Master’s Graduates Prepare to “Take Science to the People”

Thirty-eight students received their master’s degree in Global Health at a commencement ceremony on July 29, 2016, in Byers Auditorium on the UCSF Mission Bay campus.

Richard Cash, MD, MPH, senior lecturer on global health at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, delivered the commencement address (video) on “taking science to the people.” He began by noting the many GHS master’s students who traveled directly to the populations experiencing the problems they were researching, in order to better understand them.

Cash spoke about his own experience in Bangladesh in 1967, where he conducted the first clinical trials of Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) to address cholera and diarrhea in adults and children. He described how working with local people on different versions and delivery methods of ORT in various locations, led to the simple, low-tech solution to diarrhea that has since saved the lives of more than 60 million people around the world. He encouraged GHS graduates to keep listening and adapting to local needs in their own global health work.

With the students’ family and friends, Global Health Sciences also celebrated their accomplishments, many of which relate to the capstone research project—a unique opportunity for master’s students to work on active global health projects in the US and around the world.

Anthony Nardone won the 2016 John L. Zeigler Outstanding Capstone Award for his exceptional research showing a potential synergy between arsenic exposure and body mass index in respiratory disease. He conducted his secondary data analysis in northern Chile.

Sara Hollis received Honorable Mention for her capstone research that showed a deep mismatch in the burden of injury and the amount of development resources allocated to injury prevention and management in low- and middle-income countries.

The 2016 John L. Zeigler Outstanding Mentor Award went to Alden Blair, MSc, PhD(c), who served as instructor for the Introduction to Biostatistics course and mentored several master’s students. One of Alden’s multiple nominators said the capstone experience would not have been “as exciting or enriching without his support and guidance.”

Winners of the Annual Master of Science Photo Journal Contest also were honored. Lara Miller won first place for photos she took in the newborn unit of Migori County Referral Hospital in Kenya, showing infants held by their mothers and grandmothers. Her intimate and beautifully lit photos help document her project, “Classifying Preterm Birth in Kenya: An Outcome Not a Disease.”

Sheba Vincent took second place for photos that tell a story about the prevalence and treatment of childhood dental caries in Roatán, Honduras. One image reflects part of the problem—a girl with a sugary drink that is more readily available than clean water—and another shows a UCSF dentistry student providing fluoride varnish and oral health instructions to a family in a public clinic. See winning photographs.

Prior to receiving their degrees, the graduates presented a video about their experience as GHS master’s students. They spoke of learning the importance of going “on the ground” and having the perspective of different disciplines to help identify problems and find solutions in global health.

Global Health Sciences is eager to see where our graduates take science next. Congratulations to the Class of 2016!

See photographs from the graduation ceremony.