National Student Advisory Board 2021-2022
Veena Mehta currently serves as a co-chair for the PHR Student Advisory Board and is a fourth year medical student at the Medical University of South Carolina. She has previously served on the SAB as Regional Chapter Mentor to the South Atlantic and South regions. She completed a degree in biology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice before starting medical school. During her time in NYC, she advocated for housing policy reform and led a seminar course on race and human rights. She has also travelled to South India, working on a project to promote health education for tribal communities. After joining medical school, she co-founded the MUSC Asylum Clinic, the first student-led asylum clinic in South Carolina. She has since collaborated with the SC Telehealth Alliance, allowing the asylum clinic to conduct psychological evaluations using telehealth. This year, Veena hopes to work with the SAB to better engage with and provide resources for medical students interested in human rights and health advocacy.
Shefali Sood currently serves as a co-chair for the PHR Student Advisory Board and is a fourth year medical student at New York University. She has previously served on the Advocacy Committee of the Student Advisory Board. Shefali grew up in Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (Go Blue!) in 2017 with a degree in International Studies, focusing on Global Environment and Health, and Spanish Language and Culture. Shefali wrote her Honors Thesis on the 'climate change refugee' discourse in South Asia. Currently, she is interested in exploring the field of environmental health and its widespread implications and helped launch a student-run asylum clinic at NYU last year.
Sabastian Hajtovic is serving on the Advocacy Committee and is a medical student at CUNY, in the seven-year Sophie Davis BS/MD program. He graduated from the Bachelor’s portion of the program as Valedictorian of the City College Class of 2020. Previously, he served as Co-Chair of the 2020 PHR National Student Conference, held virtually, on Defending Human Rights in the Age of the Pandemic. As Co-President of CUNY’s PHR chapter, he coordinated college-wide overdose prevention trainings and a widely attended Opioid Crisis Summit. He is passionate about the role of physicians at the intersection of public health, politics and policy, and grassroots community leadership.
Ramya Radhakrishnan serves on the Advocacy Committee. She is a third-year medical student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Ramya is actively involved in human rights work through the Human Rights Clinic of Miami, in which she has served as co-director and currently as an Executive Board Member. Prior to medical school, Ramya received her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami with a focus on Biology and Spanish. She is passionate about providing care to asylum populations and improving the quality and efficiency of the affidavit writing process.
Sunidhi Ramesh is an M4 and MD Candidate at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. She is the Managing Editor of The Neuroethics Blog and an Editorial Intern for The American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience. She was previously the Education Director of the Philadelphia Human Rights Clinic. Sunidhi graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Emory University in 2018, with degrees in both sociology and neuroscience. Sunidhi works on research spanning neurology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, and sociology, particularly focused on the intersections of science, disparity, social justice, and ethics. In her free time, she enjoys powerlifting, doodling Madhubani-inspired art, playing competitive bridge, and cooking international cuisine. She will be applying into ophthalmology programs in the Fall.
Ife Adelugba is a third-year student at Albany Medical College and serves on the Advocacy Committee. Ife is the current PHR chapter president at her institution, and also serves as a legal liaison in the Capital District Asylum Collaborative. Her research is focused on improving health care access for sickle cell disease (SCD) patients, which is a population that has been historically under-funded. Ife and her colleagues continue to petition NYS legislators to increase funding for SCD via their institution’s Lobbying Committee, of which Ife is also a co-founder. Prior to medical school, Ife received a BA in Biology from Siena College. Ife is passionate about improving healthcare access and equity for those of foreign descent, and desires to work in the field of public policy as a physician leader.
Asylum & Refugee Outreach Committee
Asylum & Refugee Outreach
Melissa Baker serves on the Asylum & Refugee Outreach Committee. She is a fourth-year medical student at the Georgetown School of Medicine and previously served as an Asylum Clinic Scheduling Coordinator for the GUSOM Asylum Clinic. Originally from Sacramento, California, Melissa relocated to Seattle to attend the University of Washington and graduated with a MS in Microbiology and a MA in Medical Anthropology and Global Health. Before attending medical school, Melissa worked at Fred Hutchinson Research Center in an HIV immunology lab and volunteered at Sound Generations, an organization working with the aging population in Seattle. Throughout college she was passionate about human rights and advocating for refugee and immigrant justice. When she moved to Washington, DC, she began advocating on Capitol Hill for policy changes, working on refugee and immigration health projects in the community, and assisting on asylum affidavits through PHR.
Asylum & Refugee Outreach
Yoonhee Ryder serves on the Asylum and Refugee Committee and is a medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School. She received her dual undergraduate degree in biology and anthropology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a Middle Eastern Studies minor at the American University in Dubai. After graduation, Yoonhee served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa for 2.5 years as a community health extension agent before starting medical school in 2018. During medical school, she was one of the co-directors of the UM Asylum Collaborative and later served on PHR SAB’s Advocacy Committee before joining the Asylum team. Yoonhee aspires to continue to work in global health in her future career.
Asylum & Refugee Outreach
Katrin Jaradeh serves on the Asylum & Refugee Outreach Committee. She is a fourth-year medical student at the University of California, San Francisco, where she served as a co-founder and coordinator of the UCSF Human Rights Cooperative, and is now one of the upper-class advisors. She has also worked with the Refugee and Asylum Health Seekers Initiative at UCSF to help plan and coordinate the yearly symposium to showcase ongoing research in asylum and refugee health. Katrin is very passionate about serving as an advocate to the refugee and asylee communities in the United States and abroad after completing her medical degree. Currently, one of her main objectives is to create and expand on educational material available to young medical professionals around the dynamic topic of refugee and asylee migration patterns, health, and justice.
Asylum & Refugee Outreach
Francesco Sergi serves on the Asylum & Refugee Outreach Committee. He previously served as a Regional Chapter Mentor to the West and International regions. He is currently a 4th year medical student at the UCSF School of Medicine in San Francisco, CA. He was one of the founders of the UCSF Human Right Cooperative, a new student-run initiative at UCSF that offers forensic physical and psychological evaluations for asylum seekers. Francesco received his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Public Health and a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. Prior to medical school, he worked at Planned Parenthood where he counseled patients on pregnancy options, birth control and sexually transmitted infections. Francesco's interests include immigrant justice, asylum and refugee health, addressing structural injustices, and increasing access to culturally humble care for Latinx populations.
Arhem Barkatullah serves on the Media Committee. She is a third-year medical student at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College and completed a degree in Biomedical Sciences at Arizona State University before attending medical school. While at ASU, Arhem ran a non-profit tutoring and mentoring program for refugee youth in Arizona, and spearheaded projects to address food insecurity on campus, as well as in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Arhem is passionate about refugee advocacy, and has helped lead the Geisel asylum clinic.
Arvind Suresh serves on the Media Committee and is a third-year medical student at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He previously served as one of the co-chairs of the 2020 PHR Regional Conference at Dartmouth on children’s rights and has been the coordinator of the chapter’s asylum clinic for the past year. Originally from Los Angeles, he graduated from Dartmouth College where he studied Biology and Computer Science. Prior to medical school, Arvind conducted research at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, founded and led the TEDx conference at his university, and volunteered at a health center serving a large immigrant community in Boston. As a Schweitzer Fellow, Arvind has also worked to address healthcare disparities surrounding food insecurity for rural communities in Vermont. Arvind is passionate about a wide range of human rights issues including the rights of asylum-seekers and migrant workers, and is interested in improving medical education on human rights to empower medical students to advocate for vulnerable populations.
Claire Justin serves on the Media Committee and is currently a fourth-year medical student at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Originally from the suburbs of the greater Los Angeles area, Claire received a BS in Global Health and a BA in Non-Governmental Organizations and Social Change from the University of Southern California. During her studies, she became interested in the role of international organizations such as PHR in shaping health-focused social movements and wrote an honors thesis about the impact of community-based organizations on discourse surrounding HIV prevention. As a medical student, Claire served as student director of the Keck Human Rights Clinic. During her tenure, she coordinated advocacy initiatives and educational events around immigrant rights and conditions in ICE and CBP detention. She has also advocated for her patients in her role as Keck's medical student delegate to the California Medical Association. In the future, Claire hopes to use her expertise and social capital as a physician to continue advocating for immigrant and asylum-seeking families.
New Chapter Liaisons
New Chapter Liaison
Rhea Fogla serves as a New Chapter Liaison. She previously served as a Regional Chapter Mentor to the Mid-Atlantic region. She is currently a third-year medical student at Weill Cornell Medical College and completed a degree in biology at Emory University before attending medical school. At Emory, she worked at a free women's clinic in Clarkston, Georgia, a population with a prominent refugee and asylee population. After working at the clinic, she wanted to become more involved in human rights advocacy and joined the student board for the Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights, where she currently serves as the Education and Curriculum Coordinator. Rhea is interested in improving medical education on human rights and sharing resources to empower physicians and medical students to be stronger advocates for especially vulnerable populations.
New Chapter Liaison
Ahmed Amer Zanabli is a MS3 at West Virginia University School of Medicine. A graduate of WVU for undergrad, he was awarded the WVU Outstanding Senior award. He previously served as the president of WVU’s PHR chapter, holding many programs including an interactive political advocacy event. His experience includes several years of volunteering with Syrian American Medical Society, including 2 mission trips to Syrian refugee camps in Turkey and Greece, as well as continued political advocacy on the local, state, and national level. As one of the New Chapter Liaisons, he hopes to help student chapters engage their student body effectively. In the future, Ahmed plans to utilize his interest and experiences to bridge health disparities in refugee populations and to advocate on their behalf.
New Chapter Liaison
Connor Smith is a third year student at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine - Harlem. He previously served in his school’s Student Government Association as Wellness Chair and in his local chapter of PHR as Vice President. Connor graduated summa cum laude from New York University where he double majored in Molecular Biology and Spanish. His undergraduate research with the EMPOWER Lab focused on mental health services for refugees and asylum seekers. His current research with Northwell Health is examining unique presentations and complications of COVID-19. Connor hopes to combine his interests in Infectious Disease and Human Rights to study improved vaccine access for people in developing countries. His hobbies include board games, live music, craft beer, and walking his dog Alfie.
New Chapter Liaison
Social and Finance
Victoria Lee serves as Social & Finance Director for the PHR Student Program. She is a third year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine where she served as the co-director for the LA Human Rights Initiative. Prior to attending medical school, she studied molecular biology and classic civilizations at UCLA. Victoria is committed to supporting human rights work and advocating for vulnerable populations. She is especially passionate about reproductive justice, working with victims of sexual and gender-based violence and utilizing research and education as a form of advocacy.