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Class 23 (2024-2026)

Hanan Kadi Abafita, M.D., Ethiopia

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – School of Global Public Health

Infectious Disease | Emergency and Disaster Preparedness | Leadership in Civic Engagement | Health Policy

Hanan Kadi Abafita holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from Saint Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College and is a 2022 Mandela Washington Fellow in the civic engagement track at the University of Georgia (UGA). Dr. Abafita has around seven years of professional experience in healthcare and leadership.

She worked as a Medical Director in a primary hospital located in the Jimma Zone, serving socio-economically marginalized communities. This role sparked her passion for public healthcare improvement, as she witnessed firsthand how a lack of peace hinders development and critical life-saving services.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she served as the Operations Team Leader for the regional pandemic response unit at one of Ethiopia’s top university hospitals. She organized capacity-building training and managed the unit's finance administration, enhancing her ability to handle frequent outbreaks of acute febrile illnesses in prisons and other community areas. The university recognized her with a certificate for best performance during the COVID-19 emergency response.

Recently, she served as the Director for Public Relations and Communications at Jimma University. In this role, she engaged in local community outreach and strengthened global partnerships and institutional capacity-building initiatives overseas. She continues to advance peace and development through advocacy, public lectures, and enhancing communication between the university and stakeholders.

Additionally, she volunteers for Jimma University’s Volunteer Coordinating Office as a team lead, facilitating free healthcare campaigns for the elderly and economically disadvantaged. Her mission in public health is driven by proactive research, aiming to identify emerging diseases, understand their frequency and impact, and develop evidence-based interventions tailored to the local context.

In the MPH program at the UNC, she aims to be equipped with critical thinking and cutting-edge research skills, building collaborations with diverse researchers for impactful publications. Her holistic commitment aims to shape a healthier future locally and globally.