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Student named to global END7 advisory board

A photo of David Obadina, a third-year international affairs major, at his co-op at the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine in Ghana.

After taking just one class taught by Richard Wamai, an assistant professor of African American Studies, international affairs major David Obadina realized his passion to help eradicate neglected tropical diseases worldwide.

It took just one class for David Obadina to realize his passion.

The North­eastern student’s desire to take an epi­demi­ology class taught by Richard Wamai, an assis­tant pro­fessor in the Depart­ment of African Amer­ican Studies, devel­oped into a deter­mi­na­tion to help erad­i­cate neglected trop­ical dis­eases worldwide.

While taking that class I became even more inter­ested in global and public health par­tic­u­larly the area con­cerning neglected trop­ical dis­eases or NTDs,” said Obadina, SSH’17.

The third-​​year inter­na­tional affairs major will now con­tinue that mis­sion as a member of the 2015–16 END7 stu­dent advi­sory board, which will struc­ture and imple­ment stu­dent engage­ment for the global END7 cam­paign. He is one of only nine stu­dents elected to sit on this year’s stu­dent advi­sory board, which com­prises  rep­re­sen­ta­tives from uni­ver­si­ties across the globe.

The Global Net­work for Neglected Trop­ical Dis­eases and Sabin Vac­cine Insti­tute launched the END7 cam­paign with the goal of erad­i­cating seven neglected trop­ical dis­eases by 2020. According the END7 web­site, neglected trop­ical dis­eases are the most common dis­eases among the world’s poor pop­u­la­tion, affecting more than 500 mil­lion chil­dren in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

These dis­eases are extremely preva­lent in low and middle income coun­tries,” Obadina explained. “They keep people from working, from going to school, they can lead to mal­nu­tri­tion, and they have a detri­mental affect on maternal and child health.”

As a member of the advi­sory board, Obadina will con­tribute to the main objec­tives of END7, which include fundraising, advo­cacy and edu­cating the public.

The stu­dent leaders on this board will be able to give their ideas directly to the orga­ni­za­tion,” Obadina said. “They will be the link between the orga­ni­za­tion and stu­dent groups.”

Fundraising, he noted, is an impor­tant part of the END7 mis­sion. While the treat­ments are free, trans­porting the treat­ments to patients is not. END7 stu­dent groups on col­lege cam­puses raised about $43,000 in 2014, according to Obadina, who sits on the exec­u­tive board of the North­eastern Uni­ver­sityEND7 stu­dent organization.

Fourth year psy­chology major Nina Granow, was selected to be part of END7’s Stu­dent Lead­er­ship Council, a larger group of stu­dent leaders from around the world. She also serves on North­eastern group’s END7 exec­u­tive board.


A photo of the END7 at North­eastern e-​​board for 2015–16 The END7 at North­eastern e-​​board for 2015–16. Con­tributed photo

Con­tin­uing his pas­sion on co-​​op

After taking Wamai’s class, Obadina worked on co-​​op in Kumasi, Ghana, at the Kumasi Center for Col­lab­o­ra­tive Research in Trop­ical Med­i­cine, where he saw first­hand the impacts of the dis­eases he learned about in the class. As a research assis­tant, Obadina helped col­lect and ana­lyze blood sam­ples from people with neglected trop­ical dis­eases, specif­i­cally lym­phatic filar­i­asis and onchocer­ci­asis, in order to deter­mine which drugs best attack the parasites.

Obadina is cur­rently on co-​​op at the Insti­tute of Health­care Improve­ment in Cam­bridge, working with the African region team on sev­eral projects to improve health­care across the con­ti­nent. And he will con­tinue to raise aware­ness both on campus and abroad about neglected trop­ical diseases.

We are hoping we can have a wider influ­ence now,” he said. “There are so many aspects of these dis­eases that are affecting everyday life for people across the globe. Ending any of these dis­eases will be a step for­ward in lifting people out of poverty.”

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