March 2022 marks two years since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. In the words of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization:
“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.” (WHO, March 2020)
For PHI/CDC Global Health Fellowship Program staff, shortly after the WHO announcement, we packed up our computers from PHI headquarters in Oakland, California, and headed home to work remotely for what we thought would be just a few weeks. Our fellows similarly followed suit, heading home or back to the US (for overseas fellows), to work from their home or a family member’s home, for an indefinite period.
March 2022 also marks two and a half years since our third-year fellows started the fellowship in September 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. None of us knew how much their fellowship would change, let alone the world, in just six short months following their Orientation in Atlanta, Georgia.
Our third-year fellows are now entering their final six months of the fellowship, and we would like to acknowledge their resiliency and flexibility during the past several years, as well as take a moment to recognize their many accomplishments in the face of historic challenges in global health. Many fellows contributed to CDC’s Emergency Operations Center in addition to their regular fellowship assignments. While it is not possible to list all of their contributions to CDC’s Center for Global Health, we’ve included a selection below:
Ariana Paredes-Vincent, MPH | Monitoring & Evaluation Fellow | South Africa
Managed data quality assessment/improvement activities for six implementing partners supporting over 2,000 facilities [in South Africa]. Activities included development of processes, tools, standard operating procedures, training materials, and coordination and implementation of site visits.
As a Data Analyst and Information Manager on COVID-19 International Task Force, led development of automated excel and Power BI dashboards to monitor and report on ITF activities and streamlined task tracking and information management processes to improve efficiency and collaboration.
Ayayi Ayite, MPH, MBA, MT (ASCP) | Surveillance Fellow | Atlanta
Led the domestic mitigation data abstraction project for all U.S States and Territories to evaluate the effectiveness of the COVID-19 mitigation measures in the Emergency Operation Center at CDC HQ.
Supported the development and review of PHIA surveys’ protocols, training material, SOPS; supported staff training in Botswana and monitored field activities for Haiti and Zimbabwe.
Carter McCabe, MPH | Surveillance Fellow | Mozambique
Completed 3 COVID-19 response details: analyzed trends and created visualizations in addition to epidemiological curves of COVID-19 cases and deaths that were presented daily to incidence management leadership. Contributing author on 2 MMWR publications.
Served as CDC-Mozambique POC for Mozambique PHIA (INSIDA): oversaw survey implementation, from initial protocol and SOP revision, household listing, and training to data collection and monitoring. With National Institute of Health (INS) colleagues, used GIS and Excel to create and maintain the deployment plan, a detailed Gantt Chart mapping 50 data collection teams’ movements in 313 areas & 11 provinces. Developed automated R code to monitor data collection teams’ daily progress, allowing for improved survey data quality by identifying teams with low efficiency and geographic areas with high refusal rates. Cleaned raw survey data and assisted in formulating and presenting preliminary result tables for use in country budget planning.
Ha Truong, MPH | Surveillance Fellow | Atlanta
Made major contributions to the TRACE initiative for HIV recent infection surveillance:
- Coordinated the “HTS_RECENT Indicator: Background, Best Practices, and Resolving Challenges” webinar, attended by 80+ CDC field and HQ-based staff.
- Received the 2021 “DGHT Unsung Hero in Science and Programs Team Award” as one of the TRACE PHI Fellows working on the scale-up of recent infection surveillance in 20+ countries.
Participated in three details with the International Task Force for the COVID-19 Response.
Neha Kamat, MPH | Strategic Information Fellow | Mozambique
Collaborated with Mozambican colleagues from the National Institute of Health on several scientific products, such as an IAS 2021 abstract on young people who are lost to follow-up on ART and a Portuguese-language bulletin on documented transfer-outs across the country.
Self-learned SQL to produce analytical datasets from MozART, a national, longitudinal, patient-level database, contributing to a wide variety of projects, including a CD4 network assessment and treatment outcome analysis that focus on differentiated service delivery, the implementation of Test and Start, and more.
Nora Hennesy, MPH | Surveillance Fellow | Tanzania
While detailed to the NCOV-Epidemiology Task Force, contributed to two Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR) from a pediatric household cluster study and a publication in the Journal of Adolescent Health from a pediatric outpatient analysis.
Led the study implementation for the development and piloting of a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework for HIV ECHO, including the planning and facilitation of a large, nationally representative stakeholder dissemination workshop and the drafting of final recommendations for dissemination to local partners and the Government of Tanzania.
Sarah Aheron, MPH, MBA | Monitoring & Evaluation Fellow | South Africa
Deployed as part of the COVID-19 response with the International Task Force (ITF) supporting a COVID-19 survey in Pakistan which included questionnaire development, data analysis and dissemination of results.
Served as a site lead for several facilities under the intensive site-support program, “Siyenza”, collaborating with partners and Department of Health staff for program improvement.
Tiffany Tran, MPH | Epidemiology Fellow | Mozambique & Atlanta
Collaborated with colleagues at the Mozambique National Institute of Health on the evaluation of the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in selected provincial capitals. Awarded the individual certificate of appreciation by the U.S. Mission to Mozambique for exceptional support to the COVID-19 seroprevalence survey analysis in June 2021 and the PHI/CDC Global Health Fellowship Outstanding Impact on a COVID-19 Related Project or Activity Award in July 2021.
Developed a research protocol in collaboration with multiple implementing partners on the impact of COVID-19 on clinical outcomes and service delivery among people living with HIV and health care workers in Mozambique. Facilitated a remote site activation visit with the DGHT Science Integrity Branch in Inhambane, Mozambique.
Zuwena Plata | Monitoring & Evaluation Fellow | Tanzania
Lead point of contact for the development, implementation, and evaluation of the CDC Tanzania Data Quality Toolkit in collaboration with colleagues at UCSF Global Programs office.
Co-author on a journal publication and contributor to 2 MMWRs resulting from 2 COVID-19 response details:
- Fisher KA, Olson SM, Tenforde MW, et al. Telework Before Illness Onset Among Symptomatic Adults Aged ≥18 Years with and Without COVID-19 in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020; 69:1648–1653.
- Fisher KA, Tenforde MW, Feldstein LR, et al. Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020; 69:1258–1264. DOI
Congratulations to all our current 2022 3rd Year Fellows:
- Alexis Sciarratta, MPH; Zimbabwe
- Ariana Paredes-Vincent, MPH; South Africa
- Ayayi Ayite, MPH, MBA, MT (ASCP); Atlanta
- Brittany Gianetti, MPH; Uganda
- Carter McCabe, MPH; Mozambique
- Hannah Kubinson, MPH; Ethiopia
- Ha Truong, MPH; Atlanta
- Mitsuki Koh, MPH; eSwatini
- Neha Kamat, MPH; Mozambique
- Nora Hennesy, MPH; Tanzania
- Paulah Wheeler, MPH; South Africa
- Sarah Aheron, MPH; South Africa
- Tiffany Tran, MPH, CPH; Atlanta & Mozambique
- Zuwena Plata, MPH; Tanzania
-Whitney Hall, Administration & Communications Lead