Save the Mothers’ new Global Health Corps Fellows for the 2017/18 academic year are, from left, Meredith Hutchins and Ivan Mwase.
Save the Mothers is stronger and more effective thanks to partnerships. Quite simply, we couldn’t do the work that we do – reaching out into communities large and small throughout East Africa – without their support.
For several years, we’ve been thrilled to participate in a partner relationship with Global Health Corps (GHC), a leadership development organization focused on health equity. Each year, they send us two of their outstanding “Fellows.” GHC Fellows work with high-impact health organizations in yearlong paid positions, filling critical gaps in those organizations as they engage in intensive leadership development and community building.
We’d like to introduce you to our two newest GHC Fellows: Meredith Hutchins and Ivan Mwase. Meredith studied Medical Anthropology and Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle and holds a Master’s degree in Global Maternal and Child Health from Boston University School of Public Health. Outside of the classroom, she has worked at several global nonprofit organizations including Partners In Health, the African Food and Peace Foundation, and Care2Communities. Within each organization, she has worked to promote health equity and systems strengthening through sustainable funding, capacity-building, and strategic partnerships. She also served on the board of trustees of the Cambridge Women’s Center, a grassroots-driven nonprofit. Ivan has five years’ experience in nutrition programming in both development and humanitarian contexts. Before joining STM, he worked as a Nutrition Consultant with PREFA-Uganda, building technical capacity for infant and young child feeding in HIV/AIDS. In addition, he has worked with CONCERN worldwide responding to the West Nile South Sudanese influx. He has engaged in extensive food and nutrition research with National Agricultural Research Laboratories in value addition and diet diversity. Ivan has trained and mentored a number of intern doctors, nutritionists, and public health officers on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). He holds a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition (Public Health Nutrition), University of Glasgow, UK and a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Technology, Makerere University, Uganda.
STM: Tell us about why you wanted to be a GHC Fellow for Save the Mothers.
Meredith: Save the Mothers’ belief that access to quality maternal care is a basic human right aligns with my own core values. My undergraduate studies began my path to advocating for social justice and my commitment to health equity for women and children led me to pursue a Master of Public Health degree in Global Maternal and Child Health. I am thrilled to be a part of the Save the Mothers team and hope to further the impact STM is making on the lives of mothers and babies in East Africa.
Ivan: As a Public Health Nutritionist, I strongly believe that every person has an equal right to access quality health and that no mother or child should die due to pregnancy/ birth related complications. Joining STM is an opportunity to utilise my skills and expertise as part of a team that advocates for health equity and is mandated to significantly reduce child and maternal mortality. As the first male fellow at STM, I wanted to advocate for male involvement in addressing issues related to maternal and child health.
STM: What are you most looking forward to about your time with Save the Mothers?
Meredith: Seeing STM programming in action— from clinic site visits to sitting in on MPHL lectures.
Ivan: I am looking forward to utilising my experience and skills working with health centres in remote settings to lay down new strategies on scaling up the role of men in improving maternal and child health. Oh yes, I can’t wait to work on more effective and sustainable fundraising strategies!
STM: What do you hope to do (career wise) in the future?
Meredith: Throughout my career in global health, I hope to make a lasting impact in the communities I serve. I believe that accompaniment and partnerships are the foundation of a deep, meaningful change in the lives of those most vulnerable. After this fellowship year, I plan on applying for global health jobs in the East Africa region. Ultimately, I intend on becoming a consultant with the Women’s Refugee Commission or another organization that brings reproductive health services to humanitarian disaster and emergency settings.
Ivan: In the future, I am hoping to engage in health and nutrition programming in humanitarian settings. I also hope to nurture a consultancy firm providing capacity building, program implementation, policy formulation and advocacy for companies, government departments, UN agencies and NGOs.
STM: Anything else you’d really like our readers to know about you?
Ivan: [I am] excited about this fellowship opportunity and working alongside the STM team!
Meredith: I am so thankful for this fellowship opportunity, and I hope I can continue STM’s important work in East Africa. And also, please send sunscreen!