Siddhesh Zadey MS’21 Wins CUGH Young Leader Award

DGHI alumnus will be recognized at international global health conference

Siddhesh Zadey

By Alicia Banks

Published March 3, 2022, last updated on March 7, 2022 under Alumni Stories

Siddhesh Zadey, a 2021 graduate of Duke’s Master of Science in Global Health Program, has been chosen to receive the 2022 Wasserheit Young Leader Award from the Consortium of Universities in Global Health (CUGH), one of the highest-profile honors for emerging global health scholars.

The award is presented annually to global health researchers and practitioners under age 30 who possess “a record of outstanding achievements in global health education, research, advocacy and/or service,” according to the consortium.  Zadey was named among five awardees, who will be honored during CUGH’s annual conference, which this year will take place virtually from March 28-April 1.

Since September, Zadey has been working as a senior research aide with the Global Emergency Medicine Innovation and Implementation Research (GEMINI) Lab under Duke’s Department of Surgery. He works alongside DGHI professors Catherine Staton, M.D., and João Vissoci, Ph.D., on strategies to reduce alcohol-related injuries in Tanzania. He’s also part of a team led by Tamara Fitzgerald, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of surgery and global health, that is creating a less-expensive laparoscope for developing countries. Zadey has also co-authored several articles describing his work in Tanzania and research on workforce problems in Indian healthcare systems. In addition, he is a co-founder the non-profit research and advocacy group in India – Association for Socially Applicable Research (ASAR).

Zadey credits his achievements so far to the support he’s received from those closest to him, including DGHI’s faculty and staff. Dennis Clements, M.D., DGHI’s interim director, and Nathan Thielman, N.D., MS-GH program director and global health professor, wrote letters nominating Zadey for the CUGH award.

“I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude and am humbled by all the support I’m getting,” Zadey says.

Zadey learned he had won the award by email in December. At the time, he was in India visiting his parents, whom he hadn’t seen in more than two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The news came a few days after hearing he was not admitted to a Ph.D. program to which he had applied.

“That was a bittersweet week, more sweet than bitter,” says Zadey. “I always believed that kind of award was for people who were super smart or out of my league and reach. The award was a really good affirmation to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Zadey joins former DGHI doctoral scholar Mercy Asiedu who earned a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Duke in 2020, as recent Duke winners of the CUGH young leader award. Asiedu, now a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received the award in 2019. The award is named for Judy Wasserheit, M.D., a CUGH board member and a professor at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health.

“The award was a really good affirmation to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Siddhesh Zadey — MS'21