About GPC

In 2004, an International Health program was established to provide health care professionals an opportunity to learn about the complex interplay between social, political, and economic factors that shape the health care system in Africa.

This program created an opportunity to travel abroad and learn about different cultures, while experiencing medicine in a developing country. In 2004 only a single healthcare worker participated in the 4-week program held at the KMT Hospital in Shirati, Tanzania.

The following year, the number increased to eleven medical students traveling to the same location. Each student had researched epidemiological issues that plagued the area and began conducting public health research projects.

Outreach programs and research projects were initiated with a hope to continue collecting data throughout the year in order to better serve the local community. In 2006, following the addition of 21 new participants to the International Health Program, a decision was reached to officially establish an independent non-profit organization: The Global Physicians Corps.

By the summer of 2006, the Global Physicians Corps expanded to include two sites, (Shirati, Tanzania and Jimma, Ethiopia), 33 students, and 2 physicians. In addition, we were able to raise $6,000 used in purchasing medical supplies and funding outreach projects in both Shirati and Jimma.

Currently the Global Physicians Corps is in the process of establishing three additional sites in Malawi and India.

See our 2013 New Members

Board Members

  • maria@globalphysicians.org Dr. Maria Alikakos CEO, Co-Founder

    Dr. Maria Alikakos graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville as a College Scholar, with a B.A. degree in Physics, Biology and Astronomy. She then proceeded to do Post-Baccalaureate work at the University of California, Davis, while concurrently participating in research at UC Davis School of Medicine. During this time she also worked as an after-school teacher at Beamer Park Elementary School, providing tailored education to the local underserved population in Woodland, CA through the 21st Century's Spanish Immersion Program.

    In the summer of 2006, Dr. Alikakos initiated her work at the KMT Hospital in Shirati, Tanzania where she coordinated health education activities and organized relief projects. She now returns to Shirati on a regular basis to maintain ongoing public outreach programs and research projects.

    Dr. Alikakos graduated from Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2010 and completed her residency at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel in Manhattan, treating the Medicare and Medicaid populations. She is now pursuing a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Mt. Sinai St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital. Following this she plans to pursue a fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry.

  • arta@globalphysicians.org Dr. Arta Bakshandeh CEO, Co-Founder

    Dr. Bakshandeh graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Cellular and Developmental Biology and continued at UCSB to earn a Masters Degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology emphasizing in Molecular Genetics two years later. During his time at Santa Barbara, Dr. Bakshandeh worked on an NIH funded research project leading to a novel gene discovery which sparked his ambition for research.

    In 2005, Dr. Bakshandeh visited Shirati for the first time to conduct a retrospective cohort study of treatment protocols and evaluate one-year mortality rates in pediatric patient’s with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. He went on to serve as the International Programs Director for the Student Osteopathic Medical Association from 2006-2008 and later graduated from Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in the Spring of 2008 where he received the Bernard I Zeliger Leadership/Service Award for his ongoing work abroad.

    Dr. Bakshandeh has completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Los Angeles County USC Hospital and is Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He is currently practicing medicine as a Hospitalist in the Los Angeles area treating the Medicare and Medicaid populations.

  • aaron@globalphysicians.org Student Doctor Aaron Hefner Secretary

    Aaron Heffner graduated from the George Washington University in 2007 with a BS in Biology, and completed a graduate program at Georgetown University in 2009 with a MS in Physiology and Biophysics. Aaron is now enrolled at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in the class of 2015.

    While in college Aaron was first exposed to international public health as an intern for the non-profit Global AIDS Alliance, where he became well versed in both political lobbying and grassroots campaigning. His first international aid mission was to Costa Rica in 2007 with the group International Service Learning, and there he helped treat patients at rural mobile clinics along the under-developed eastern coast.

    Aaron became involved with the GPC in 2012 as a first year medical student. He led fundraising efforts that surpassed expectations by diversifying methods used to raise funds, and he participated in various research projects in Shirati, Tanzania including Schistosomiasis and HIV. Upon returning to the States he published an abstract with co-author Guy Bennallack that was awarded second place at the BIOMEA/OMED/AOA annual conference in 2012.

    Inspired by his experiences, Aaron recently became project coordinator for the Tanzania site, and is actively working to expand the scope of the GPC’s presence in that country.

  • guy@globalphysicians.org Student Doctor Guy Bennallack
    Project Coordinator

    Guy Bennallack graduated from the University of Hawaii with a BA in Biology and a Certificate in Spanish and continued his education at Touro University California to pursue a Master Degree in Public Health with an emphasis on global health. After completing his Capstone project on a malaria intervention initiative in La Paz Bolivia, he joined Touro University's 2015 class of College of Osteopathic Medicine.

    During his undergraduate studies Guy Bennallack's passion for travel and exploration lead him to participate in a variety of global health efforts including volunteer work in Costa Rica, Panama, Cayman Islands and participation in a tsunami relief effort in American Samoa.

    In the Summer of 2012 Guy participated in the Tanzania global health elective course where he led the continuation of a Global Physicians Corps sponsored initiative to research and provide treatment for the disease Schistosomiasis. The 2012 effort expanded the project both geographically and in the number of patients participating in the program.

    Student Dr. Bennallack will begin his third year rotations at Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, CA and hopes to enter the fields of emergency medicine and international health.

  • jason@globalphysicians.org Dr. Jason Duong Treasurer

    Dr. Jason Duong graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.S. degree in Bioengineering and a B.S. degree in Physiology & Neuroscience. For years he has worked at the UCSD Cancer Center in outreach programs as a community health educator. He joined the GPC in 2010 as the Schistosomiasis project leader in Tanzania, and presented his work at the 12th Annual AOA Bureau on International Osteopathic Medical Education and Affairs (BIOMEA) International Seminar.

    Dr. Jason Duong graduated from Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2013 and is currently a Resident Physician in Neurological Surgery at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, CA.

  • eiman@globalphysicians.org Dr. Eiman Mahmoud Program Director

    Dr. Eiman Mahmoud, a graduate of University of Khartoum, Faculty of Medicine and University of California Berkeley, School of Public Health. Dr. Mahmoud served as graduate resident pathologist for Leishmania Project in displacement camps sponsored by Doctors without Borders (MSF) during her pathology residency years and was a member of The Drug and Safety Monitoring Board for the Leishmania Clinical Trial in Behar-India, sponsored by the Institute of One World Health and the World Health Organization.

    In addition, she served as a consultant for the One World Ethiopian organization in the Need Assessment of Rural Health Centers Laboratories in the regions of Oromo, Amhara and Tegray in Ethiopia. The team was composed of the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, the Clinton Foundation and the Ethiopian Orphan of AIDS Foundation.

    In the past she has served as president of the Women & Health Office of the Sudan - Natural Human Resource Protection Group .Her project on Women, Pesticides and Pharmaceuticals in Sudan was a Success Story Nominee at the Global Women's Assembly on Environment in Florida.

    She is currently an associate professor of Pathology and director of Global Health Program at Touro University, California. She serves as an adjunct professor of pathology in Jimma University, Ethiopia and has an extensive experience in the field of Tropical medicine, Public health and Women's health in East African countries, including, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

  • sean@globalphysicians.org Sean Griffiths

    Sean Griffiths graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2012 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Physiology and Neuroscience. Sean is now currently enrolled at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine, class of 2016.

    In 2011 while attending UCSD, Sean first experienced global health and epidemiology by studying abroad in Amman, Jordan. There he worked with physicians, health workers, and national organizations that serve the Palestinian and Iraqi refugee population in Amman. Sean also helped design and carry out a health survey of that refugee population.

    As a first year medical student, Sean became a member of the GPC by joining the Tanzania global health elective course and successfully lead the fundraising efforts for the trip in the summer of 2013. He participated in the design and implementation the Schistosomiasis research project as well as managed the finances for all of the projects accomplished in Africa in 2013.

    Sean is currently a second year medical student and is very eager to work with the group destined for Africa in 2014.

  • Dr. Kira Bendixen

    Dr. Kira Bendixen graduated from Seattle University in Seattle, Washington with a B.S. degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She continued work at the University of Washington with the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Cardiology as a research technician, while taking a short trip to Karagwe, Tanzania with the Amizade organization, where she worked in the Nyakahanga Hospital while assisting in the evaluation and treatment of patients during mobile clinics to those who lived rurally and were unable to get to the main hospital.

    During the spring of 2011 she became involved with the GPC as the treasurer for the Ethiopia group, as well as a project leader and designer for the Asendabo Health Resource Center project. She was able to return to Ethiopia late in her fourth year, May of 2014, to reconnect and begin additional collaboration with the Community Leaders of Asendabo, faculty from Jimma University, and the community members of Asendabo. The beginning phases of construction had been completed. She continues to work as the project leader in Asendabo.

    Kira graduated from Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2014 and is currently a Resident Physician in Family Medicine at the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority in Tacoma, WA.

New Members

New Members

2015 Group

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