MSc Public Health student at LSHTM, Jasmine Burton is the Founder and President of Wish for WASH and a 2015-2016 Global Health Corps Fellow at the Society for Family Health in Lusaka, Zambia. In this alumni report Jasmine tells us about her experience of being a Global Health Corps Fellow and the impact that the organisation is making on health equity in East Africa, Southern Africa and the United States.
Global Health Corps (GHC) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that offers competitive fellowships to support emerging global health leaders. It achieves this by selecting young professionals for paid, year-long fellowships with organisations that promote health equity in East Africa, Southern Africa, and the United States.
For each Global Health Corps site, one local fellow and one international fellow are selected to promote cross-cultural awareness and understanding. As a community, GHC is building a network of young change makers who believe that health is a human right. The design of the fellowship programme is unique in that it is centred on inter-cultural and multidisciplinary professionalism, as well as personal and professional development of young people in this sector, and global health as it relates to social justice.
GHC delivers impact through talented young leaders that work as fellows for a year and are equipped with a powerful passionate leadership network that enables them to stay in the sector and rise to positions of influence. Collectively, GHC’s fellows and alumni represent 40+ nationalities and have a myriad of diverse backgrounds, experiences, skillsets, and passions.
Following completion of her undergraduate degree in Product Design from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Jasmine worked as a 2015-2016 GHC fellow, at the Society for Family Health (SFH) in Lusaka, Zambia as the Design Specialist. SFH is a Zambian Trust, affiliated with the international NGO, Population Services International, and is a leading social marketing organization in Zambia. In her role at SFH, Jasmine developed the overall layout and production designs for a range of marketing material for several health products including SFH’s Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision health promotion and communications tools, and the new STAR HIV self testing kit.
Jasmine said: “I was excited to work in this capacity, as it allowed me to contribute my design expertise in order to help creatively brand and rebrand reproductive health and family planning initiatives through human-centered design principles. Reproductive health is often times seen as a taboo topic, resulting in people being afraid or uncomfortable talking about it. I believe that if you cannot talk about something, then you cannot improve it. Through organisations like GHC and through my health promotion training at LSHTM, I have learned to more effectively help normalise these uncomfortable conversations in an effort to invite all people into the dialogue, and empower them to make the most well-informed decisions for themselves.”
Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, serves as a GHC advisory board member. To members of the GHC community he is known as “the godfather of Global Health Corps” as he hosted the aids2031 Young Leaders Summit, which catalysed GHC’s founding in 2009.
While studying at LSHTM, Jasmine had the opportunity to interview Professor Piot on behalf of GHC. “Having a chance to speak with [Professor Piot] about his take on leadership, collaboration, and why he is optimistic about the future of global health was truly an honour as I am deeply grateful to be a part of both GHC and LSHTM, and I know many of my peers that are in both communities feel the same.” You can view Jasmine’s interview with Professor Piot here.
The GHC alumni network is over 700 people strong and growing, which truly makes the community a global movement. If you would like to learn more about GHC and how you can get involved, please visit their website, or check out their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You can also stay up to date on their 2018-2019 fellowship application process and year by signing up for the GHC newsletter.
Images courtesy of Jasmine Burton. Feature image shows Global Health Corps members, some of whom are LSHTM students, gather at the 2017 Skoll Forum at Oxford University with founder Barbara Bush.