Meet Katerina Pattee, Humanitarian Health Initiative Intern

Morghen Philippi, graduate research assistant for Research, Innovation and Global Solutions, interviewed Katerina Pattee, MPH Candidate in Global Health, about her Humanitarian Health Initiative Internship.

Katerina Pattee standing in front of a brick background

What was your background before enrolling in the MPH program at Gillings?

I received my bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience, and I worked in both the medical field and in the tourism industry in Europe.

Will you tell us more about your work with the Gillings Humanitarian Health Initiative?

I am working on a project in conjunction with an NGO in Syria to consult and provide direction for their new health initiatives.

How did you become interested in humanitarian health?

I studied comparative healthcare systems in Northern Europe and Scandinavia in college while living in Copenhagen, and I saw the model of universal healthcare in action. That idea that everyone deserves quality healthcare despite citizen status or socioeconomic capabilities stuck with me. This mixed with my background in the medical field where I saw the burden of the cost of healthcare in the US. I realized it was such a big problem even with all of our resources, so I couldn’t imagine crisis settings where resources were scarce. I decided to get involved in humanitarian health to work towards that idealistic notion of quality care for all around the world.

How has your internship with the Gillings Humanitarian Health Initiative impacted you?

I have already been able to participate in consultation calls with the International Committee of the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières, which has always been an inspirational organization for me. I am also learning so much about the need for public health expertise in crisis settings and the ability to work with NGOs on the ground. It has also been eye opening to see the dynamics of working domestically for a foreign setting and all the benefits and challenges of that.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I currently have a plane ticket for Japan for March 2021, so we will see what the state of the world is at that time. I have only been to Asia once, but this time I wanted a more traditional destination with centuries of history and culture (the ramen will be a welcomed extra perk).