Meet the 2023-24 Global Health Student Advocacy Board Co-Chairs: Amal Suri and Sophia Park

The Global Health Student Advocacy Board (GHSAB) has two new co-chairs for the 2023-24 academic year: Amal Suri and Sophia Park. 

Both Suri and Park are medical students at the University of Minnesota and have been involved with the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility before. Suri participated in CGHSR’s Case Competition and Park was a GHSAB member last year. 

We asked Suri and Park about how they became interested in global health and what they envision for GHSAB in 2023 and beyond. 

Sophia Park (left) and Amal Suri (right) are this year's GHSAB Co-chairs

How did you become interested in global health?

Amal Suri: My father immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan during the 1990s. He went to medical school in Pakistan and completed his residency training in the U.S. His diverse medical experiences shaped him to become passionate about improving healthcare systems around the world, especially in developing countries where physician expertise and training is very needed. Naturally, this upbringing also instilled in me a strong desire to advocate for global health as a future physician.

Sophia Park: Global health has been on my radar for a long time, mostly because I had connections with people from my church that go on short- and long-term medical missions to various parts of the world. However, my interest solidified after participating in the Global Health Case Competition. The competition allowed us to immerse ourselves in the process of developing sustainable solutions and gave me a window into what global health involvement could look like for me in the future. 

What are your priorities as board chair during the 2023-24 academic year?

Amal Suri: For this academic year, we're focusing on granting our board members more autonomy in event planning. We're aiming to have board members team up and jointly organize events. We're excited to empower board members to plan events they’re passionate about!

Sophia Park: My main goals for this year are to facilitate awareness and spark interest for global health issues within our health graduate student population. I think this is a vital time for us as students to cast a vision for how we can be involved in global health initiatives in our future careers. 

How can students, faculty and staff support GHSAB?

Amal Suri: Come to our events! We are looking forward to hosting events for students and faculty.  Additionally, we highly value feedback and any suggestions for events that people might have.

Sophia Park: Spread the word! Put us in contact with health professionals and students who you think may be interested in collaborating with GHSAB or attending our events. 

What value does GHSAB offer to students and board members? Why would you recommend becoming involved?

Amal Suri: I recommend that everyone participate in our events to have a well-rounded perspective on healthcare systems around the world! We’re also hoping to inspire medical students to advocate for global health in their future careers.

Sophia Park: GHSAB is a great way to explore your already existing global health interests or discover new ones. I would recommend becoming involved because as a board member you will have direct input into what issues we focus on and how we implement events and initiatives.