-funded HTS, Care and Treatment, KP, AGYW, and OVC programs. She is experienced in digital health, policy development, and advocacy. Ndifanji is currently Aidsfonds – Soa Aids Nederland’s Advisory Panel member and RBM Partnership to End Malaria Youth Workstream’s co-lead.

Ndifanji believes that the youth are no longer the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today and how their needs and aspirations are addressed now, will determine the common future. This belief has led her to run for public office as a Member of Parliament, albeit unsuccessfully. The lessons from that setback are spurring her to broaden her leadership acumen in the professional realm for more immediate impact. Ndifanji has so far pursued an atypical medical career path with an early focus on policy and systems improvement through key roles in central government, universities, and NGOs.

Humberto Rotundo, from Peru 🇵🇪

Humberto has a professional and academic background in law, coupled with years of experience working in drug policy reform nonprofits. He currently works as a monitoring and evaluation officer at Youth RISE, a youth-led network promoting evidence-based drug policies and harm reduction strategies, and as fundraising director at Proyecto Soma, a Latin American NGO that focuses on journalistic and harm reduction work.

His main motivation in joining the UNITE Fellowship Program was the recent lack of consensus in common sense and evidence-based health policies, fostered by the increasing political divide in his Country and Region. UNITE’s successful non-partisan focus on parliamentarians has managed to create such consensus. Humberto views this Program as a unique opportunity to modestly contribute in this fight for improved global health systems.

Klein Fernandez, from the Philippines 🇵🇭

Klein Fernandez is currently an Assistant Professor of Human Ecology at the Department of Social Development Service, College of Human Ecology, University of the Philippines. Klein’s current research interests include public health ethics, global health, human resources for health, health impact assessment, indigenous health knowledge and system, and disaster management. He holds a PhD in Health and Welfare as an Erasmus Mundus Fellow.

Joining the UNITE Fellowship Program is his avenue to keep going with his passion for a truly functioning global health system. Klein views it as a strategic platform to continually engage in a constructive dialogue that provides opportunities for structural reforms in achieving a sustainable health workforce. Working within a multilateral governance system and together with different global health actors, he is more than enamored to participate in policy formulation on how we should approach the health workforce crisis that goes beyond old ways of conventional thinking.

Laura Flores, from Spain 🇪🇸

Laura Flores Reyes is a Steering Committee member at the People’s Vaccine Alliance and works at a democracy promotion organisation. Laura has a track record in the field of global health access, democracy support, and implementation of the 2030 Agenda. She is experienced in leading outreach operations, advocacy actions, and establishing strategic relations and partnerships with like-minded institutions.

In the last few years, Laura has effectively led and supported different efforts aiming to influence the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure vaccine equity and the right to health, specifically in the Global South. As a UNITE fellow, she would like to continue advocating for more equitable health policies and access, focusing particularly on the additional challenges that marginalized and minority groups face.

Anders Johnsson, from Sweden 🇸🇪

Anders has worked internationally his entire professional life, initially at the United Nations since 1975 and later at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, where he was its Secretary General from 1998 to 2014. Throughout, Anders has focused on promoting political dialogue in defense of democracy, human rights, and gender equality. Since his retirement, he has continued his international engagement, recently by providing research on the pandemic for the COVID-19 Lancet Commission.

Anders has a privileged understanding of parliamentary networks and organizations as well as of parliamentary action in international cooperation. He took an active part in the creation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and has since supported the health-related parts of the agenda. Anders sees working with Unite as a way of prolonging that engagement in a very concrete fashion.

Innocent Peter, from Tanzania 🇹🇿

Dr. Innocent H. Peter Uggh is a dedicated medical doctor with a profound passion for research, global health, health policies, and health equity. He currently serves as the Outreach Program Manager at Tanzania Better Health, where he plays a pivotal role in orchestrating screening and sensitization initiatives against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) within marginalized communities, and advocates for improved policies and enhanced health systems to address the unique challenges faced by vulnerable populations.

The UNITE Fellowship Program presents an enticing opportunity for Dr. Uggh to further his impact on healthcare. By participating in the Program, he envisions himself as a catalyst for influencing policies grounded in solid research and comprehensive understanding. He firmly believes that this fellowship will serve as a springboard for him to actively contribute to the creation of better and sustainable evidence-based policies for a prosperous and healthier world, transcending boundaries and effecting positive change on a global scale.

Trent White, from the USA 🇺🇸

Trent White is a Predoctoral Severo Ochoa Fellow in the Health Systems and Infectious Disease team at ISGlobal with a background in health policy and health systems strengthening. He conducts research to enhance care systems for HIV, COVID-19, and liver diseases, including the roles of policy and public communication in mitigating their impacts. Trent previously worked for international health organizations to enhance health system resilience and preparedness in low- and middle-income countries. He holds an MPH in Health Policy from the George Washington University.

Trenton is passionate about understanding the intersection of policy and science. He believes that science should inform policy to develop well-sustained solutions for human health and well-being. With previous policy experience in the U.S. Congress, U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization, Trenton is excited to learn about and contribute to health policy at the European regional level.

Knowledge Mupembe, from Zimbabwe 🇿🇼

Knowledge Mupembe is a human rights defender from Zimbabwe with avid interests in public health and the promotion of fundamental human rights of marginalized sub-population groups, especially people who use and inject drugs. He advocates for humane and evidence-based strategies and policies that promote access to primary healthcare and harm reduction interventions contributing to the eradication of HIV/AIDS and other opportunistic infections.

Knowledge is highly motivated to join the UNITE’s Fellowship Program as he strongly believes in its mission of building a generation of political leaders on Global Health. The opportunity to learn and network closely with diverse global leaders and experts will allow him to broaden his understanding of global health and contribute to impactful solutions. As an advocate for inclusivity and equity, he’s eager to engage in multi-disciplinary strategies that address pressing health challenges and drive positive change.

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