The north face of the Rotunda

2020 Center for Global Health Equity Scholar Research Symposium





Celebrating 40+ years of UVA’s Center for Global Health and Richard Guerrant, MD, Founder


Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, Partners in Health

Rebecca Dillingham, MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Global Health

and Global Health Scholar Alumni Panelists

The University of Virginia’s Center for Global Health and Lifetime Learning invite you to join alumni, students, parents, and friends for the first virtual 2020 Center for Global Health Equity Scholar Research Symposium. This annual event brings together students and faculty representing multiple disciplines to share their innovative approaches to addressing global health disparities. The panel will highlight ongoing research conducted in collaboration with global partners, which enables discoveries that enrich and improve lives worldwide and in Virginia. We invite you to celebrate long-standing student and faculty partnerships that promote global health and to engage in meaningful discussion on the topic of global health equity at the University of Virginia and beyond.


Rebecca Dillingham, MD, MPH (moderator)

Director of the Center for Global Health at the University of Virginia

Rebecca Dillingham, MD/MPH, is a physician and public health practitioner dedicated to eliminating barriers to prevention, treatment, and cure of infectious diseases, especially for marginalized people and populations. Dr. Dillingham is the Director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Global Health and is a Harrison Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences. She has led the development of global health training across schools at UVA as the director of the UVA Framework Program in Global Health. Dr. Dillingham has received numerous teaching awards in recognition of her skill as an educator, including an All-University Teaching Award, and was presented with the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award in recognition of her humanistic approach to care.

Dr. Dillingham’s major clinical activities include the care of adult patients living with HIV and/or with hepatitis C. She directs the UVA Ryan White Clinic and the UVA ID Hepatitis clinic. Her research focuses on the development, testing, and scaling of mobile phone-based technologies to support vulnerable populations’ engagement with care in Virginia and with partners around the globe. In 2020, she received the 2020 Caceres Award for Technology in HIV Practice from the American Academy of HIV Medicine and the UVA Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year Award, both for the invention, with her colleague Dr. Karen Ingersoll, of a mobile platform to support engagement with HIV care.

Dr. Dillingham has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals with collaborators representing multiple disciplines and international collaborative sites. View her publications here.

Richard Guerrant, MD (guest of honor)

Thomas H. Hunter Professor of International Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health at the University of Virginia; Founding Director of the UVA Center for Global Health

Dr. Richard Guerrant is an internationally recognized expert on enteric infections. He founded the Center for Global Health at the University of Virginia. He is the Thomas H. Hunter Professor of International Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health. He was elected to the IOM/National Academy of Medicine and formerly chaired its Board on Global Health. He has lived and worked in Congo, Bangladesh, and Brazil. Dr. Guerrant graduated from Davidson College and the UVA School of Medicine and was trained in internal medicine and infectious diseases at the Harvard Medical Service of the Boston City Hospital, the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins, and UVA. Dr. Guerrant’s research is focused on the recognition, diagnosis, pathogenesis, impact, and control of enteric infections and their long-term consequences. His current work focuses on preclinical testing of rice or spirulina-produced antibodies, selective new probiotics, and new vaccines for diarrhea and enteropathy. He is past president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene and recipient of its highest award, the Walter Reed Medal. He was also named one of Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists and received the Mentor Award of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Maxwell Finland Award of the NFID, and UVA’s Thomas Jefferson Award. Dr. Guerrant is the author of more than 700 scientific and clinical articles (18 with UVA’s three Nobel Laureates: Gilman, Murad and Marshall), reviews, and major textbook chapters, and editor of six books, including a two-volume textbook, Tropical Infectious Diseases: Principles, Pathogens, and Practices, and a book about lessons learned from his collaborations in Northeast Brazil: At the Edge of Development: Health Crises in a Transitional Society. His most recent book is germane to our troubling global pandemics of COVID-19 and racism: Evolution of Evolution: The Survival Value of Caring.

Paul Farmer, MD, PhD (keynote speaker)

Co-Founder and Chief Strategist of Partners in Health (PIH); Kolokotrones University Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston

Medical anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, has dedicated his life to improving health care for the world’s poorest people. He is co-founder and chief strategist of Partners in Health (PIH), an international non-profit organization that since 1987 has provided direct health care services and undertaken research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Dr. Farmer and his colleagues in the U.S. and abroad have pioneered novel community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings. Dr. Farmer holds an MD and PhD from Harvard University, where he is the Kolokotrones University Professor and the chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Additionally, Dr. Farmer serves as the United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti. Dr. Farmer has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality. His most recent books are: In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez; Reimagining Global Health: An Introduction; and To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation. Dr. Farmer is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association, the Outstanding International Physician (Nathan Davis) Award from the American Medical Association, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and, with his PIH colleagues, the Hilton Humanitarian Prize. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

John Burns, MPH

Co-Founder of Micro Health Initiative (MHI); Project Manager, Adler Financial Group

John Burns graduated from the UVA College of Arts & Sciences in 2014 and received his MPH in 2015. He entered UVA as a Jefferson and Echols Scholar with absolutely no idea what he wanted to do, except for an interest in health care and the road less traveled. That road was paved by countless emails and phone calls (most of which went ignored), eventually leading to incredible mentors and his first experience in Tanzania with one of the world’s leading micro-insurance companies, MicroEnsure. In 2013, Burns received the inaugural Nancy and Richard L. Guerrant Center for Global Health Scholar Award, which supported his work in Tanzania. Also, in 2013, Burns and two other MicroEnsure employees founded Micro Health Initiative (MHI), which has since grown to become the largest private health insurer in the Kilimanjaro Region. Once MHI stabilized, Burns again broke away and started ventures in hospitality, agriculture, and logistics and remains involved in each to this day. In 2015, Burns began working with Adler Financial Group, a family office investment firm in the Washington, DC area, focused mostly on opportunities in real estate and agriculture. Burns is always happy to connect with UVA students interested in East Africa or the private sector’s role in global development.

Sasheenie Moodley, DPhil and MPH

University of Virginia, 1st year student in the School of Medicine

Sasheenie Moodley was born and grew up in South Africa. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in global development studies in 2016. After completing her MPH in 2017, she pursued her PhD at the University of Oxford. While at UVA, she conducted research in South Africa as a Center for Global Health University Scholar in 2015 and 2016. Sasheenie’s research interests concern teenage pregnancy, teenage motherhood, and HIV in South Africa. Her work explores what life is like—during and after teenage pregnancy—through the lens of HIV. Sasheenie is currently a medical student at the University of Virginia.

Pranay Sinha, MD

Research Fellow, Section of Infectious Diseases, Boston University School of Medicine

Pranay was born in India. He came to the U.S. for undergraduate studies at Adelphi University and then found himself at the UVA School of Medicine where he became interested in global health. In 2011, mentored by Dr. Richard Guerrant, Pranay won the first Ram Family Center for Global Health scholarship which allowed him to study the impact of early childhood malnutrition in Southern India. After medical school, Pranay finished residency training at Yale-New Haven Hospital where he received a distinction in Global Health and Equity and became involved in TB research in South Africa. He followed his passion for infectious diseases and health equity to Boston University where he completed his clinical infectious diseases fellowship. He is now doing post-doctoral research with a view to gaining expertise in clinical decision making and health economic policy with a special focus on TB and risk factors such as undernutrition and HIV that drive the TB pandemic.

Erin Wettstone

University of Virginia, 4th year student in the School of Engineering and Applied Science

Erin Wettstone is a fourth-year biomedical engineering student with interests in incorporating global health initiatives and infectious disease research into her engineering career. She has a large passion for fostering health equity in the engineering design process and discovering new ways to focus on projects that create agency for those with lesser health access. AS a 2019 CGH Scholar Award recipient, she conducted a two-month pilot research project at the Haydom Global Health Research Center surrounding the surveillance of Campylobacter spp in local animals. The project aimed to assess transmission of the pathogen to children experiencing stunted growth and malnutrition in rural Tanzania. She now serves on the student advisory board at the Center for Global Health and is working to create events that encourage student involvement in global health applications.