This week Sun Yu Cotter joined the UC Global Health Institute (UCGHI) as deputy director, where she will lead operations and strategic development.
Sun has worked at UCSF for nearly ten years – most recently within the UCSF Institute for Global Health Sciences as the senior program manager on a project aiming to improve the quality of maternal health, family planning and abortion care for women in Kenya and India.
Let’s get to know Sun.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m from Walnut Creek, California. I currently reside in Berkeley with my husband who works at UCSF with the Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative and my 3 year old boy, who already shares our passion for international travel. He has been to Iceland, France, Switzerland and Thailand. I am also a living organ donor and donated my kidney to my father at UCSF in 2006.
What inspired you to work in global health?
I was first inspired to work in global health as a Peace Corps Health volunteer in rural Uzbekistan (where I met my husband). My local counterpart, Dr. Mashxura Shermatova, and I wrote several grants to improve the quality of the health clinic, such as installing running water throughout the clinic and building a new roof. My husband and I did a number of health education projects together at local schools, bazaars and at summer camps.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
I implemented a $14 million multi-site large clinical trial in Niger, Tanzania and Malawi funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reduce childhood mortality and morbidity with oral azithromycin (MORDOR trial) with investigators & study teams from the F.I. Proctor Foundation at UCSF, Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Based on the significant results of this first trial, this study has expanded to other African countries.
What does joining UCGHI as deputy director mean to you?
I am very excited to step into this role as the deputy director for UCGHI. As a global health researcher, I have always valued global health education, international collaborations and partnerships and especially capacity building for future global health scholars. In this new role, I am committed to focusing in these areas.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new role?
I am eager to participate in shaping the vision for the future of UCGHI. As a first-generation college graduate from a low-income immigrant family, I am committed to being a strong voice in advocating for future global health scholars from similar backgrounds.