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We at STSI aim to establish the leaders of the next generation

The STSI Global Surgery Fellowship was created to cultivate physicians with not only experience in research, programmatic development, policy, and advocacy, but also the ambition and compassion needed to reduce the burden of untreated  surgical disease in resource limited areas. 


Our fellows are encouraged to seek diverse collaborations, in both low and high resource settings, to facilitate the understanding and elimination of socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental barriers to surgical access.

Crystal C. Ukachukwu, MBBS


Crystal Ukachukwu is a medical doctor and researcher trained at the University of Ibadan, the premier university in Nigeria. As a part of her medical training, she participated in a sub-internship at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.


Crystal’s career so far reflects her belief in research as the bedrock of medicine. She has engaged in several research endeavors, including work concerning prostate cancer, multidrug resistant urinary tract infections, as well as investigations into the clinical course and post recovery manifestations of COVID19 in Nigeria.


She plans to undergo a general surgery residency with hopes to popularize basic life support knowledge and practices in Nigeria, as well as contribute to the development of cost effective and efficient surgical management protocols in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.


Outside of her involvements in patient care and research, she runs a youth-oriented not-for-profit organization, the Crystal Ukachukwu Foundation, catering to the education and health of underserved young Nigerians. She also volunteers for a mental health organization based at her alma mater.

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Katayoun S. Madani, MS MD


Katayoun is the Chair of InciSioN and a founding member of Students4COVID. She is currently completing her Master’s in Public Health at St. George’s University. She was born and raised in Iran, and moved to the United States where she completed her undergraduate and Master’s of Science in tissue engineering at Arizona State University. Following her graduation she coordinated and managed stem cell transplant clinical trails at Arizona Heart Institute. In addition she worked on various research projects at the Jacob’s Retina Center, and Arizona State University Center for Interventional Biomaterials.


Katayoun attended medical school at St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada West Indies, where she co-founded and became the first Chair of InciSioN Grenada. She co-led a large-scale advocacy effort with the Ministry of Health Grenada and Grenada General Hospital to deliver medical devices and supplies to furnish an operating room and intensive care unit. She led InciSioN’s Research Team from 2017 to 2020 and created InciSioN’s research infrastructure, re-established the online Twitter-based Global Surgery Journal Club, and planned the first-ever student and trainee led Global Surgery Session at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress in 2019 held in San Francisco, California.


Roxanna Garcia, MD MS MPH


Roxanna (Rox) Garcia is a resident physician in neurosurgery at Northwestern University. She attended UC San Francisco for medical school and has two masters degrees from the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. She is a global health scholar at Northwestern and she is currently developing a career focused on surgical capacity evaluation within traumatic brain injury.


Starting in July, she will be a NIH Fogarty fellow with her international mentor, the former Peruvian Minister of Health, Patricia J. Garcia, MD PhD MPH. She will be working living and working in Peru on the Peruvian Trauma Initiative. 


She currently serves as the secretary for the Gender Equality in Academic Global Health Community for the CUGH

Veronica Velasquez, MD


Veronica graduated from Universidad Central de Venezuela in 2017 and became a Global Surgery Fellow at the Northwestern Trauma and Surgical Initiative in 2019. She has been with NTSI since 2018. She plans to complete a General Surgery residency and to eventually collaborate with other Global Surgeons to facilitate access to safe and cost effective surgical care to people around the world.


She is the lead instructor for the TRUE Communities courses 2018 and is the Founder and Chair of the Venezuelan Chapter of the InciSioN Network. During the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, she took a leadership role in Students4COVID, as the head of Public Education producing educational videos for the community. She is the Regional Liaison for Venezuela in the G4 Alliance within the work group dedicated to improving access to healthcare in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Her previous research topics includes the emotional and psychological impact of mastectomies in male patients with gynecomastia in the plastic surgery department of Saint Joseph Hospital and the presentation of myeloid sarcoma as pseudo-appendicitis in the Department of General Surgery at Rush University Medical Center.

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Alexandra Reitz, MD


Alex Reitz has completed two years of her general surgery residency at Emory University. She also attended Emory University for medical school. She currently
resides in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia building and strengthening surgical and
trauma capacity with local hospitals. She is a consultant to the Department (State) and
Municipal Departments of Health for implementation of a trauma registry. She obtained
a MPH in Epidemiology during her medical studies and is applying her knowledge to the
trauma registry project’s analysis. In addition, she assists with trauma care courses for
the lay community and surgical skills workshops with the Bolivian Surgical Society. She
works in concert with her fellow Global Surgery Fellow, Erica Ludi.

Erica Ludi, MD


Erica Ludi, after completing two years of her general surgery residency, now lives and works in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Boliva. Her work builds upon the fellows who preceded her and focuses on building and strengthening surgical and trauma capacity in a locally appropriate manner. She serves as a consultant to the Department (State) and Municipal Departments of Health, to further the development of legislation supporting both access to patient care and in provision for the lay community to access health education through lay trauma care courses. With an interest in surgical education, she achieved the status of an ATLS instructor and is working to implement surgical skills workshops with the Bolivian Surgical Society. She works directly with eight local hospitals to maintain and improve the instituted trauma registry, as well as implement a perioperative registry to not only track perioperative outcomes, but also to facilitate hospital needs to the Departments of Health for whom she consults.

For her first year as the STSI fellow, she was also the Northwestern Center for Global Health Post-Graduate Global Health Fellow. For her second year, she will be continuing this instrumental work as one of the Emory Global Surgery Fellows. She will be joined by Alexandra Reitz, a second Fellow in Global Surgery from Emory to continue the work of the Bolivian Trauma Initiative.  Global Surgery at Emory


Daniela Ferrer, MD


Daniela Ferrer graduated in 2015 from Universidad Central de Venezuela and moved to Chicago to pursue a surgical career in the United States. Her experience in Venezuela was in public hospitals and rural areas. She has also volunteered for two years providing medical attention to native indigenous communities with low access to primary health care.

She has done research on wound care and novel prevention methodology in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Northwestern University in Chicago. Her prior work with the STSI is through the TRUE communities project where she taught classes in both english and in spanish. 


Alaap Mehta, MD


Alaap Mehta is a recent graduate of the Medical University of Lubin in Poland. Born and raised in California, he attended the University of California Irvine and embarked upon disparities research in the department of endocrinology, specifically evaluating socioeconomic factors affecting patients diagnosed with diabetes in the surrounding ar4ea. 


His research endeavours continued in the Department of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Chicago in evaluation of EKG reading by internal medicine residents across the state of Illinois. He joins the STSI to build community relationships and build upon his research skills for the next stage of his life. 

Maryam Saeed,MD


As a medical student, Maryam served as the Pakistan Coordinator of the  South Asia Injury Prevention Project, where she was responsible for orchestrating a cross-sectional study on helmet usage among female pillion riders in Karachi, Pakistan. 


Currently she is an Instructor for the Trauma First Responders Course and works on both the Bolivian Trauma Initiative as well as the International Rotations projects. Maryam has also interned as a Project Manager for the G4 Alliance (Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma and Anesthesia Care) . She is responsible for designing the website for the STSI and the Sadanah Foundation. 

Danby Kang,MD


Danby always believed that she would become a pediatric infectious disease specialist, but while attending medical school, she traveled to multiple countries in Central America, witnessed the need for surgical care, and decided to become a surgeon. She works on the International Rotations project and teaches the TFRC. 


Her research interests include trauma resuscitation/critical care in low resource settings, the role of expatriate surgeons in the setting of growing interest in global health among young trainees, and providing essential surgical care in low- and middle-income countries.

Sam South, MD


Beginning in July of 2016, Sam became the in-country global surgery fellow in Santa Cruz de la Sierra Bolivia, and is working to strengthen the pre-hospital emergency response infrastructure in the region. To achieve that goal, he is collaborating with policy makers and leaders in the medical community to establish a single emergency response phone number while developing a central dispatch center with a department-wide communication network.


The advent of a sustainable, integrated, and coordinated emergency medical system will change the way patients and providers experience trauma, emergency care, and medical education in a lower-middle income country. Dr. South will use a variety of social media instruments to document this process and describe the system transformation from the perspective of patients and providers in the area.​


Marissa Boeck, MD, MPH


Marissa, during her one year fellowship, was based in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and worked on furthering the development of the city’s trauma and emergency response system, the implementation of hospital-based trauma registries, and local research and training capacity development.


She oversaw multiple projects evaluating qualitative assessment of trauma as it is perceived by medical personnel, first responders and those who have bee affected by trauma.

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