Liberian Alum Working in Home Country Reflects on Duke Global Health Training
Published February 03, 2015 under Alumni Stories
Neiger Green, Sanford School of Public Policy alumna, recently reached out to the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) to express her appreciation for the skills that she developed through her DGHI class and the support of her mentor, DGHI professor Chris Woods.
Global Health Challenges Course Provides Valuable Access to Experts
As a master’s degree candidate in the international development policy program, Green took Woods’ Global Health Challenges course in 2014. In this class, leading experts in each global health field introduced major global health problems. Green embraced these opportunities to ask questions about how policies are implemented and what challenges they were facing.
“I had a front-row seat to the leaders in the field,” commented Green. “No other class in any other department offers a course with access to such a wide variety of experts in the field, where each topic pertains directly to something you will face in your global health career.”
These intimate and dynamic discussions pushed Green to think outside the box to develop solutions for global health problems and allowed her to interact with future colleagues, such as Hans Rosling, co-founder of Gapminder Foundation and well-known statistician in global health. Understanding major challenges and learning to have high-level discussions with these experts gave Green a foundation for her future work in the fight against Ebola.
Learning from Peers Was Integral to Academic Experience
Green’s participation in DGHI’s Global Health Challenges course complemented her coursework in the Sanford School of Public Policy, where she learned from her peers as well as the professors. For example, her classmates engaged her in discussions on how a given strategy could be implemented in a different country and challenged her think of innovative ways to reach unserved populations.
Engaged Professors Made the Difference for Green
Due to her positive experience in Woods’ class, Green asked him to be on her thesis committee. His willingness to make time for her project and provide invaluable feedback on her thesis validated her decision to attend Duke to further her training. Woods and other committee members helped Green understand real-world expectations and helped her hone the skills she’d need to succeed in her global health career.
“Professors like Chris Woods are the reason I enjoyed Duke,” expressed Green. “Not only was every single professor there a textbook in themselves, but they took the time for you to understand their thought process and reasoning behind their decisions.”
Duke Global Health Training Helped Green Fulfill a Dream
After being away from Liberia for 24 years, Green was inspired to apply her training to improve the healthcare system of her home country. She accepted a position in the fall of 2014 working as an Ebola response management coordinator in Liberia for the eHealth Systems Africa, funded by the CDC Foundation.
“I believe the success of Liberia is the duty of every Liberian. I always knew I was going to go back home to offer support with the knowledge and training I learned through my work and learning at Duke.”
Green’s work centers around data management and coordination, and her office focuses on the emergency operations center, community care centers, country support teams and logistical support in the fight against Ebola. As she navigates many seemingly endless workdays and erratic traveling schedules, Green attributes her ability to succeed in this environment to her intense yet rewarding training at Duke University.
To learn more about Green’s current work, read this article from the CDC Foundation.