National Student Advisory Board 2020-2021
Mike Dorritie currently co-chairs the PHR Student Advisory Board and previously served on the Conference and Advocacy Committees. Originally from Long Island, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2015, where he studied Pre-Professional Studies and Spanish Language and Culture. Currently, he is a fourth-year medical student at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine - Harlem, where he served as Co-Chair of the 2018 PHR National Student Conference. He also previously served as Chair of TouroCOM's PHR chapter and on the executive board of the school's student-run health clinic, which opened its doors to the Harlem community in Fall 2018. More recently, he has explored the role that medical research can play in providing stronger gun safety practices in the United States. After his medical training, Mike aspires to build and promote health systems strengthening efforts in urban public health settings.
Michelle Munyikwa currently co-chairs the PHR Student Advisory Board and previously served on the Advocacy Committee after several years volunteering with the Philadelphia Human Rights Clinic. She graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2011 with a self-designed major in biochemistry & molecular biology and a second major in anthropology. Currently, she is a student in the MD/PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, where she earned her PhD in cultural anthropology in 2019. Her dissertation, Up from the Dirt: Racializing Refuge, Rupture, & Repair in Philadelphia, examined refugee migration to Philadelphia and its historical, social, and economic contexts, connecting refugee experiences to broader struggles for racial and economic justice. After a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics, she hopes to pursue a career in domestic and global health equity, teach courses in medical anthropology, and continue to further human rights.
Rebecca Leff serves on the Advocacy Committee and is currently a fourth-year Israeli-American medical student at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Israel. She graduated with a BA in Middle Eastern Studies, Political Science, and Film and Media Studies with a certificate in interdisciplinary human rights from the University of California, Berkeley. Rebecca has worked in and around the human rights sector in both the Middle East and the United States for the past 7 years while completing her education, working with such organizations as Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, the Center for International Migration and Integration, the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Save a Child's Heart, and the Olive Tree Initiative. Her film High Without Stairs tells the story of a young Syrian refugee who finds his way to Israel for heart surgery. Currently, she is completing a research year with the Yale Emergency Medicine Global Health Section mentored by Christine Ngaruiya, MD, MSc, DTM&H to focus on the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in humanitarian crises, refugee barriers to care, barriers to care for low English proficiency patients, and humanitarian intervention development for both children and adults, with a particular focus on East Africa. She is the current president and founder of the Ben Gurion University Physicians for Human Rights chapter.
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.
Yoonhee Ryder serves on the Advocacy 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 has served as the co-director of the UM Asylum Collaborative. Yoonhee aspires to continue to work in global health in her future career.
Shefali Sood serves on the Advocacy Committee of the Student Advisory Board. After completing her first three years of medical school at New York University, she is currently pursuing a MPH before completing her medical studies. 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.
Asylum & Refugee Outreach Committee
Asylum & Refugee Outreach
Melissa Baker serves on the Asylum & Refugee Outreach Committee. She is a third-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
Madeline Cohen currently serves on the Asylum & Refugee Outreach Committee. She is a fourth-year medical student at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where she previously served as the co-director for the Human Rights Clinic of Miami. Before attending medical school, she studied environmental biology and sustainable development as an undergraduate at Columbia University. She additionally received a Master of Public Health degree at Columbia University, with a focus on climate change and health. She worked in sustainability management consulting as well as patient navigation for underinsured populations before attending medical school. She is committed to working as a physician and advocate for displaced persons.
Asylum & Refugee Outreach
Katrin Jaradeh serves on the Asylum & Refugee Outreach Committee. She is a third-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
Pooja Shah serves on the Asylum & Refugee Outreach Committee and is also the Co-Executive Director of the Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights (WCCHR). She is a fourth-year medical student at Weill Cornell Medicine and received a B.A. in Biology and Psychology from Cornell University. Her research during medical school has focused on validating a new quality of life instrument for children with epilepsy, establishing the COVID RedCap Clinician Dashboard for New York Presbyterian (thereby allowing her to study racial disparities in COVID mortality), and exploring the trauma exposure and health consequences faced by minors seeking asylum in the United States. She has been involved in human rights work since the beginning of medical school, from scheduling evaluations to running the WCCHR's Continuing Care program, and now is excited to serve on the PHR Student Advisory Board.
Sabastian Hajtovic serves as Co-Chair of the 2020 PHR National Student Conference, which will be held at CUNY School of Medicine (CSOM) in New York, NY. He is a second-year medical student at CSOM and co-president of the 2020-2021 CSOM PHR Executive Board. Sabastian received his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences as part of the Sophie Davis BS/MD program, where he was extensively involved in a two-year fellowship in leadership and public service. Sabastian has coordinated the Opioid Crisis Initiative at CSOM and is co-coordinator of the school's student-led free health screening clinic.
Jacqueline Liu serves as Co-Chair of the 2020 PHR National Student Conference, which will be held at CUNY School of Medicine (CSOM) in New York, NY. She is a second-year medical student at CSOM and co-president of the 2020-2021
CSOM PHR Executive Board. Jacqueline received her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences as part of the Sophie Davis BS/MD program, and she has conducted research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on health insurance and primary care provider uptake among immigrant populations in NYC. Jacqueline is co-coordinator for the CSOM PHR student-led health screening clinic and is passionate about working to improve immigrant and minority health disparities.
Regional Chapter Mentors
Regional Chapter Mentor: Mid-Atlantic Region
Rhea Fogla serves as Regional Chapter Mentor to the Mid-Atlantic region. She is currently a second-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.
Regional Chapter Mentor: New England and Midwest Regions
Amy Labar serves as Regional Chapter Mentor to the New England and Midwest regions. She is a fourth-year medical student and former Asylum Clinic Director at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. She was born and raised in New York City and graduated from Haverford College, a small liberal arts college outside Philadelphia,
in 2010 with a major in Biology and a minor in African Studies. She then went back to school for a Master’s in Public Health focused on Global Health, during which she interned with MSF/Epicentre and spent a summer in Jordan at a hospital providing reconstructive surgeries to war-wounded patients. For the two years before coming to medical school, she worked with health data at the International Rescue Committee, a non-profit supporting refugees and internally displaced people in the US and abroad. During medical school, she has conducted research about medication adherence in patients with multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis/HIV in South Africa and worked with the 2017-8 Columbia Human Rights Initiative Asylum Clinic board, which helped coordinate over 50 evaluations.
Regional Chapter Mentor: South Atlantic and South Regions
Veena Mehta serves as Regional Chapter Mentor to the South Atlantic and South regions and is a third year medical student at the Medical University of South Carolina. 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. Veena hopes to advocate for refugee health and immigration policy reform.
Regional Chapter Mentor: West and International Regions
Francesco Sergi serves as Regional Chapter Mentor to the West and International regions. He is currently a 3rd 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 second-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 will be helping lead the Geisel asylum clinic this upcoming year.
Arvind Suresh serves on the Media Committee and is a second-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 will be one of the student leaders of the chapter’s asylum clinic this 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. This year, Arvind will be working 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.