Department News : 2015 :

CGIU Department of Public Health Sciences Student Seed Funding Awardees

    Each year, CGI U hosts a meeting where students, university representatives, topic experts, and celebrities come together to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges via panels and workshops.

    President Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton hosted CGI U 2015 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida from March 6-8, 2015.

    The meeting brought together more than 1,100 students to make a difference in CGI U’s five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health.

In addition,CGI U provides select students with opportunities to gain seed funding for their innovative projects and initiatives. More than $2 million in funding has been awarded to student commitment-makers since President Clinton launched CGI U.

This year three Department of Public Health Sciences students have received funding for Public Health initiatives:

Project: Post-Infectious Hydrocephalus Among Haitian infants Treated by Project Medishare’s Specialty Surgery Program: What we Know

photo of Michal Ragheb

Michal Ragheb (MSPH student)

This poster presentation was a retrospective review of an operative and preoperative database recorded by Project Medishare’s Hydrocephalus Specialty Surgery Team at the time of surgery in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti between March 2009 and December 2014. This is the first reported study on hydrocephalus in Haiti. 50% of our patients with hydrocephalus had an infectious version of the disease, termed Post-Infectious Hydrocephalus (PIH) – a preventable form of hydrocephalus. My project seeks to reduce the rates and associated societal and economic burden of infectious hydrocephalus among Haitian infants through the determination of the infectious agent and the subsequent implementation of a public health intervention to avoid this agent.

How are you committed to Public Health
In many developing countries, lack of access to neurosurgical care and the cost of the surgical equipment commonly used to treat hydrocephalus means that children with hydrocephalus are often left untreated, resulting in severe neurologic disability or death. I am committed to implementing public health interventions to reduce the rates of infectious hydrocephalus and the societal, economic and physical burdens associated with it. This public health initiative has the potential to reduce the rates of hydrocephalus among Haitian infants by 50% and greatly reduce the costs associated with the medical interventions of hydrocephalus.

Your experience at CGIU:
CGIU was an incredible experience. It was great to be able to spend a weekend networking and discussing potentially world changing projects with students and professionals from around the world. 


Project: VERDE

photo of Carolina Puyana Barcha

Carolina Puyana Barcha (MSPH student)
with Steven Denyer (MS Biology student at UM) and Salomon Puyana (Medical student at University of Pittsburg)

Our project aims to improve the quality of life of the residents of Santo Tomas, Colombia especially the community of Siete de Agosto. The initiation of a gender-equal pottery factory that sells the products on an e-commerce site will spark a sustainable economic boost to satisfy their basic needs. We are collaborating with the Universidad Metropolitana Medical School of Barranquilla and the Baycas Foundation to train the factory workers in various public health topics to serve as community health advisors. Thus, igniting a multiplicative effect of healthy practices encouraging community growth and sustainability.

How you are committed to Public Health?
Public Health aligns with my personal commitment to help underserved communities. As a first generation Hispanic immigrant, I understand different perspectives on health disparities. In the future, as a physician-scientist, I will provide patients with the tools they need to be healthy so that they can avoid preventable diseases that result in costly treatments, which are often at the root of health disparities.

Your experience at CGIU?
The CGIU meeting was a very enriching experience. I was able to network with participants from all around the world and learn about the various issues that they were trying to address in their communities. I also gathered a wealth of ideas that could be implemented in my community for sustainable solutions to health disparities. I also created new partnerships with students from various universities across the USA, in order to ensure our commitment’s success.


Project: Contraception Decisions, Education, and Access for Homeless Women

photo of Amelia Poquette

Amelia Poquette, MD/MPH Class of 2017

It is Amelia’s goal to correct misconceptions and improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC, i.e., intrauterine devices and subdermal implants) for homeless women in Miami. Homeless women are a particularly vulnerable population at risk for unintended pregnancy. This commitment requires an understanding of the population’s current perception and utilization of LARC. Subsequently, providing tailored education and counseling services may change contraceptive choices and increase reliable contraception uptake. This commitment also requires facilitating access to such methods.