First PhD Cohort Brings Diverse Skills and Experience to Program

A cohort of five exceptional students launched the Global Health Sciences PhD program on Jan. 4, 2016. GHS is charting new territory with one of only a handful of global health doctoral programs in the country.

The new students bring a diverse set of skills and experiences that represent the program's four concentrations: clinical, policy, health systems, and social and behavioral science.

Maricianah Onono, UCSF Global Health Sciences PhD studentMaricianah Onono, a research scientist with the Kenya Medical Research Institute, comes to the program with a wealth of experience in reproductive health research and clinical practice focusing on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, and family planning. She hopes to design, implement, monitor and evaluate HIV and sexual reproductive health programs.

Emily Behar, UCSF Global Health Sciences PhD studentEmily Behar, a research study coordinator at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, has focused her previous research on improving health outcomes for injection drug users. She is interested in creating policies to improve access to harm reduction and overdose prevention services.

Nicholas Rubashkin, UCSF Global Health Sciences PhD studentNicholas Rubashkin is a physician in obstetrics and gynecology and has research experience in post-abortion care, safe motherhood, and human rights in childbirth. He plans to focus on using participatory methods to develop definitions of disrespect and abuse of birthing women in Central/Eastern Europe and to continue exploring the role of informal cash payments in post-Soviet maternity care.

Amy Lockwood, UCSF Global Health Sciences PhD studentAmy Lockwood leads strategy and operations for GHS's Global Health Delivery and Diplomacy, as well as for the UCSF AIDS Research Institute and the office of the United Nations Special Envoy for Tuberculosis. She is interested in developing interventions to improve management capacity, processes, and tools as a means to strengthen health systems in resource-limited settings.

Emily Hall, UCSF Global Health Sciences PhD studentEmily Hall has a background working as a family nurse practitioner and developing training initiatives for Rwandan nursing staff. She currently leads the global health fellowship program for advance practice nurses at UCSF. She plans to focus on strengthening health systems through healthcare education interventions to improve workforce capacity.

As the students create new knowledge though their doctoral research, they also will help define the core competencies of their field, since there are currently no established competencies for PhD programs in global health.

"In any program at a nascent stage there are many ideas, but nothing is set in stone, so it's exciting that students can help shape the program," said Program Director Lisa Thompson, RN, FNP, PhD. "We have so many experienced faculty who are willing to guide students as they develop their program of research."