Student Spotlight: Sulzhan Bali, MSc-GH Candidate, Seeks Collaborative Solutions

Published August 25, 2015 under Education News

Sulzhan Bali and several Nigerian collaborators

Sulzhan Bali (second from right) poses with Ebola health care workers and staff from the infectious disease hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. The hospital was the site of Ebola quarantine unit in the 2014 Nigerian Ebola outbreak.

Sulzhan Bali took a unique route to the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI). A Master of Science in Global Health student, Bali has already earned a master’s in virology and a PhD in molecular biology. But her scientific experience resulted in a realization that many of the challenges that face health care today are not simply scientific problems, but rather may be logistical or business problems that require more collaborative and interdisciplinary solutions.

“Global health is really unique in that it represents an intersection," she said. "It brings together public health, business of healthcare and policy in an effort to make a sustainable impact.”

Bali’s interests in figuring out how to solve these complex issues—and ultimately reducing disease burden around the world—led her to pursue global health coursework. At Duke, Bali has taken advantage of a diversity of courses, taking classes through the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Fuqua School of Business, in addition to those offered at DGHI. She has also worked on several projects in the field, such as a consulting project in South Africa where she worked with a team of Fuqua students on a project on essential medicine logistics.

Bali recently completed her global health fieldwork, with a project focused on evaluating the role of the private sector in controlling the Ebola response in Nigeria. Working with the host organization Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria and her mentor, Muhammad Ali Pate, a visiting scholar at DGHI, Bali hopes that her work will provide a guideline for governments on how they can effectively engage with the private sector in mitigating the economic impact of epidemics and a roadmap for private sector on how they can assist governments in times of crisis.

Bali is also involved with This Week in Global Health (TWiGH), a global health show that provides updates on current events and topics related to global health. TWiGH aims to bring together the global health community on one platform, creating a space for people to discuss important issues. Bali was recently named one of the top 300 women leaders in global health for her work with the organization. 

Bali is interested in pursuing work in consulting or global health policy after she graduates in 2016. 

Global health is really unique in that it represents an intersection. It brings together public health, business of healthcare, and policy in an effort to make a sustainable impact.

Sulzhan Bali, MSc-GH candidate