GHSP Launches Class of 2015-2016!

Seed Global HealthBlog


The 2015-2016 Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) program is launching! This year’s class of volunteers is an outstanding group of physicians and nurses from across the United States, representing 10 medical and nursing specialties, and ranging in age from 26 to 74 years old. We are especially excited to have 4 GHSP Volunteers staying on for an additional year of service and 3 former Peace Corps Volunteers returning as GHSP Volunteers.

In addition, this class mark an important milestone: over the past three years, over 100 GHSP physicians and nurses have been sent into the field. Seed has also helped offset over $2.5 million of their debt, often a barrier to public service.

This week, our new volunteers are diving into their orientation sessions where they are hearing from experts and former GHSP Volunteers about current health systems, local disease burdens, and key training methods before leaving for their in-country orientations next week.

Over the next year, these GHSP Volunteers will be working alongside local colleagues at 13 institutions and 16 sites in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. They will help build on the legacy of the first two years during which volunteers train over 2,500 students and faculty annually.

Meet Two 2015 GHSP Volunteers!


Nandakumaran Ponthenkandath, MBBS, DA, MD
When Dr. Nandakumaran Ponthenkandath begins his work as a GHSP anesthesiologist educator in Tanzania this month it will be a homecoming in many ways for him. He spent his early childhood in Tanzania since his father had moved there and worked for 33 years until his untimely death. His father was cremated in a small town close to where Dr. Ponthenkandath will be working this upcoming year.
Dr. Ponthenkandath is excited to begin the GHSP program as a way not only to honor his father’s dream that he would become a physician, but additionally to help strengthen anesthesia curriculum for his trainees and care delivery in a cardiac anesthesia unit. Having worked as an anesthesiologist in India, Saudia Arabia, Grenada, and South Sudan, Dr. Ponthenkandath has a wealth of clinical and educational experiences and is looking forward to learning from new colleagues in the year ahead.


Cherie Clark, MSN, BSN, RN
54 years ago Ms. Cherie Clark and her mother watched President John F. Kennedy announce the creation of the Peace Corps. Today, Ms. Clark is fulfilling her dream of joining the Peace Corps by serving as a GHSP Nurse Volunteer this year in Uganda.

Ms. Clark has more than three decades of experience working as a nurse in countries where people often do not have access to basic healthcare: doctors, nurses, midwives or medicines. Her career in pediatric nursing and orphan care has taken her around the world. She has cared for countless children in war-torn Vietnam, worked with Mother Theresa, helped open pediatric clinics, and established a training program for doctors and nurses in West Bengal, India. Ms. Clark has also provided clinical care in Iraq, Cambodia, Afghanistan and Jordan. As she looks towards the year ahead, Ms. Clark explains: “I would really like to help [my Ugandan colleagues] improve on what they are doing… but I am also very aware that I will be learning a lot…That has always been my experience, everywhere I have gone…”