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ALUMNI PROFILES: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Chytanya Kompala, MSPH '16

Chytanya Kompala, MSPH '16, is a graduate of the Human Nutrition program in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Chytanya Kompala, MSPH '16

What is your current job title/description?

I am a senior program officer on the research team at the Eleanor Crook Foundation. ECF is a private grantmaking foundation focused exclusively on global nutrition through research, policy, and advocacy. We invest in implementation research on high-impact approaches to improving nutrition outcomes. A large part of my role is supporting grant-making decisions and managing ECF’s ongoing research and technical investments. In pre-COVID-19 times, I would typically conduct grant monitoring visits in East Africa 2 to 3 times a year.

ECF is also passionate about supporting the scaling process—too often, great ideas stop at the pilot—phase and never make it to scale. I helped found the Nutrition Scaling Working Group and developed ECF’s Theory of Scale and Sustainability. I’m constantly looking for ways to support the systematic scale-up and sustainability in our investments.

Additionally, I support our advocacy and policy teams at ECF. On the advocacy side, ECF works with partners to make a case for greater investment in global nutrition. At ECF, we work hand-in-hand across teams. I love constantly learning from my team members and partners.

What are you working on now?

Right now, one of our top priorities is wasting treatment reform—globally, less than a quarter of children with severe wasting receive treatments. This problem is complex, with many contributing factors. For the past few years, ECF supports global policy change to help close the gap on wasting treatment coverage. I work closely with the nutrition teams at UNICEF and the World Health Organization on the Global Action Plan on Child Wasting, including updating the WHO guideline on wasting treatment and Prevention. By supporting some of these global policy updates, we hope to create a more enabling environment to implement cost-effective approaches to wasting treatment on the ground.

Why did you choose our MSPH program?

I was attracted to International Health's Human Nutrition program. I remember feeling so excited by the group of expert professors. The professors are all great and highly eager to advise and support students. I remember talking to one of my undergrad professors who also got her master’s at Hopkins—she spoke about her experience so fondly.

I really liked the detailed international curriculum on nutrition, including nutrition biochemistry, nutrition epidemiology, and nutrition assessment. I also was interested in getting strong foundational skills in biostatistics and epidemiology—both series were fantastic. I continue to refer back to my statistics notes from time to time!

What did you do in your practicum?

I did my practicum at Sight and Life in Basel, Switzerland, under Klaus Kraemer’s leadership, who continues to be a great mentor! I supported the team on various projects, including landscape analyses, evidence reviews, and data synthesis. I was able to get a first-hand look at how different global nutrition players interact and collaborate.

My capstone project was Using the UNICEF Framework as a Nutritional Landscaping Tool: A Case Study in Rwanda.

Do you have any advice for prospective or current students?

In grad school, I never thought about working as a donor. So, I would recommend keeping an open mind and paying particular attention to all the different types of actors in the global health and nutrition community.

I also recommend taking advantage of the Johns Hopkins network. Two years will go by very quickly. In addition to focusing on the coursework, spend time making relationships with professors, both inside and outside of the nutrition program! Ask questions, learn from your environment, and stay connected. I’m still in touch with many of my professors, and I’m so grateful for their ongoing mentorship!