Why We Do What We Do: Marguerite M. Callaway

Growing up in Southern Arizona near the Mexican border, Marguerite Callaway was exposed to many cultures, which ultimately influenced her decision to pursue graduate education in international nutrition, cognitive and developmental psychology, and business. Her career includes position in executive leadership and and partnerships in several international management consultancies, which led to Callaway founding her own leadership institute. 
Callaway currently partners with the GHLI on the Advanced Health Management Program in South Africa.  In this role, Callaway says she had to find the balance with her sphere of concern (global) with her sphere of influence (local).
Callaway shares three insights she has learned in her years as a health care professional:  1) Unfamiliar circumstances often cause discomfort. The more aware we are of how core beliefs affect our personal and professional behavior, the greater our capacity to excel in the global community; 2) When working across cultures, our preferred method may seem efficient, but these assumptions can create barriers to ingenuity; 3) Good intentions and the right motivation are important, but practical skills are a necessity in the health care field.
Callaway emphasizes that the success of any health care initiative depends on how well we listen and adapt to meet the needs of our beneficiaries. She notes that GHLI staff hear what our partner’s goals are and don’t apply ‘cookie cutter’ solutions to its various programs around the globe.  She says that workers/educators “from the outside” can offer insight, tools, and, especially, encouragement to help local partners carry the work forward.   She cites GHLI’s South African partner, the Foundation for Professional Development, of which several of the training course graduates have gone to leadership positions with the provincial departments of health.

When asked what she likes most about her work, she offered: “being involved with GHLI long enough to see many of the graduates of our programs move into ever-greater positions of responsibility and impact. I am inspired by each new group of men and women who enroll in our management training programs. I know the GHLI model of engagement works.”

Why We Do What We Do: Netsanet Fetene

GHLI research associate, Dr. Netsanet Fetene was inspired to pursue a career in medicine to help the ill people, especially children, he observed in Ethiopia. “Many of deaths in Ethiopia were caused by treatable, even curable diseases,” explains Dr. Fetene, “this was something I just could not overlook.” Motivated by his strong will to make a difference in his community, Dr. Fetene went on to study medicine at Addis Ababa University.

Dr. Fetene’s commitment to improve the lives of those around him has been evident since the beginning of his career. As a practicing medical doctor in Ethiopia hospitals, he quickly realized his work could have an even greater impact if he focused on the field of public health. This led him to become involved in with some of the world’s preeminent public health organizations such as the World Health Organization. Dr. Fetene believes that research, management and leadership programs are the key to strengthening a nation’s health system – and in turn, strengthening a nation’s overall health.

Prior to working at GHLI, Dr. Fetene worked on capacity building projects for the reproductive and primary health care teams in South Sudan, Pakistan and Sudan. There he established protocols and systems for drug management, developed reporting tools, and implemented case management based on Ministry of Health and World Health Organization protocols.

As part of GHLI, Dr. Fetene enjoys translating research into actionable results that help solve health problems in his community. While Dr. Fetene and the GHLI team have achieved great success in Ethiopia, he believes that there is still much more work to be done. A slow response to change in disease patterns related to population growth and urbanization is just one of the many challenges he and the team in Ethiopia face. Additionally, making health care facilities ready to provide quality health care services and allow the community access to standardized and equitable health care remains one of the biggest global health problems today. Still, Dr. Fetene remains optimistic that the work GHLI does is an integral part of overcoming these challenges and looks forward to continuing to serve his community in the field of public health.

Why We Do What We Do: Halima Mohammed

Halima Mohammed

As a child, I watched people with acute and chronic illnesses coming to the health station located hundreds of meters from our home. My father was a health assistant in charge of a rural government clinic and spent most of the days working in the clinic. He was sometimes called for emergency services during the night and had to travel to remote rural villages when epidemics occurred. My exposure and interest in public health was a part of my life as long as I can remember.

After completing my high school education, I enrolled in the Addis Ababa Centralized School of Nursing. I was assigned to the rural health center Arsi, Robe where I started my professional career as a qualified nurse. There I diagnosed and treated patients, provided maternal and child health services, and vaccinated children at the health center and outreach posts. I was often expected to perform those duties without a supervisor – which challenged me while also giving me the opportunity to make decisions, be confident and broaden my education and experience.

After four years at the rural health center I was transferred to a regional hospital in Arsi, Assela where I worked in several departments and managed a nurses division. I then relocated to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where I joined the Black Lion Specialized Referral Hospital and served for 15 years in diverse positions. During that time, I also advanced my education and received a B.S. degree in nursing and M.H.A. in Health Care Administration.

I joined the GHLI HEPCAPS Project in November 2013. I appreciate and enjoy the strategic thinking of the program, which aims to strengthen health systems in African countries, mainly through capacity building, training and research. As part of the HEPCAPS team, I work to strengthen primary health care units within the larger health sector in Ethiopia. The time motion study for HEPCAPS and PHCU demonstration project by GHLI are the most rewarding aspects of my work. This project helps us understand how health extension workers in Ethiopia spend their time, and my role includes collecting, monitoring and reviewing this data. The biggest challenge is bringing the people and the stakeholders I work with on board to implement the strategy.

As my work progresses, I hope to continue to improve health systems at the grassroots level and to also develop my skills by working on projects with people from which I can continue to learn and grow.

Why We Do What We Do: Nikole Allen

GHLI program manager Nikole Allen first became interested in global development as a freshman in high school. Nikole realized that, “access to education, health and economic opportunities provided to most Americans is not universal.” She became actively involved in Operation Days’ Work, a USAID-led youth development program.The program empowers students to promote international awareness and support educational initiatives in lower income countries. Nikole’s work with the program focused on funding a grant to refurbish a secondary school in rural Ethiopia. With piqued interest in the global health field, she selected a major in international studies at the Western Oregon University. 


While pursuing her Master’s of Public Health through the Peace Corps Master International program at the University of Washington she was reconnected to Ethiopia, where she worked as a community HIV/AIDS advisor. Later, she joined the Clinton Health Access Initiative’s Ethiopian Hospital Management Initiative and began working with the Ministry of Health to help hospitals interpret key performance methods — including the measurement of patient and staff satisfaction, the uptake of patient satisfaction best practices and the implementation of the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist.  


Since joining the GHLI team, Nikole has led research and training programs in the United Kingdom, Tanzania and Rwanda. GHLI has provided her with the opportunity to collaborate with a variety of groups in different health systems. She particularly enjoys learning about each group’s challenges and providing them with the guidance and support to generate strategies to address those problems. 


“The GHLI leadership programs are incredibly valuable because they offer country participants the ability to learn outside of their regular environment and reflect on their challenges.”

“I appreciate that GHLI recognizes that health system challenges exist everywhere, so we have domestic projects and partners in high income countries as well,” said Nikole. “I’m looking forward to continuing to explore the intersection of public health and development across the globe.”   

Why We Do What We Do: Dawit Tatek

Dawit Tatek, GHLI Program Manager for the Ethiopia Hospital Management Initiative (EHMI) became interested in public health after seeing people unnecessarily die from preventable diseases. “The problems I saw were more common among residents who lived far from health facilities. Seeing positive results from health programs in improving equity in access to health service was the turning point in my career as public health professional.”


Dawit completed his undergraduate training in Medical Laboratory Technology and Clinical Nursing at the University of Gondar, Ethiopia. After working at the Gondar hospital for six years, he joined the Clinton Health Access Initiative to work in the Ethiopian Millennium Rural Initiative program, and was appointed primary health care unit coordinator. He worked in remote areas to improve implementation of the health extension program, increase HIV counseling and testing, and increase delivery of services. In 2011, Dawit joined GHLI and has been working with EHMI, managing two Master’s of Hospital Administration programs in Ethiopia while acquiring a Master’s Degree in General Public Health. 


One of the aspects of GHLI that Dawit enjoys most is the use of critical thinking and an evidence-based approach. He commends GHLI for applying scientific problem solving techniques to improve quality in hospital and healthcare management.  

“I find it extremely rewarding to help transform hospitals managers into confidant and outstanding leaders through the MHA program. It is very satisfying to receive good feedback on the program and know that I have helped.”

But Dawit’s job is not without its challenges. Working with stakeholders who may not always understand the urgency of the problem can lead to inefficiency in job performance, and students are not always willing to learn and change as quickly as the program demands. However, despite these challenges, Dawit hopes to assume more leadership responsibilities and become involved in strategy management processes. He also hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in health economics and health policy in the near future.

Why We Do What We Do: Philip Morgan

From Africa to Asia, Philip Morgan, Physical Rehabilitation Program Manager at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has traveled the world with strong sense of humanitarianism, and desire to combat certain issues he has seen again and again related to global health. 
After joining the ICRC six years ago, Philip now works in low-income countries where he applies his expertise in both humanitarian efforts and in prosthetics and orthotics. He was recently named a facilitator for the Regional Senior Leadership Program Implemented by Yale GHLI and Management Sciences for Health through the USAID-funded Leadership, Management & Governance Project.  The Program provides senior decision makers with the skills they need to address health system challenges. Equipping these national teams to improve their respective country’s enabling environment for disability and physical rehabilitation services will enhance USAID and ICRC’s ongoing efforts to establish and improve accessible and appropriate prosthetic, orthotic, and physical rehabilitation services.
Philip facilitates the team from Sudan comprised of six senior leaders from government and non-profits, clinical and non-clinical, who focus on disability issues. “It is a challenge to get the team members together, due to their busy and varying schedules – but with support from Yale GHLI team members and MSH we are able to manage the team and develop solutions,” he explains. Philip finds it particularly interesting that despite participants’ various backgrounds, they have all been able to unite over a common commitment to the program.
“The response from the first session has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Philip. “I hope the students continue to pursue this work. Forging strong alliances across borders would help provide further support to each other’s programs, and certainly help develop policy with regards to disability issues within each country.”
Philip sees great opportunity for continued work in Sudan and hopes to support the work of the National Authority for Prosthetics and Orthotics (NAPO) and their plan to set up a school of prosthetics and orthotics within the country. With only 25 specialized clinicians to serve the needs of over 130,000 people in Sudan with physical disabilities, there is a great need – and Philip wants to help work towards a solution.  

Why We Do What We Do: Angela Ofori-Atta

Angela Ofori-Atta, Ph.D., clinical psychologist at the University of Ghana Medical School, was the only African in her graduate school class at the University of British Columbia. During her studies, many discussions focused on North America and health challenges– piquing her interest in the field of mental health. Angela was encouraged when she found that, although expressed differently based on culture, the theories she was studying were applicable to her home country, Ghana. After reading “Behavior Therapy” by Wolpe, Angela became fascinated by the science of behavior and her focus began to shift to how the language of health transcended borders.

“I first heard of a global health conference at Yale through my husband, a Yale alumni and I was eager to be a part of our country’s delegation,” explains Angela. “The GHLI Conference seemed like a great opportunity to share ideas and strategies on how to address Ghana’s health issues with colleagues at Yale and with other countries.”

Angela’s work examines poverty’s impact on mental health. Although she has seen great strides in this area – including the passing of the mental health bill in 2012, Act 846 – she believes there is still much work to be done.  Mental health is often given the least priority in countries where contagious diseases are an issue.

In Ghana, although we are still without certain essential disciplines such as psychotherapists and occupational therapists, the mental health workforce now includes more individuals who are passionate about their work and focused on the patient. “Stigmatism around the field is changing and people are practicing more ethically,” said Angela. Collaboration between mental health workers and academia has aided in these positive shifts but lack of financial resources is a constant challenge.

When asked her advice for those looking to enter the field, Angela said, “Be prepared to believe in what you do.” Her belief and passion for the field of mental health has inspired others to face challenges and believe in the potential for progress.

Bridget Bash, GHLI Staff