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Student Spotlight

Conall Sauvey

Conall Sauvey is a PhD student in the UCSD Biomedical Sciences program. He uses in-silico and in-vitro screening approaches to identify therapeutic molecules against parasitic disease organisms. This includes organisms such as Naegleria fowleri or “brain-eating amoeba,” which has a fatality rate of over 97% and currently no existing cure. Though Naegleria infections are rare, they particularly affects tropical areas with sources of warm fresh water. Conall’s research also includes Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease. Chagas disease primarily affects low-income populations living in Mexico, Central, and South America, with an estimated 6.6 million cases worldwide. It causes chronic disease and heart failure in 30-40% of infected patients, and is currently incurable during this stage. Conall hopes that his work will help significantly increase the quality of life and chances of survival for people affected by these and other neglected tropical diseases.

Bianca Devoto

2016 Recipient of the Global Health Institute's Field Experience Funding Opportunity: Ecuador









1. Why did you decide to pursue a career path in global health?

When I first entered the field of global health, I sincerely believed that I could save the world. I thought global health would be the perfect outlet for me to help populations in need and to make the greatest difference. But, as I matured and dove further into my global health studies, I realized that a career in global health would allow me to make global change, but global change that was focused, personal and authentically driven. I discovered that while I may not be individually capable of saving the world, a career in global health would allow me to positively  impact the issues and groups that I am most passionate about. And from my global health work at UCSD, I have become committed to improving women’s sexual health and reproductive health rights. Though my motivations have changed while studying global health, I am excited to pursue a career in global health and to bring health equity to women in the global community.

2. How did you spend the funding you received from the GHI?

Over this past summer, I traveled to Ecuador for four weeks to participate in a global health field and education program. With the organization Child Family Health International, I shadowed community health care workers as they performed medical outreach in urban and rural communities in Ecuador. I observed and assisted these community health workers as they carried out public health programs for children’s immunizations, maternal health, chronic disease management, and vector-borne diseases. It was an amazing, immersive experience to learn from as well as engage with Ecuadorian health care workers and community members. I am so grateful that the GHI funding afforded me this opportunity!

3. Where do you see your career being in 5 years?

I will be attending graduate school in the fall to pursue a Master’s degree in Global Health. From there, I see myself working for a non-profit health organization that develops sustainable, community-based health systems like Partners in Health, and/or pursuing global health research in women’s sexual and reproductive health.

4. What advice do you have for other global health students?

My advice for global health students is: leave no stone unturned. Connect with Global Health faculty. Enroll in a diversity of courses. Find research opportunities. Volunteer with service organizations. By keeping an open mind and taking advantage of the resources offered by the Global Health program, you can make the most of your time at UCSD and define your purpose in global health.