CGH celebrates Global Health Day 2018

Emily Nagourney and Victoria Chen | The Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health

Each year, the Center for Global Health celebrates Global Health Day by sharing and informing global health knowledge, expertise and experiences with the Johns Hopkins, local, and international communities.

Keynote Speaker

On March 29, 2018, the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, in partnership with the JHSPH MPH Program and the Johns Hopkins Alliance for a Healthier World, welcomed Dr. Rajesh Panjabi as the 2018 Global Health Day Keynote Speaker. Delivering a captivating talk to students, staff, and faculty from across the Hopkins community, Dr. Panjabi shared his inspiring story behind Last Mile Health and his conviction that “no condition is permanent.”

After escaping civil war in his home country of Liberia at age nine and moving to the United States, Dr. Panjabi returned to Liberia in 2005 as a medical student to work with the Liberia Ministry of Health. Shocked by the destruction from years of violence and led by the commitment of community members to take action, Raj co-founded Last Mile Health, an organization committed to bringing access to healthcare to Liberia’s most remote communities. By partnering with the government to design, scale, and advocate for national networks of community health professionals, Raj has been able to return to his home country and serve the communities that were left behind in the civil war.

In his talk, Dr. Panjabi stressed the importance of on-the-ground engagement and why building a Community Health Academy to train, equip and support community health workers is essential to achieving universal health. Responding to a question about sustainable and equitable models for future global health programming, he reflected that solutions should come from and be led by those they are meant to serve, and the need to ensure local partners are given an equal seat at the table, stating, “It’s the country’s people who are leading the work […] the world of social media bestows credit on the NGOs because we have communications arms, etc., but we’ve continued to try to bring it back to the leadership of the Ministry of Health.” Woven throughout the talk were pictures and stories of resilience: health workers who paddled canoes for hours to bring a severely ill child to clinic, and the thousands who put their own lives at risk during the 2014 Ebola outbreak to serve their neighbors. Their stories, and the story of how Last Mile Health has mobilized a growing cadre of skilled health professionals in the most hard to reach places of the world, is impactful and inspiring.   

Since 2005, Dr. Panjabi and his team have expanded the organization’s efforts to other countries, with a focus on the solutions that bring quality health care to everyone, everywhere. With several notable accolades in his blossoming career – he is an Associate Physician in the Division of Global Health Equity at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and recipient of the TEDx prize, the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and named one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People”, among others honors – Dr. Panjabi’s tone throughout his talk was humble, urgent, and hopeful in the power of community resilience and capacity to make sure no one is left behind.

You can view the full webcast here.

Mentorship Awards

An integral part of Global Health Day is recognizing the faculty mentors who play a role in shaping international student experiences. Nominated by students, these mentors showcase the qualities and attributes that define dedicated, passionate, caring mentors. This year, the Center for Global Health recognized four outstanding mentors, selected from a nomination list of nearly 20 faculty members across Johns Hopkins University:

Poster Presentations

At the afternoon poster session 96 students and trainees across the Schools of Public Health, Medicine, Nursing, Arts and Sciences, Business, and Advanced International Studies presented on their global health experiences. Students showcased a wide range of projects––including field observations, laboratory-based work, qualitative and quantitative research––carried out in 41 countries over the past year. Over three quarters of these projects were funded by the Center for Global Health through the Global Health Established Field Placements, Paul S. Lietman Global Travel Fellowship, Global Health Established Multidisciplinary Sites, and Global Health Field Research Award. Additionally, twenty students presented on their MPH field experience and three individuals presented independent global work. Awards were presented to the top three posters, and to the highest scoring photographs submitted to the annual schoolwide global photography contest.

Poster Contest Winners

Photo Contest Winners

1st Place: Tim Werwie, “Next in line”. Mali, 2016

2nd Place: Vanessa Burrowes, “Niños de Las Montañas (17,010 ft)”. Peru, 2017

3rd Place: Swati Sudarsan, “Lardi’s Pride”. Ghana, 2015


The Center for Global Health would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions to a successful Global Health Day:

Photo of Dr. Panjabi: Marisa Russell, JHSPH Communications


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