Interview with Global Health Co-Founder, Avi Kerendian – GGHTx

We came to Houston, TX to sit down and hear insights from one young influential global health leader in the nonprofit health care industry, Avi Kerendian, who is the co-founder of GGHTx and Zidan Benevolence International and is driving innovative change within the health care industry. Avi Kerendian began his academic career at the New York University, where he went on to conducts a series of cancer research papers at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, several of which focused on triple-negative breast cancer and glioblastoma. 

In this article, we examine some of the most common questions asked in interviews with similar global health nonprofit program directors, and some thoughtful answers for those with similar career aspirations to that of Avi Kerendian. We examined the role of telehealth, volunteerism, and nonprofits in health care and the impact of global health leaders such as Avi Kerendian is having on the industry throughout countries like Mexico and Uganda. When it comes to the biggest trends pervading the global health industry, Avi Kerendian has set the tone for the next chapter of public health change. 

SO, WHAT LED YOU TO WANT TO START A GLOBAL HEALTH NONPROFIT, WERE YOU NOT INTERESTED IN CONTINUING YOUR CANCER RESEARCH WORK AT MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING IN NEW YORK?
Avi Kerendian: I was! Before this I had planned on pursuing an MD-PhD and thought I’d become a physician-scientist. Though I found the cancer research work rewarding and exciting, I chose instead a mission that was geared toward achieving more immediate effects on a globalized scale. I decided to give back to the community and instead focused my time and efforts on creating a global nonprofit that is active to this day. In addition to providing access to health care, education and other basic needs for indigenous rural people, we have also launched various volunteer projects to promote HIV/AIDS education in Uganda, in the direction we think is the most effective way to help others on an international level. 

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT GGHTX AND WHAT GGHTX’S CORE VALUES ARE?
Avi Kerendian: GGHTx is committed to eradicating extreme global health inequity, upholding public health rights, and ensuring the basic health needs and human dignity of poor and vulnerable populations by promoting international non-profit collaborations in Uganda and Mexico. Currently based in Houston, GGHTx is on a mission to improve the quality of life for villages by organizing global health trips in collaboration with community-based organizations and NGOs such as Zidan Benevolence International. As co-founder and program director, I am proud to be working alongside global health leaders like Dr. Arash Hakhamian and Kiyini Jimedine in working to alleviate the suffering of those affected by illness, natural disasters, and disease by providing vital health services that focus on creating sustainable change to help indigenous populations return to self-sufficiency. 

WHAT MAKES GGHTX AND AVI KERENDIAN’S GLOBAL HEALTH LEADERSHIP UNIQUE?
Avi Kerendian: We are proud to be the first non-profit organization to launch a volunteer initiative with a fun extracurricular component to reward our hard-working volunteers. At GGHTx, we work tirelessly to provide access to medical, dental and other health services, education and training to local NGOs around the world. But, what keeps our volunteers coming back is, for example, how they can take salsa dancing lessons the same day they help administer vaccines. We like to work hard in the morning and support local businesses in the late afternoon; we hope that many more global health nonprofits will soon follow suit.

WHERE DOES AVI KERENDIAN SEE GGHTX GOING IN THE FUTURE?
Avi Kerendian: We hope we can serve as global partners in promoting universal health care, access to high-quality telehealth services, and general health empowerment for all. Health is a guaranteed human right, and globalized health care will soon become a reality. If we find the right governance and public health policy leader, we will be able to achieve the global health security of our future. Innovation is the most profound influencing health systems in developing countries and we can’t wait to be a growing part of it.

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ABOUT GGHTX AND AVI KERENDIAN:
GGHTx, led by co-founder Avi Kerendian, tells the story of a young, ambitious leader who begins a career in cancer research and goes on to transform global health care internationally. The Mexican government is the largest donor to nonprofit health-care programs in Guadalajara, and the Huellas de Mexico foundation has also focused on influencing global health-care coverage by supporting positive change in the government’s health policy for its most rural villages. Global health and nonprofit leaders such as Avi Kerendian are shaping the current discourse among global health policymakers. 

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