Global Health in Local Contexts: MSIH Alumni Care for Underserved Populations in the US

MSIH prepares physicians to address the impact of cultural, economic, political and environmental factors on the health of individuals worldwide. Many MSIH graduates work in resource-limited settings in countries around the world, including Guyana, Papua New Guinea, and Jordan. However, there are many more who practice global health in cities, towns and communities throughout the US.

Two MSIH alums – Melissa Dawalt Klein, MD, MPH and Angela Calhoun, MD, both graduates of the Class of 2005 – work with vulnerable, under-served people in the US. They are making “global health local” through their work to care for diverse homeless populations in Ohio and New York, respectively.

Dr. Dawalt Klein is the medical director for the Cleveland VA Patient Aligned Care Team for Homeless Veterans (H-PACT). In her current role, she oversees a primary care clinic designed to meet the medical and complex psychosocial needs of homeless veterans. The H-PACT clinic model of care includes walk-in access, case management, on-site social services, and outreach. It has grown to be a trusted medical home for veterans experiencing homelessness.

Dr. Dawalt Klein cites her MSIH education as an experience that has prepared her for her current work. She shared, “...MSIH gave me a lens on health that allows me to see beyond medical illness and beyond the walls of the clinic to the context of a person’s life and their story. This wider lens on health and wellness is an invaluable tool that I carry with me from my time at MSIH and has shaped both my medical career and worldview.”

Dr. Dawalt Klein has had the joy of seeing how a veteran’s unique strengths can help them overcome incredible adversity and find their path forward.

Angela Calhoun, MD, is a Psychiatrist at Janian Medical Center, an organization that provides psychiatric and primary care to homeless and formerly homeless people in New York City. Her work at Janian Medical Center involves engagement, advocacy, and assisting people with navigating the functional limitations of severe mental illness.

Dr. Calhoun is a member of an Outreach Team to help adults who are chronically living on the streets to find housing. Many are unable to stay at city shelters, usually due to serious mental illness or other extreme circumstances. She provides treatment to those suffering from mental illness and also completes evaluations for housing applications. Additionally, Dr. Calhoun works as a regular outpatient psychiatrist with formerly homeless people in Supportive Housing.