NC Triangle Region Remains Home to Many MSc-GH Grads

Published November 15, 2016 under Alumni Stories


The iconic American Tobacco Historic District in Durham, North Carolina, is part of a large urban renewal project in downtown Durham designed to bring residents, businesses and shoppers to the downtown area. Photo by Davidwells75 via Wikimedia Commons.

Duke’s Master of Science in Global Health (MSc-GH) prepares students for a variety of academic, medical and career pursuits. A number of graduates elect to stay in the local Research Triangle Park region due to abundant opportunities to study and work in global health. 

While the majority of graduates enter their careers, nearly a quarter choose to pursue further education. Whether they choose to go on to medical school or a PhD program, or begin their career in global health, MSc-GH graduates are prepared to take on global health challenges at home and abroad.

MSc-GH to MD in Chapel Hill, NC


The Research Triangle Park region provides numerous global health opportunities, anchored by several universities engaged in global health research. MSc-GH 2015 graduate, Tendai Kwaramba, is currently a second-year medical student at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, a twenty-minute drive from Duke. 

Kwaramba says the relationships she built at Duke continue to benefit her in developing her career. This past summer, she joined Duke internal medicine resident Laura Musselwhite’s team in Barretos, Sao Paula, Brazil, to research race, HPV infection and cervical cancer.

Kwaramba always knew she wanted to focus on global health care and chose to earn her MSc-GH to expand her perspective before going to medical school. 

“As a physician, my focus will be to always give the best care to the patient in front of me,” she said, “but I am grateful that my MSc-GH will remind me of the macro-level implications of the health burdens of my patients and challenge me to also extend my influence to as many people as possible.”

MSc-GH to PhD at Duke


Justin Lana, MSc-GH 2012 graduate, is now a third-year PhD student at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and a global health doctoral scholar. Lana’s dissertation project explores risk factors for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in the Peruvian Amazon. His interest in understanding epidemiology and research’s importance in defining policy and affecting change drove him to pursue his PhD after completing the MSc-GH.

“Coming back to school was the perfect culmination of needing academic rigor and getting more field experience,” Lana said. Lana’s decision to remain at Duke for his PhD was influenced in part by the collaborative global health environment in the area. He says that collaboration between universities is extremely helpful and has allowed him to enroll in several classes at neighbor universities that were not offered at Duke.

MSc-GH to Global Health Research Careers in Durham, NC

Kayla Stankevitz


Kayla Stankevitz graduated from the MSc-GH program in 2015. Stankevitz says the program’s focus on research and analysis methods prepared her for career opportunities across sectors. She has conducted research and managed projects in government at USAID, in academic research at Duke Community and Family Medicine, and for a non-governmental organization, FHI 360, where she currently works as a research associate. 

Despite a job offer in Washington DC, Stankevitz decided to stay in Durham for her career due to vast opportunities in global health and personal ties she developed in the area.

“I fell in love with Durham over my two years in the graduate program,” said Stankevitz. “The winters in NC were a plus, but I also just love the diverse set of people that make up this city. It’s also very accessible—I live downtown, walk to work, bike to the grocery store, and take the free bus to yoga classes at Duke East Campus. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Joseph Lunyera


Joseph Lunyera, MSc-GH 2015 graduate, joined the MSc-GH program after completing medical school and a one-year internship in Uganda. Lunyera’s internship allowed him to develop an interest in nephrology, and his long-term desire to pursue a career in academic medicine combined with the flexibility of the MSc-GH degree led him to Duke. 

Lunyera is now working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Duke researching risk factors for chronic kidney disease in Mississippi. He says the experience of working under the mentorship of Duke’s global health faculty in the MSc-GH program was key to his professional maturation. The number of institutions engaged in global health work in the Research Triangle Park region was appealing to him when he graduated and considered his next steps.

“I feel I’m really on track to where I aspire to be. I’m looking forward to a career in academic medicine,” said Lunyera.

I just love the diverse set of people that make up this city. It’s also very accessible.

Kayla Stankevitz, 2015 MSc-GH alumna