Alumna Spotlight: Katie Guidera ‘14 Takes on Malaria, Social Entrepreneurship and More
Published January 12, 2016 under Alumni Stories
Although she didn’t know it at the time, alumna Katie Guidera began her global health career the summer after her freshman year, when she took a course on global health issues in South Africa through the Organization for Tropical Studies and Duke. She traveled through South Africa learning about health systems and health challenges, including malaria, in the rural Limpopo Province.
Passion for Malaria Prevention Led to Non-Profit Startup
This experience catalyzed Guidera’s long-term passion for malaria prevention, which in turn prompted her to start a non-profit, One Sun Health, with pilot funding from DukeEngage and the Duke ChangeWorks Social Entrepreneurship Competition. Guidera, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2014 with a self-designed global mental health major, spent the rest of her college summers developing and leading One Sun Health in South Africa.
The organization has worked closely with community stakeholders to implement and expand two programs:
- The Malaria Awareness Program, through which they have trained more than 100 community health workers to lead health education workshops with more than 1,000 community members
- ENETI, a social enterprise initiative focused on training ten women and men from local sewing co-operatives to produce and sell mosquito bed nets
Guidera Helping to Forge Cross-Sector International Partnerships
Guidera continues to co-lead One Sun Health today while also holding down a demanding day job: senior analyst at Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP), a practice within the global management consulting company Accenture. ADP makes world-class business and technology consulting services accessible to organizations in the international development sector.
Guidera works in ADP’s global health portfolio, where she helps to design, facilitate and evaluate innovative cross-sector partnerships between international non-profits, foundations and companies that work on issues of health access globally.
SEAD Planted Seed for Guidera’s Current Role
As an undergraduate, Guidera became involved with the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD), which gives global health social entrepreneurs the knowledge, systems and networks needed to succeed. This experience piqued her interest in leveraging business solutions to create sustainable impact in the international health sector—which is why she’s excited about her role at ADP.
“My position at ADP enables me to see the vast potential of the private sector to help alleviate global disease and improve access to healthcare for those living in extreme poverty,” Guidera said. “Every day, I see pharmaceutical, health insurance and financial services companies working to bring their influence, agility and reach to address global development challenges in sustainable ways.”
Duke Global Health Experience Laid Groundwork for Success
Guidera not only has fond memories of her time at Duke, but she sees a clear connection between her undergraduate experiences and her current work.
“Duke sees its students as far more than a group of individuals there to learn,” she reflected. “Instead, we’re seen as a group that’s there to do—to become catalysts of change.” She saw this mindset reflected in the encouragement she received from her advisor, associate global health professor David Boyd, and in the mentorship she received from assistant professor Melissa Watt and associate professor Christina Meade while conducting studies on substance abuse and HIV risk.
One of Guidera’s most memorable experiences at Duke was coordinating an annual Global Health Week through the Duke Partnership for Service. Each spring, they worked with more than 40 Duke student groups to bring international and local speakers to campus and engage students, faculty and staff in a global health dialogue. “Seeing hundreds of students come together to support this week and showcase the work students are doing around the world was inspiring on so many levels,” she said.
Guidera says her research and fieldwork experiences at Duke showed her that interdisciplinary collaboration is absolutely critical for the success of any global health program or initiative. This lesson continues to resonate with her as she regularly draws upon the diverse expertise of her Accenture colleagues (there are 360,000+ globally!) and supports her clients in building cross-sector partnerships to improve medicine supply chains, increase access to health care and more.