BETTER TOGETHER: A podcast for global health change-makers.

The struggles we face are bigger than any one person, but we can each take a step to make a difference. BETTER TOGETHER is a podcast where aspiring global health practitioners can learn from engaged, globally-focused health care professionals who are doing their part to improve health for all.

Who We Are? The BETTER TOGETHER podcast team is a group of globally-minded medical students, residents, and faculty joined together by our mission of health equity for everyone. We started this podcast to share stories and pearls of wisdom from colleagues working in global health, to learn how we can have a positive lasting impact on health in our communities, locally and globally. The audience for this forum is global health students, trainees, and faculty who want to learn about best practices in global partnerships, research, education, capacity strengthening and service.

Podcast Team:

Dr. Stacey Chamberlain

Dr. Stacey Chamberlain is an emergency physician and the Director of Academic Programs at the UIC Center for Global Health.  Her global health work focuses on capacity building in emergency care in Uganda and global health education.

Dr. Tirsa M. Ferrer Marrero

Dr. Tirsa M. Ferrer Marrero is faculty at the Department Of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep, and Allergy, and Associate Program Director of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship Program. Her interests in Global Health include capacity building and medical education in critical care.

Nihmotallahi Adebayo

Nihmotallahi Adebayo is a second-year medical student in the Global Medicine program at UIC. She has a background in health disparities research and health communication. Her interests lie in pursuing a deeper understanding of the impact of culture on the presentation and experience of mental illnesses. 

Zach Brahmbhatt

Zach Brahmbhatt is a second-year medical student and member of the Global Medicine program at UIC. His interests in global health revolve around the intersection of conflict and medicine, particularly focused on trauma and resilience.

Gloria Cheng

Gloria Cheng is a first-year medical student in the Global Medicine Program at UIC. She has experience working in Haiti and Ghana and is interested in developing sustainable global health solutions through collaborations in low-resource settings and building policies that support health equity.

Shivani Majmudar

Shivani Majmudar is a second-year medical student in the Global Medicine program at UIC. She has a background in journalism and is particularly interested in the intersection of storytelling and global health advocacy.


Episode 1: Collaboration 
Dr. Yves-Dany Accilien, Emergency Medicine physician, Haiti native and co-founder of Kore Haiti joins “Better Together” to discuss his organization and their commitment to supporting the Haitian community by addressing educational barriers, healthcare accessibility, & economic sustainability through diverse partnerships.

Episode 2: Research
Dr. Supriya Mehta with the UIC School of Public Health joins “Better Together” to discuss her work as an epidemiologist doing global health research in Kenya focusing on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the vaginal microbiome. Dr. Mehta’s research is ultimately aimed at improving sexual and reproductive health in high-risk communities.

Episode 3: Capacity Building

Collaborators Dr. Damiano Rondelli (Chief of Hematology/Oncology at UI Health and faculty at the UIC Center for Global Health) and Dr. Bishesh Poudyal (Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the Civil Service Hospital of Kathmandu in Nepal) join “Better Together” to discuss their work in building capacity for treatment of blood cancers. Together they have increased access to life-saving care and done collaborative research, and they discuss issues including program adaptations for local contexts, barriers to building capacity including politics and financing, and the importance of long-term partnerships and resilience. Dr. Rondelli leads the Global BMT (bone marrow transplant) Program which has helped build capacity in BMT not only in Nepal but also in Nigeria, Ukraine, Bolivia, and Uganda.

Episode 4: Disaster Management 
Dr. Gloria Rodriguez Vega, a critical care specialist and Chief of Critical Care at Hospitales HIMA-San Pablo in Puerto Rico, joins “Better Together” to talk about disaster management in global health, in particular regarding the natural disasters that hurricanes present in the Caribbean. She shares her experience while discussing the entire disaster cycle including mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

Episode 5: Global Environmental Health
Dr. Daniel Hryhorczuk, Professor Emeritus of the UIC School of Public Health and one of the founders of the UIC Center for Global Health, joins “Better Together” to discuss the intersection of his work in toxicology, environmental health, global, and planetary health, including decades of work in Ukraine. He discusses the tragedy of the human and environmental impact of the current war in Ukraine and a message of opportunity for activism in planetary health.

Episode 6: De-coloniality and Bidirectionality in Global Health
Dr. Shela Sridhar is a dual-boarded internal medicine and pediatrics physician at Brigham and Women’s and Boston Children’s Hospitals as well as a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School. She joins “Better Together” to discuss her collaborative global health work in East Africa and her education of trainees using a teaching curriculum she developed called “decolonizing global health for equity.” In this episode she stresses the importance of engaging stakeholders, building trust, checking your motivations, and assessing your impact, among other pearls for building a de-colonialist approach to working for global health equity.

Episode 7: Humanitarian Service
Dr. Naina Bhalla is a dual-boarded internal medicine and pediatrics physician who has been working intermittently for Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders, for more than a decade. She joins Better Together to talk about the rewards and challenges of working in the humanitarian service sector of global health along with strategies for working in resource-limited settings and balancing clinical work in the U.S. and internationally.

Episode 8: Refugee Care
Dr. Sarah Messmer is dual-boarded physician in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago who works with Physicians for Human Rights providing care for refugee patients and asylum seekers. She joins Better Together to discuss her work with asylum seekers and preparing affadavits, physician advocacy, and the importance of trauma-informed care.

Episode 9: Trauma Informed Care
Psychotherapist Marija Šarić is the Director of the psychosocial support services organization Wings of Hope. She has specialization in trauma psychology and has been working in Bosnian civil society to support vulnerable and war-impacted families since the early 1990s. She joins Better Together to share her experience in providing mental health treatment for those impacted by trauma.