The Martin-Peterson Global Health Scholar Award was created in late 2016 as a gift from ACOG Past President James N. Martin, Jr., MD. The Award honors Dr. Herbert B. Peterson’s lifelong dedication to improving the healthcare of all women globally; his leadership in the initiation of the ACOG Global Operations Advisory Group in 2011; the respect and admiration that the world ob-gyn community holds for him as an advocate for women’s health worldwide; and the need to support activities to enhance the role and recognition of ACOG as the foremost advocate for women’s health in this country and abroad.
The Martin-Peterson Global Health Scholar Award recognizes an obstetrician-gynecologist from a low- or middle-income country with outstanding ability and who is currently in the United States under the auspices of a formal hospital or university program. The purpose of the award is to expose recipients to ACOG and all its resources.
Dr. Goba has made contributions and commitments to women’s health, both in Chicago and globally. She is the Director of the Global Women’s Health Fellowship Program at the University of Illinois Chicago and a tenure-track Assistant Professor at UIC’s Global Medicine Program.
Dr. Goba completed the Gates-Packard funded Population Leadership Program (PLP) Fellowship at the University of Washington, after which she returned to Ethiopia. While in Ethiopia she served as the Country Director for EngenderHealth, a global nonprofit whose mission is to improve the health of mothers and children. Her work focused on access to Long Acting and Reversible Contraceptive methods, and she secured $50 million in private and USAID funding to support women’s health and HIV prevention.
In January 2017, Mekelle University’s Ob/Gyn program graduated its first cohort of Ob/Gyns, all of whom elected to stay on as faculty at Mekelle University. This, says Dr. Goba, is “a remarkable accomplishment given the financial incentives to pursue private sector work in Ethiopia.”
The Mela Project is housed at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where Goba is a tenure-track Assistant Professor and Director of the Global Women’s Health Fellowship Program. She is also an adjunct faculty at Mekelle University and actively engaged in teaching, clinical and research mentorship in Ethiopia.
Under Goba’s leadership, the Mela Project is expanding to South Sudan, Uganda and Somaliland. At Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, the partnership entails matching the community-based strengths of Mekelle University with the biomedical research experience of Makerere University through experience sharing and access to biomedical resources.
“My project and research interests are coalescing around maternal and perinatal outcomes, social and policy determinants of maternal health care, and cervical cancer prevention and screening research. I expect this to be a continued focus over the coming years,” says Dr. Goba.
In addition to strengthening Mekelle University’s Ob/Gyn program, The Mela Project provides unique opportunities for supervised clinical and research experience for US residents and fellows.