Marissa Boeck

Master of Public Health

Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, 2006

Weill Cornell Medical College, Doctorate of Medicine, 2011

United States of America

The assessment of surgical resources and needs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with the goal of implementing sustainable care through changes in health systems and policies. More specifically, focusing on emergency response, trauma management, and injury prevention.

What are your career goals?

Having just completed my third year of general surgery residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia, I’ll return for the final two clinical years after the one-year MPH program and a subsequent year of research. I plan to pursue a trauma and critical care fellowship after residency. My ideal position is a mixture of domestic and international clinical and research activities, providing surgical and trauma care, and emergency response services to places urgently lacking. I plan to continue “paying it forward” with a strong focus on mentorship, which has already had an invaluable role in my career, while continuing to foster the growth of surgery in the global health arena.

What sparked your interest in global health?

My awareness of international health can be traced back to my first reading of “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder, which details the extraordinary history of Partners in Health and one of its founders, Paul Farmer. With medical school already decided upon, this story made an indelible impression of what one person’s selfless dedication can accomplish towards benefiting an untold many. I then saw firsthand the burden socioeconomic inequalities places on health and resource availability, when I traveled to Brazil for an international health rotation during medical school. Through time spent at a public hospital, I witnessed an overwhelming healthcare need, lack of basic supplies and medical staff, and astounding number of advanced disease presentations. Not to mention the often unacceptable living conditions in the endless favelas dotting the hillsides and valleys, with families living amidst waste and clouds of Dengue-carrying mosquitoes. This further opened my eyes to the colossal challenges and barriers facing medical and public health workers, and solidified my goal to learn how to provide concrete solutions to healthcare inequities across the globe. 

How do you see yourself making a difference in public health because of the Global Health Scholarship?

To be a successful leader in global surgery, I realized I needed additional skills on top of medical knowledge to make effective, lasting changes. As a Global Health Scholar, I have been given the remarkable opportunity to further explore and sharpen vital competencies in epidemiology and biostatistics, and to uncover how to successfully navigate health systems and enact policies. Coupled with integral networking and mentorship prospects with experts in the international health community, JHSPH provides a fertile environment for the next great global health ideas to be born. Being a Global Health Scholar enables me to be a dynamic actor in this venture, and to continue working towards increased recognition and investment in surgery as a justified and necessary global health discipline.

Who inspires you and why?

Pioneers in the field of global surgery and international public health are who motivate me. Their unwavering dedication to provide healthcare access to those in greatest need, frequently through creative means and to the detriment of personal pursuits, is truly humbling. Change does not come easily or overnight, and these leaders illustrate through persistence, empathy and adaptability how one can tip the scale towards success over failure. This is what I aspire to.


Stefan Baral, MD MPH,MBA,MSc

Director, Key Populations Program

Joanne Katz, ScD MS,BSc

Associate Chair, Director of Academic Programs

Noreen Hynes, MD MPH

Director, Geographic Medicine Center of the Division of Infectious Diseases

Yukari C. Manabe, MD

Associate Director of Global Health Research and Innovation

Robert Bollinger Jr., MD MPH

Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education (CCGHE); Associate Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Global...

Caitlin Kennedy, PhD MPH,BA

Co-Director, MPH concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health; Associate Director, Center for Qualitative...

February 2020



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