Staff honor colleague at 4th Elif Yavuz Science Symposium

On November 13, 2018, CHAI held the 4th Elif Yavuz Science Symposium to honor our colleague Elif Yavuz, who was killed in the 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Elif’s love of science and global health continues to inspire not only those who worked directly with her on the Global Health Sciences Team, but the entire CHAI community.

The symposium “is an opportunity to be proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said Elizabeth McCarthy, senior director with the Applied Analytics team, in her opening remarks. “It’s a time to celebrate our persistence in pushing boundaries and exploring new ways of solving the challenges preventing access to quality healthcare in so many corners of the globe.”

Elif Yavuz, pictured on a screen during the symposium.

At this year’s event, which took place during CHAI’s Research and Development meeting in Austin, Texas, over 40 posters were presented that showcased the impact CHAI’s work is having in areas including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, malaria, nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, and vaccines.

One poster looked at CHAI’s success in helping organize a consortium of private labs to address major barriers to the rapid adoption of high-quality TB tests in India. Formed in 2013, the group is called the Initiative for Promoting Affordable and Quality TB Tests (IPAQT). Read more about our work with IPAQT here. Another presentation highlighted CHAI’s recent work in Uganda, working with the Ministry of Health to test new follow-up methods in order to improve linkage to and retention on treatment for people living with HIV. Findings from the study can be found here.

Colleagues discuss one of the poster presentations at the symposium.

These posters, as well as dozens more, highlighted different methods used to generate evidence to influence policy and program decisions and spark new ideas and collaborations among CHAI staff working in diverse areas.

We were honored this year to have a keynote speech delivered by Dr. Jessica Cohen, Elif’s mentor in graduate school. Dr. Cohen is the Beal Family Associate Professor of Global Health at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and a faculty affiliate with the Jameel-Poverty Action Lab at MIT. She presented on some of her current work on quality of care in maternal and newborn health, a topic selected for its great interest to CHAI staff, and connection to our own programs in this field. Dr. Cohen also spoke eloquently about Elif – her personality and her passion – and shared memories of working with Elif and CHAI in Uganda on malaria research.