College Park, Maryland - Elizabeth Lopez, a 2018 alumna of the School of Public Health with a bachelor's in Public Health Science, has been named a 2018-19 Global Health Corps (GHC) Fellow. From a pool of over 5,500 applicants across 35 countries, Elizabeth is among the 134 GHC Fellows for this year. Elizabeth is UMD's seventh GHC Fellow since 2011.
The GHC mission is to mobilize a global community of emerging leaders to build the movement for health equity. The aim is to build a network of young changemakers who share a common belief: Health is a human right. The program embraces a philosophy of active problem solving and partnership designed to bring about real and sustainable progress. GHC is committed to creating a new breed of health sector leaders who develop innovative solutions to the most challenging health problems all over the world.
GHC recruits and selects highly qualified applicants with diverse skill sets to work with high-impact organizations in yearlong paid positions. During their fellowship year, fellows make a significant and measurable contribution to the placement organization and the target population.
As a GHC Fellow, Elizabeth is a Knowledge Management Associate with Population Action International (PAI) in Washington D.C. Her focus is the Primary Healthcare Initiative, which aims to help countries reach the goal for universal healthcare by 2030. She is working with different civil society advocates to help draft the initiative and work toward a common goal.
Prior to her GHC Fellowship and while studying abroad in Brazil with the assistance of Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, Elizabeth interned with Forca Feminina, an NGO based in Salvador, Bahia. There she researched efforts to humanize and restore visibility to female and trangender sex workers and she assisted community health workers with public health outreach efforts. For Elizabeth, this was a transformative experience because, as she states, it “opened the door in terms of viewing public health as social justice, viewing it as a humanitarian issue.” Although she had viewed healthcare holistically, her time in Brazil revealed the systemic connections between discrimination, racism, poverty, and gender identity in relation to healthcare access. “If you view these issues in the context of health, there’s so much more there,” she adds. Looking forward, Elizabeth plans to help bridge the gap of health disparities by pursuing a master’s degree in a health-related field and continuing to advocate for health equity.