The Core Team: The People Behind PHTT

The Public Health Think Tank is led by a team of diverse students from NYU Abu Dhabi, hailing from a range of different countries and pursuing different majors:


 Hafsa Ahmed is a Social Research and Public Policy major at NYU Abu Dhabi . She hails from Lahore in Pakistan, a country battling public health issues on many fronts. This has fuelled her passion for engagement in the health field from a policy and intervention perspective. Her relationship with PHTT began 3 years ago, first as a volunteer, then as a participant and last year as a member of the core team. This year, as the Co-Chair of the core team, she has made it her mission to deliver a dynamic conference that does not only provide its participants with opportunities for problem-solving and project-implementation but also those for discourse on the public health phenomenon inherent in each. On the odd occasion she catches a free moment, Hafsa enjoys good satire, playing table tennis, reading Lucretius and watching live theatre. She is looking forward to meeting all PHTT 2019 participants this Fall!


Kai-Wen Yang is an NYU Abu Dhabi student from Taiwan, majoring in electrical engineering with particular interest in biomedical engineering, the discipline in which technologies can be utilized to help prevent, diagnose, and treat human diseases. She is passionate about tackling challenging health and medical issues through technological innovations and have been involved in several projects building diagnostic devices that have great potential of promoting health and wellness. With the belief that health and medical issues should be approached from a myriad of perspectives, she is also very enthusiastic about public health and the significant impact that the interventions can bring about. As the co-chair of the conference this year, she aspires to help construct an inclusive and inspiring environment for participants to learn, interact, and unleash their creativity. In her free time, She indulges herself in art, music, dancing, and swimming. This is her second year being a part of PHTT and she can’t wait to meet everyone!


Amy (Shinyi) Kang is an NYU Abu Dhabi student from South Korea. As a prospective Economics major, she is interested in taking a policy-based approach in tackling public health issues. It is her first time being involved in PHTT, and so she is extremely excited about organizing this year’s conference and gaining invaluable insights from it. Aside from academics, she is always up for having conversations about cool science facts, honing her clarinet skills, binge-watching tv series with friends, and, most importantly, ordering boba.


Stella Xu is an NYU Abu Dhabi student from Seattle, Washington. Currently, she is thinking of majoring in biology and intends on pursuing a career in the healthcare industry. This is Stella’s first year being involved in the PHTT, and she is super excited to learn more about health care policy and intervention leading up to and during the PHTT. When Stella is not studying, she loves to hang out with her friends, dance, try new restaurants, and is currently trying to learn to play pool.


Gayathri Satheesh is a Biology major at NYU Abu Dhabi. Being born and raised in India has impressed upon her the health disparities that exist in society and the inadequacies of the policies regarding healthcare. This has fueled her passion for being of service to the public through the healthcare system. This is her second year being part of PHTT, first as a participant and now as a member of the core team. She winds down by binge watching medical dramas, training for Jiu Jitsu and doodling in her sketchbook. She is looking forward to meeting the PHTT participants and being able to hear their ideas and hopes for a healthy future!


Nejat Mussa is a second-year student at NYU Abu Dhabi where she is majoring in Psychology and Social Research and Public Policy. Having lived in Ethiopia her entire life (before college), she has witnessed many issues associated with public health intervention designs and health delivery which have heightened her aspiration to engage in health-related fields in the long term. She is especially interested in maternal and child health, a public health concern which affects lives of hundreds of people daily- in Ethiopia and the world at large. Her first encounter with PHTT was in 2018 when she was a participant in the conference. Driven by the opportunities the conference has provided her to address a specific public health issue with her peers around the UAE, she has continued her relationship with PHTT as a member of the core team this year. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, writing poems, eating a lot and spending time with her friends. She is super excited to work with the core team to deliver a successful conference and learn new things from everyone!


Tsion Solomon Gurmu is an NYU Abu Dhabi student from Ethiopia, majoring in Psychology. She is especially interested in public health and ways of providing effective and affordable medical care to people. Tsion got involved with PHTT as a participant in 2018. As part of the core team now, she can’t wait to meet and have discussion about public health with everyone. In her free time Tsion likes watching movies and reading books.


Tatiana Houhou: Tatiana is a  first year student from Lebanon here at New York University Abu Dhabi. She first got in involved with PHTT as a volunteer during her freshman fall.  Being extremely impressed by the the opportunity the conference created for people from myriad different backgrounds to come together to generate solutions and interventions to some of the most pressing health issues, she decided to join this year’s PHTT core team.  Tatiana is interested in the theoretical aspect of biology, but is also passionate about the applied/ engineering aspect of it, more accurately, bioengineering because she thinks that this brand-new approach can potentially serve as a bridge between theoretical knowledge and economic, social, and most importantly humanitarian reform and improving the quality of human life. In short, she is  particularly interested in the intersection between bioengineering, health, and thus medical intervention. Aside from academics, she is passionate about volunteering, basketball and singing.



The PHTT 2019 core team is indebted to our advisor whose contribution make PHTT possible:

Andrea Leinberger-Jabari, MPH serves as Assistant Director for Tobacco Research at NYU Abu Dhabi. Prior to joining NYU Abu Dhabi, she held positions at The Rockefeller University Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Minnesota, where she has been responsible for various community engaged research activities. Ms Leinberger-Jabari has also served as the Director of US-based Health Programs for an international, community-based organization, where she was responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating community-based health promotion initiatives primarily serving immigrant and refugee families.