Johns Hopkins University doctoral candidate Aliza Waxman will bring years of experience working on the issue of global health in three different continents when she attends the 2015 ROI Community Summit in Jerusalem this month.
The summit will bring 150 Jewish innovators with a wide range of skills and backgrounds to the Israeli capital city to discuss, experiment and challenge each other on how they can strengthen the world’s future Jewish community.
“We are proud that the ROI Summit has become an exceptional forum to convene some of the most promising young Jews from around the world,” said Justin Korda, executive director of ROI Community. “This group of inspiring leaders has incredible potential to infuse new energy into the global Jewish community.”
Waxman spent eight years working in HIV/AIDS prevention in Sub-Saharan Africa and is interested in international assistance for developing countries.
“Growing up in Boston, everyone looked like me and had similar access to education. It was a privileged upbringing compared to most of the world,” said Waxman. “When I went to college and was exposed to African studies and sociology of developing countries, it opened my eyes to the whole field of work in international development.”
Although she is now studying public health at Hopkins, Waxman realized early on that if she wanted to take this up as a career, she would need to open the right doors before she graduated. In 2006, she went to Peru and volunteered at a prison and orphanage. When she got back to the U.S. she interned with the Aids Action Committee of Boston.
“HIV is such a large problem that affects such a large population in the world and the reason for it is so multifaceted,” said Waxman. “The stigmas have been a barrier to prevention. There is a fear of not wanting to be associated with something because it is a STD but also because it affects such a marginalized society.”
Waxman’s passion for the issue of global health is matched by her Jewish convictions, she said. She sees the summit as another opportunity to connect her ethnicity and her career.
“My advice to other young Jews would be, we have a lot of opportunities to make the world a better place,” she said, “and now is the time to take advantage of it.”