Farah grew up in a big, hot, congested city in Pakistan and loved every moment of it – mostly because she had pet goats and a bizarre appreciation for scorching temperatures. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Duke University, where she became interested in maternal fetal medicine and addicted to sweet tea. Currently, she is a first year medical student at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where she spends most of her time inhabiting windowless study rooms. She has a passion for food and writing, although most of her meals are bought from the freezer aisle and most of her writing is associated with PowerPoint slides.
Kate Blatt, a native of Cincinnati, OH attended Indiana University where she studied Biology and Latin American Studies before coming to the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. At UCCOM, she helps run a free clinic at a local homeless shelter and is a Women’s Health Scholar. Although she can’t ride a bike and didn’t ride a real roller coaster until age 19, her best memories are of abandoning her comfort zone in Central America zip-lining, bungee jumping, white water rafting and making her host family laugh practicing her Spanish.
Perhaps it was growing up with an engineering father, and pulling over on road trips to admire dammed rivers and “exquisite” limestone formations (the material of childhood dreams), but in Biology class Sara was told the living world followed the principle of structure that serves function, it made perfect sense. The same theory never ceases to apply to roles in her life. In her comedy improv group during undergraduate before any actor entered the developing scene they knew to enter with a purpose in the plot. In medical school Sara has joined two groups, the Medical Spanish Health Elective and the Urban Health Project to marry the arts of accurate communication and working in a low resource setting; characteristics crucial to global health work. Even more a credit to her med school successes is the structure and support from the girls she studies with.. Shama, Kate, and Farah… the MedMujeres!
Shama Milon was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, but spent much of her childhood growing up in southern Florida. Before the age of ten, she attended seven different schools, as a result of moving from various country to country and city to city. This experience fostered in her a love of travel, building new relationships, and overcoming challenging situations. While attending Duke University, she spent a summer in Cairo, Egypt, which made her increasingly aware of global health inequities and fueled her desire to make a bigger impact through her future practice. Currently, she is a first-year student at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
Early in our first year of medical school, four strangers were clustered together in a study group based on compatible Meyers-Briggs personality types. Although we hailed from an assortment of cultural and geographical backgrounds, our diverse experiences and unique strengths culminated in a cohesive team that we believe would allow us to tackle today’s global health challenges and enhance the mission of Timmy Global Health.
Farah began her global health journey at home in Pakistan. As she helped the children paint, she noticed that angry red blisters dotted their hands and faces. Poor sanitary conditions in this area made the children susceptible to skin infections, while financial constraints made it impossible for them to seek medical attention. The term “health disparities” began to take shape. Recognizing the definitive lack of healthcare in the region, Farah designed a survey to gain more information about the region’s healthcare needs. She went door-to-door, speaking to mothers, about their own wants as well as their children’s. Through this project and others in Tanzania, Durham and Karachi, Farah learned that successful global health interventions are grounded in deep and meaningful exchange of ideas between the providers and the community.
Kate commenced her global health endeavors high school. On her first service trip abroad in Nicaragua, she was moved by an encounter with an HIV patient who spoke candidly about his frustrations with living in a nation ill-equipped to care for him both physically and emotionally. He challenged her with a quote from Gustavo Gutierrez, “So you say you love the poor? Name them.” His words guided her in the establishment of group service trips to Nicaragua and Uganda that continue to financially support educational, medical and construction projects in the region. Collectively, these experiences taught her that leading a sustainable service initiative requires tailoring the skills we bring to empower the local people and providing them with the tools necessary to take ownership of the project.
For Sara, living and volunteering in Ecuador for a year facilitated her fortuitous housing arrangements with Ecuadorian medical and nursing students who helped her fruitfully launch various educational projects in the region. Numerous small triumphs made Sara appreciate the role of education in the distribution of health. She sees it as the single greatest tool to help others improve their lives, the lives of the people in their community, and protect a healthy environment.
Shama was forced to question issues of social justice and health care equity early on as her father, a renowned doctor in Bangladesh and a political activist, was assassinated while advocating for social justice and democracy in an autocratic regime. Inspired by her father’s legacy, she has sought to understand health inequity and the impact of health policy on the delivery of healthcare. Recently, Shama was part of a health delegation to Cuba, where she examined the consequences of the American embargo against Cuba on the availability of food, medication, and medical equipment.