Our monthly check-in with staff from around the world. Learn more about the people who work at CHAI.
Please tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to CHAI.
My name is Diego Hernandez. I am a medical doctor who graduated from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala (USAC) with a Master of Public Health from the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico (INSP). My career started at the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP) as a research assistant before I went to study in Mexico for two years. After that, I returned to INCAP to work as a project director, where I worked for more than two years on chronic diseases, including hypertension. In 2021, I had the opportunity to join CHAI, where I turned my efforts toward infectious diseases—specifically malaria and neglected tropical diseases.
1. What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing is that it allows me to deeply understand my country’s health and socioeconomic challenges and contribute to solving some of the problems alongside our partners. I learn a lot from the work we do with the Ministry of Health, who are incredible people at the local and central levels.
2. What’s the biggest learning experience you’ve had at CHAI?
I have learned a lot from my team in Guatemala. My colleagues are from several countries. We are a small team, no more than ten people, but each of my colleagues has extensive and invaluable experience in many areas of global health. We take advantage of our long trips to talk about exciting and profound topics in the country. Without a doubt, we are a great team.
3. What’s a goal you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in the next year?
This year I will finish my English classes. I hope to improve the language as much as possible and achieve optimal fluency for interpersonal and professional purposes. I would also like to start lessons in another language, possibly French.
4. What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
I enjoy visiting Mesoamerica’s archeological sites, and I had the opportunity to visit some of them in Guatemala and Mexico. Some are difficult to access and take many hours to travel. I enjoy that combination of adventure, nature, and cultural richness.
5. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
I would do simple things I enjoy. First, I would have breakfast and drink lots of coffee in a quiet place and talk for several hours with a family member or friend, especially one that I haven’t seen for a long time. Then, I would meet up with my best friends to play Catan or other board games and eat something delicious at home. Finally, I would spend the rest of the day relaxing at home with my wife, playing video games, or reading a good book.