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Our Story - inv Governance (Class of 2019)
Director of Clinical Operations

Tina Roa

Tina is a native New Yorker. She attended NYU, where she studied psychology and received extensive social justice training as a peer educator for the NYU Center for Multicultural Education and Programs. She is super excited that, as a medical student, she gets to work with such amazing individuals in the Human Rights Initiative/ Asylum Clinic. This work enables her to merge her interests in medicine and human rights in a truly meaningful way, and from this experience, she hopes to take lessons of advocacy and patient empowerment with her as she advances in her medical career. Tina is also a classically trained watcher of YouTube puppy and kitty videos, and is a self-declared expert on all things "Pomeranian."

Director of Organizational Operations

Neda Bionghi

Neda is originally from Murrieta, CA and graduated from UCLA in 2014. Before coming to Columbia P&S, she received an MPH degree at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. There she gained experience working with and advocating for refugees at the Jefferson Center for Refugee Health, which piqued her interest in human rights and advocacy. Her work focused on improving Latent Tuberculosis Infection treatment completion rates in the refugee population. Neda is looking forward to continuing her experience with the refugee/asylee population through the Human Rights Initiative and is excited to work with the HRI board to further develop the organization's activities and role in the asylee community. She spends her free time doing artsy things like playing the flute, drawing, and baking.

Clinical Care Coordinators

Rashmi Jain

Rashmi grew up in the Bay Area in California, and she graduated from University of California, San Diego in 2015. During her time in college, Rashmi worked at a clinical research lab which studied causes of and treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and she also volunteered as a tutor and mentor at a school for low-income middle and high school students. She is interested in global health and international medicine and is very excited to be joining the HRI team as a clinical coordinator. In her free time, Rashmi enjoys reading, shopping, and spending time with friends.

Natalie Diacovo

Natalie is a happily settled New Yorker after having grown up in the Boston, St. Louis, and Westchester areas. She graduated from Brown University in 2014, having majored in Neuroscience and worked closely with Health Leads, an organization seeking to integrate addressing social determinants of health into routine medical care. In the year before matriculating to P&S, she worked with an Accountable Care Organization to improve care quality and decrease care costs for a group of Medicare patients in NYC. Her interests include the intersection of clinical care, public health, and the humanities, as well as patient advocacy and quality care improvement initiatives. She is excited to continue pursuing these interests through Asylum in the Clinical Coordinator position. In her free time, Natalie enjoys continuing to explore NYC through the incredible food scene, as well as hiding under blankets while watching scary movies and dreaming of her future puppy.

Continuing Care Case Manager

Sadie Simon

Sadie Simon is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Social Work at Columbia University. She is from Minneapolis Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2012 with a degree in Social Work. While in school, Sadie worked as an intern at a community health center where she gained a knowledge and passion for addressing the dynamics that comprise good healthcare. After completing her degree, Sadie lived and worked in a small, rural Honduras community, teaching 4th grade students and working with their families. Following her year in Honduras, Sadie worked as a geriatric case manager in Minnesota. Sadie then traveled throughout southeast Asia and India, living in other cultures. Last year she worked in Andorra. Through her work in Honduras and Andorra, Sadie became fluent in Spanish. Her experience as a social worker, combined with her experience working and living in foreign countries, ignited a passion for approaching health care, specifically to immigrants, from many different perspectives. She's excited about implementing interdisciplinary practices to enhance the services and care provided to asylum seekers.

Events and Advocacy Coordinator

Leila Shayegan

Leila graduated from Harvard University in 2014, majoring in neurobiology and minoring in math. In college, she volunteered with previously incarcerated individuals at a local community corrections center and did mental health research in hospitals in Boston and Berlin, Germany. Leila spent the past year abroad, working with patients with schizophrenia as a Fulbright scholar, where her fascination with international mental health only grew. She's excited to be organizing events around human rights in medicine and to be advocating for asylum seekers in the US.

Quality Coordinator

Alexis Fogel

Alexis was born and raised in Southern California, and after graduating from UCLA in 2012 desperately needed to get out and try something new. After working on sexual health education and microfinance projects in Haiti and Uganda as an undergrad, Alexis continued her pursuits in global public health by working on psychosocial and acculturation programming with north African refugees in Israel, contributing to road traffic research in Tanzania, and completing her MPH in Global Health thesis on the lived experiences of HIV-positive Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic. Alexis is currently pursuing her MD and attempting to navigate that critical balance between clinical medicine, global health policy and financing, and how to adopt/care for as many dogs as possible.

Publicity Coordinator

Julie Hwang

Julie has lived all over the place growing up, but will claim she is mostly from Southern California. She graduated from Princeton in 2013, where she studied molecular biology and did research on mammary stem cells and breast cancer. After graduation, she worked as the coordinator for a pediatric literacy program serving four of the five boroughs in New York. She also spent a year in Boston to do more research before being summoned to medical school. Julie is super-duper excited to be joining the HRI team as publicity coordinator, and hopes to bring greater awareness to human rights issues on campus.

Fundraising Coordinator

Meaghan Jain

Meaghan grew up in the Boston suburbs and graduated from Union College in 2015, where she majored in Anthropology. Through anthropology fieldwork in Fiji, Meaghan developed an interest the role culture plays in medical care, and the efficacy of biomedicine in different cultural environments. Her anthropology work also introduced her to Paul Farmer's work in health-related social justice. Meaghan is now extremely excited to be a part of that discussion on campus and looks forward to working with the board as the incoming Fundraising Chair!

Recruitment Coordinator

Melanie Polin

Melanie is originally from San Diego, CA and graduated in 2014 from Stanford University. While there, she pursued research in potential genetic targets for lung cancer and helped coordinate the Arbor Free Clinic for the surrounding Bay Area immigrant and low-income communities. After graduating, Melanie worked with the emergency medicine and infectious disease departments of a hospital in the rural north region of the Philippines. Her experiences there fostered a strong interest in global health and international and social issues in medicine. Melanie has finally made the leap from West Coast warm winters and beaches for a new adventure in New York City for medical school, and is excited to be joining Columbia's Human Rights Initiative this year as Recruitment Coordinator.

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