MSIH Alumna, Dr. Lily Gutnik, MD, MPH: A Champion for Women’s Health


March 8th is International Women’s Day, and MSIH celebrate the achievements of our incredible alumnae who are advancing Women’s Health worldwide. 

Alumna Lily Gutnik, MD, MPH (Class of 2011) considers justice and equity fundamental values that drive her medical career. Dr. Gutnik is committed to empowering vulnerable populations, particularly those in low-resource settings. As a Breast Surgical Oncology Fellow at Duke University, Dr. Gutnik has an inspiring record of creating programs, and lending her consulting expertise, to provide community health workers and laywomen with the knowledge and resources to conduct breast cancer screenings. 

Lily Gutnik, MD ’11, MPH

Dr. Gutnik is most interested in the screening and early detection space, as she knows if cancers are caught early, health outcomes are more promising. In sub-saharan Africa, 77% of cancers detected are in stage III and IV, and mortality rates are five times higher than in the US. Therefore, Dr. Gutnik has several ongoing research collaborations in Africa.

As a former Fulbright Scholar and Fogary Fellow to Malawi, Dr. Gutnik piloted the country’s first breast cancer screening and awareness program in which she trained laywomen to conduct clinical breast exams. She is scaling up the work she has done in Malawi, and is collaborating to implement similar models with success in other countries. Dr. Gutnik is an advisory board member for Discovering Hands, a German-based social enterprise in which blind women are being trained to conduct breast exams. Additionally, she is an advisory board member to Know Your Lemons, an organization that provides innovative breast cancer education materials in various forms and languages.

After completing her undergraduate studies at NYU, Dr. Gutnik sought opportunities to gain exposure to global health, which led her to the Medical School for International Health. After graduating, Dr. Gutnik completed her residency in Surgery at the University of Utah, along with a Master’s of Public Health at Harvard University, where she was also a Research Fellow in the Center for Surgery and Public Health. Dr. Gutnik’s research interests include studying health  disparities and implementation science, including measuring the effectiveness of programs. 

Dr. Gutnik reflects fondly on her experience as a student at MSIH. She highlights the camaraderie among her cohort at MSIH, and enjoyed learning about global health and working with underserved/vulnerable populations.