For the 2014-2015 year, VCU welcomed eleven Fellows from Paraguay, Kosovo, Ghana, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Malaysia.
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Ms. Mariam Abdoh
Ms. Mariam Abdoh, from Amman, Jordan, earned her bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and food science in 2003, and she earned her master’s degree from the University of Jordan with a focus on functional foods and biochemical nutrition in 2006. She is a Jordanian licensed dietitian, and has worked as a consultant dietitian in several diet centers. In 2009, she joined the King Hussein Cancer Foundation, Jordan Breast Cancer Program, as a coordinator to work on improving the quality of early detection of breast cancer services. Ms. Abdoh rose to the rank of senior coordinator in 2013, and she became screening operations manager with the Jordan Breast Cancer Program in 2014. Ms. Abdoh managed the first national breast cancer screening and early detection projects for under-privileged communities, as well as non-Jordanian refugees, in cooperation with national and international organizations. In addition, she has managed public awareness campaigns, medical conferences, and professional training for medical professionals. During her fellowship, Ms. Abdoh will focus on expanding her knowledge of non-communicable disease prevention (mainly cancer, obesity and diabetes) not only for the general population, but also for underserved and minority individuals. Her work will also focus on women’s health, including nutritional, political and economic issues.
Dr. Yu Yu Aung
Dr. Yu Yu Aung is from Yangon, Myanmar. She obtained her medical degree (MBBS) from the University of Medicine, Yangon, Myanmar in 2000, and her master’s degree in international public health from the University of Sydney in 2007. Since 2002, Dr. Aung has been working in health and development programs where she has focused on such issues as HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, adolescent health and development, and capacity building of local non-governmental organizations and community networks. As an HIV/AIDS National Program Officer in UNESCO, Dr. Aung has worked towards strengthening the leadership capacity of young people who are at higher risk of HIV infection. Under her mentorship and technical guidance, the first network of youth at high risk for HIV infection, Myanmar Youth Stars, was established to participate in efforts to prevent the spread of HIV. During her fellowship, Dr. Aung wants to enhance her knowledge on the behavioral, social, neuro-cognitive, and emotional development process of adolescents. In addition, she wants to discover the key risks and protective factors affecting their health-related behaviors. She will then look to apply these to designing programs to prevent HIV and to meet the health and development needs of young people.
Ms. Nora Binishi
Ms. Nora Binishi, from Prishtina, Kosovo, is an architectural engineer who graduated in 1991 from the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture at Prishtina University. She also holds a master’s degree in professional studies with a concentration in public administration from American University in Kosovo. In 2006, Ms. Binishi became the chief of construction sector in the Ministry of Public Administration, and she was promoted to the head of construction sector in 2014. Ms. Binishi’s main responsibilities include organizing and supervising technical maintenance work on government buildings. Even though Ms. Binishi is an architect, her work focuses on promoting hygienic maintenance, safety, and security for government buildings. For example, she received funds from the US government to promote a hygienic maintenance, safety and security program at the University Clinical Center of Kosovo (UCCK) to ensure a clean and healthy environment for staff and patients. Ms. Binishi's work at UCCK has been widely recognized both within Kosovo and by George Washington University, Washington DC. During her fellowship at VCU, Ms. Binishi intends to learn how to raise awareness about the importance of maintaining hospital infrastructure, learn new methods to reduce healthcare acquired infections among patients through technical and environmental methods, and how to transform aging hospital buildings into modern healthcare facilities.
Dr. Mohammed Magdy Elhamshary
Dr. Mohammed Magdy Elhamshary, from Cairo, Egypt, obtained his bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery at Ain Shams University in Cairo in 2006, and his master’s degree in neuropsychiatry in 2010. Dr. Elhamshary is currently completing his doctorate at Ain Shams University and pursuing membership in the Royal College of Psychiatrists based in the United Kingdom. Dr. Elhamshary’s current position is as an addiction specialist in the Psychological Medicine Hospital in Cairo where he provides psychopharmacological management and counseling for patients with substance use disorders. He is experienced in cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and family counseling. In addition to his work at the Psychological Medicine Hospital, he is a member of several NGOs where he teaches parents how to detect and manage substance use by their children. Dr. Elhamshary also trains mental health professionals in addiction medicine and conducts research. During his fellowship, he will focus primarily on drug abuse prevention and treatment for adolescents in school and community settings. He wishes to make the utmost use of his fellowship to improve addiction services in his country.
Mr. Sylvester Ebenezer Nana Koomson
Mr. Sylvester Ebenezer Nana Koomson, from Accra, Ghana, obtained a bachelor's degree in political science in 2001, and a master’s degree in adult education in 2005, both from the University of Ghana. He is currently the head of the Greater Accra Regional Office of the Ghana Narcotics Control Board, which is the leader and coordinating body for drug law enforcement in Ghana. Prior to his current position, Mr. Koomson was the head of the International Programs and Information Management of the Ghana Narcotics Control Board. He works widely with the Board, NGO’s and other international organizations in the area of substance abuse education and prevention, especially among youths, communities and faith-based institutions. Along with this, he also educates the general public through radio and television on the dangers of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking. During his Fellowship, Mr. Koomson hopes to expand his knowledge of substance abuse education, treatment and prevention and to seek experience in designing effective and efficient programs. Mr. Koomson also intends to gain a broader understanding of drug control legislation, policies and program monitoring and evaluation. He further seeks to gain experience in substance abuse research.
Dr. Jean-Li Lim
Dr. Jean-Li Lim is a primary care physician from Seremban, Malaysia. She obtained her medical degree from Putra University, Malaysia in 2003 and her master’s degree in family medicine from the National University of Malaysia in 2012. At the end of 2011, Dr. Lim was also inducted as a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Dr. Lim has extensive experience working with indigenous communities in Malaysia including the Orang Asli of West Malaysia and the Iban and Penan of Sarawak. She is particularly passionate about promoting Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) to improve maternal health and raise the quality of life among women and their families along the riverine communities in Sarawak. During her free time, Dr. Lim also volunteers with various NGOs to provide healthcare services to the urban poor and displaced communities both locally and abroad. Currently, she is based in a Ministry of Health community clinic in Jempol, Negeri Sembilan. During her fellowship, Dr. Lim hopes to enhance her knowledge and skills that are needed to assess unmet health needs in order to design effective programs to improve sexual reproductive health practices among indigenous and marginalized women in Malaysia. In addition, she plans to share Malaysia’s rich cultural heritage with her Humphrey fellows.
Ms. Farheen Naveed
Ms. Farheen Naveed, from Karachi, Pakistan, earned her bachelor’s degree in general science from Khatoon e Pakistan College in 2004. She is certified as a substance abuse treatment practitioner by the Colombo Plan International Center for Certification of Addiction Professionals (ICCA), where she also serves as a trainer. In 2004, Ms. Naveed joined New Horizons Care Center (NHCC) which is a pioneer in providing free-of-cost treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration services to people with substance use disorders. She is currently the Managing Director of the NHCC’s four branches. Ms. Naveed is also the founding Director of Drug Free Pakistan Foundation, a non-government organization that provides drug abuse prevention services. In 2009, she successfully convinced the Karachi city district government to launch the Drug Free Karachi program, establishing the largest addiction treatment hospital in Pakistan. Ms. Naveed was nominated as one of the 10 most inspiring women of Pakistan in 2014, and she was recently nominated for an N-Peace Award. Her mission is to make substance use disorder treatment available for everyone who needs it and to empower the youth of Pakistan to be future leaders. Farheen’s goals for her fellowship include enhancing her knowledge of evidence-based prevention programs so that she can expand the prevention services available in Pakistan.
Mr. Francis Kofi Torkornoo
Mr. Francis Kofi Torkornoo, from Tema, Ghana, earned his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 1986 and a post-graduate certificate in veterinary pharmacy in 1997. Mr. Torkornoo set up the Achimota Road Chemist, a community pharmacy, in 1988, where he practiced as the managing pharmacist. He expanded the pharmacy to three branches by 2006, and subsequently sold the company. Mr. Torkornoo joined his current employer, the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), in September 2007 as the director of demand reduction. NACOB is the leading governmental agency in Ghana for drug law enforcement and reduction. While at NACOB, he developed a system and tools for monitoring precursor chemicals imported to as well as distributed and used in Ghana. Mr. Torkornoo is passionate about expanding rehabilitation centers in Ghana, and increasing programs for the early detection of drug abuse among students in primary and secondary schools. He has worked with many NGO’s in Ghana in the area of preventive education in substance abuse. During his fellowship, Mr. Torkornoo plans to study evidence-based substance abuse prevention and rehabilitation programs in the United States, through workshops, seminars, and internships. He is convinced that the opportunity to learn from and network with other fellows will help him to introduce and expand rehabilitation centers and programs in Ghana.
Dr. Nanda Myo Aung Wan
Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar
Dr. Nanda Myo Aung Wan, from Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar, earned his bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery from the Institute of Medicine Mandalay in 2001, and his master’s degree in mental health from the University of Medicine in Yangon in 2010. He was posted to the Drug Treatment Hospital Myitkyina, Ministry of Health in 2005 and is currently working as a team leader of drug use prevention and treatment in this hospital. In this role, Dr. Wan also provides HIV counseling and testing. Dr. Wan played a key role in harm reduction activities in Kachin State, by organizing the steering committee and coordinating with INGOs, NGOs and government sectors, and he is a member of the national coordination committee for harm reduction. Dr. Wan is also a monitoring and evaluating officer for methadone maintenance therapy in Kachin State. During his fellowship, Dr. Wan will focus on drug use prevention policy for children and adolescents. He would also like to improve his knowledge of research methodology and develop his ability to conduct a substance use survey among young people. He also wants to improve his skills in leadership, epidemiology and grant proposal writing.
Ms. Geraldine Gonzalez Willim
Ms. Geraldine Gonzalez Willim, from Asuncion, Paraguay, is a registered private practice social worker who earned a master’s degree at the Carver School of Social Work, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Louisville, Kentucky in 1997. She received a post-graduate diploma with a specialization in didactics for universities in 2006, and a bachelor’s degree in English in 1992 from the National University of Asuncion (UNA). She also holds a diploma from the Diplomacy and Consular Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paraguay, which she received in 1986. Ms. Willim volunteers with the National Anti-Drug Secretariat where she is designing an educational project to train middle school teachers in drug prevention. For many years she has been volunteering in different locations, helping children and teenagers in vulnerable conditions. She was a director of cooperation at the SENAVITAT, worked at the National Secretariat for Social Action and served as a qualitative investigation professor at the School of Social Work, UNA. During her fellowship, Ms. Willim hopes to expand her expertise in substance abuse prevention, treatment, monitoring and research. She also seeks to learn how to design and implement effective prevention programs, especially those programs that train children and teenagers as anti-drug leaders in their communities.