Center for Planetary Health Student Ambassadors
2022-2023 Planetary Health Student Ambassadors
UC Santa Barbara
Adeline is a third year Biology major at UC Santa Barbara with experience volunteering in hospitals and with environmental protection groups. Her many hours volunteering with those experiencing homelessness has made her passionate about the lasting health conditions in poor and marginalized communities due to inequitable access to healthcare, clean water, and nutritious food. Her concern with protecting the environment is closely related to planetary health and she has a goal of bringing accessible composting options to the Santa Barbara area.
Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior Major / Social Ethnic and Gender Relations and Public Health Minor
Alice is a fourth year Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior major with a minor in Social Ethnic and Gender relations and Public Health. Alice is interested in community health medicine, education and food security advocacy especially for African American and immigrant communities in the Sacramento area. She serves as a volunteer for Imani Clinic, served as Co Head of the Imani Health Education Committee, and current Co Head of the Imani Outreach Committee for the annual Ulezi Health. She is also a part of student run organizations at UC Davis. She is the Co President of the Minority Association of Pre Health Students, Committee member of the ASUCD STEM and DREAM Committees and event coordinator for the Nigerian Students Association of UC Davis. She is also interested in Global education as she is a Global Ambassador Mentor and a Global Education for All fellow. Alice hopes to engage in intersectional advocacy for food insecurity and health education in her community.
Amanda is a second-year Master of Urban and Regional Planning student at UC Los Angeles with a focus on International Development. Her studies center on sustainable development that addresses inequities, climate change, and disparate health outcomes. Currently, Amanda is exploring legal empowerment solutions in the Global South. She earned her BS from UC Santa Barbara in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Biology.
Andrew is a fourth year at UC Riverside pursuing a degree in Biology and a minor in Environmental Science. His interests lie in the intersection between the environment and health and how a changing a environment can affect health disparities. In pursuit of his interests, Andrew is currently a research assistant working on an ecological remediation project to identify and study potential species with remeditative properties.
Public Health Science
Brittany’s work focuses on emerging infectious diseases and the social, environmental, and structural determinants of health. The overarching goal of her work is to better understand and address disparities in infectious diseases by examining the processes that create disadvantage and vulnerability. She uses a combination of epidemiologic, spatial, and systems science approaches to explore the complex interplay between social and environmental factors that drive the development and transmission of infections under the one health paradigm.
Human Biology & Society, Psychobiology
Emerald is an undergraduate student at UCLA with interests in increasing access to care for marginalized communities. As the daughter of Burmese immigrants, she has interests in addressing health inequities among populations affected by socioeconomic and environmental factors. On campus, she is currently involved in Bruin Shelter and the UCLA undergraduate chapter of the California Health Professional Student Alliance. In the future, she hopes to work towards developing strategies that promote public health and environmental justice.
Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology
Emily aspires to use research and education to work towards reducing prevalence of infectious diseases and environmental contaminants as well as amplifying the health struggles of underrepresented communities. Over the summer, Emily was part of the 2022 Public Health Scholars Training Program Cohort at UCLA and interned for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Emily hopes to become an epidemiologist and use her research to improve people’s quality of life.
Erika founded KidsLiveHealthy, a global non-profit focusing on teaching nutrition and health habits to children and families in vulnerable populations. She is a researcher on children’s global health nutrition and oral health for UC Berkeley Research Apprentice Program. Erika is also involved in internships to develop health policies for innovative health technologies, programs, and therapies. Her future goal is to pursue a Medical Degree (Pediatrician) and Masters in Public Health to propose effective ways to close gaps in children’s health and healthcare.
Guadalupe is a third year UC Merced undergraduate pursuing a degree in Public Health. She is currently an active member in Tri Delta, a social sorority in which she took a leadership position. She is also a volunteer for Services for Undocumented Students on campus. During the summer she shadowed at a clinic learning about occupational therapy and working with patients.She also got selected for the California Dream Network- Summer Leadership Academy internship. Her interests include diseases, healthcare, and health policies. She plans to pursue a career in health administration.
Medicine & Health and Medical Science
Hannah strives to amplify the voices and experiences of vulnerable communities to help ensure that they receive the attention and care they need. As an undergraduate, she taught CPR and first aid, served on the American Heart Association advocacy subcommittee, tutored and mentored at-risk youth, and helped connect patients with free and low-cost social resources. She is currently working with the UCSF Human Rights Collaborative to assist asylum seekers with the asylum process as well as with the UCSF Environmental Research and Translation for Health (EaRTH) Center to help improve the health of patients and of the planet.
UC Santa Barbara
Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology
Kayla is a PhD student at UC Santa Barbara interested in disease ecology. She studies how disease sharing between people, domestic animals, and wildlife in Madagascar. She studies how human-driven land-use changes impact infectious diseases in wildlife through changes in community composition. She also studies how these changes circulate back to humans and their domestic animals utilizing these disturbed areas in the form of zoonotic disease.
Maia is a second-year doctoral student in Public Health with a Global Health concentration. Her interests center on the effects of conflict on health. Her work focuses on conflicts in the Middle East and explores infectious diseases, weaponization of health, disease surveillance, and epidemiological trends. Prior to beginning graduate school, she coordinated a statewide tuberculosis medication access program in Massachusetts. She earned her BA from Tufts University in Community Health and Middle Eastern Studies.
Maya is doing a Master's of Public Health in Global Health and Environment and her main interests lie in One Health and planetary health, specifically the intersection between health and conservation. Maya grew up in Kampala, Uganda and has had a number of field work experiences there including a project on health and conservation around Kibale National Park, and an occupational health survey of staff at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Maya hopes to use her Master's degree to design and implement programs that promote harmonious and mutually beneficial interactions between human communities, wildlife and their shared environment.
UC Santa Cruz
Michelle is an undergraduate student at UC Santa Cruz studying human biology. She is committed to learning more about geopolitical determinants of health, the stories they create, and the relationship between physical and mental health. Currently, Michelle is the president of the UCSC Model United Nations team, secretary of an organization aiming to house homeless students, and saving up for PA or med school!
Master of Public Health in Epidemiology
Mira has a degree in Global Disease Biology from UC Davis and is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree to continue studying health on a local and global scale. Over the last year she has studied climate change impacts on wildfires in Northern California and their effects on human health. She wants to further explore the relationship between climate change and human health and become more trained in global disease policy and mitigation.
UC Santa Barbara
Nancy is currently majoring in biopsychology on the pre-health track, in hopes of working in the healthcare or public health field. She is very interested in doing research and collecting data on the racial disparities and inequalities in the healthcare field. Nancy has interned and volunteered at children's hospitals in which she shadowed multiple healthcare professionals and interacted with patients (in English and Spanish, and Arabic).
Natasha is currently a PhD student in Public Health at UC Irvine and holds an interdisciplinary MSc in African Development from the London School of Economics. Natasha is interested in infectious disease epidemiology and One Health perspectives to disease ecology, particularly in low resource settings. She is currently researching the interacting dynamics of migration to a small gold mining settlement in Ethiopia and resulting changes in demographics and disease epidemiology.
Nayelie Benitez Santos
Nursing - FNP
Nayelie is interested in assisting in the creation of healthier communities for minority groups. During her epidemiology master's program, she took courses on environmental health, which allowed her to become more informed about the detrimental health effects of poor ecological health. She wants to help address these disparities by becoming more educated and involved with the work conducted in planetary science.
UC San Diego
Nina is a global health master's student at UCSD (2022-2023). She wants to address health inequities through law and policy. Nina is passionate about learning how aspects of the environment disproportionately affect the health of marginalized populations and implementing effective interventions (such as the impact of CAFO's on the health of surrounding communities)
UC San Diego
Paola (Pa-hola) is a first-generation Latina student at UC San Diego where she is majoring in Global Health. She has interned at the Women’s Center and now at the Raza Resource Centro. By combining her cultural and gender identity in aspects of social justice, she hopes to dismantle colonialist structures implemented in both academia and social settings. Recently she was part of a cohort of UCSD immigrant advocates who gathered data based on accessing services. With the help of migrants alongside the borders of the USA, they collectively formed a research paper based on their difficulties and what needs to be implemented to help them. In the future, Paola plans to attend medical school and continue her passion for community health, research, and advocacy.
Ruwini is a veterinarian (Sri Lanka) and a doctoral student in Epidemiology at UC Davis. She is currently studying viral and bacterial genomes to understand the evolution and transmission mechanisms of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance in animals. Her passion is being a scientist in genetics, infectious disease epidemiology, and One Health and an advocate for One Health/Planetary Health.
UC Santa Cruz
Business Management Economics and Biology
Sonali is an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz who is passionate about creating equitable healthcare for low income communities. She is the Community-Building lead for Partners in Health. She is also a research assistant at the Zuniga Lab. She assists in land management at the UCSC Campus Natural Reserve. She loves to play guitar, read, and go for hikes on the beautiful trails in Santa Cruz.
UC Santa Cruz
Tiago was born and raised in Brazil, Tiago is profoundly concerned about health hardships people from the Global South encounter daily, especially those challenges with political roots. Before coming to UC Santa Cruz, he worked as a research assistant for the Brazilian government, focusing on the commercial determinants of health and the convoluted relation between neglected diseases and Big Pharma. Currently, Tiago's primary interest is understanding how misinformation affects the implementation of health services in Latin America.