Samya Rose Stumo died on March 10, 2019 in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 at the beginning of a bright career in global health. She was a burgeoning force striving for better health for all people. We, her close friends and family, are creating the Samya Rose Stumo Memorial Initiative for Universal Quality Healthcare for young women: a one-year, purposeful engagement with global health systems and the ways they can be improved. In this way Samya’s presence in this world will be multiplied, and we think we can do this with your help. Our goal of $80,000 would go a long way towards funding the first fellow and plant the seed for more. Any donation will help make an impact and all donations are tax deductible. See more information below.
Imagine women in rural Peru having a voice in reproductive health policy. Imagine a world without hepatitis C. Imagine all people – rich and poor, black and white – living equally healthy lives. Samya saw these and many other dreams as tangible possibilities and was actively working towards achieving them. In her words, she was dedicated to
“making health care human-centered by nature, resolving disconnects between policy and practice, and rejecting the status quo in global health and development.”
Her tragic death has kept her from personally making these dreams into realities, but her contributions to making this world a better place are not over as she continues to inspire us and remains a voice among us.
Samya didn’t back down from any injustice that she felt diminished or muffled voices of people who lacked the resources to fight back. She spoke up and called attention to wrongs that needed to be made right. But in doing so she was quick to smile, careful to listen, always hopeful of turning an adversary into an ally, always optimistically projecting a better way for all. This is why we can both mourn her and also feel inspired by her, an inspiration we hope fellowship recipients will share.
When Samya’s flight crashed, she was on the way to Nairobi, Kenya as part of an effort to establish universal health coverage there. Samya was on her first assignment for a new job with ThinkWell, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bold solutions to achieving health coverage in low- and middle-income countries. Samya’s vision for healthcare development in other countries aligned closely with ThinkWell’s, and for this reason ThinkWell is excited to host the fellowship and bring its resources and network to bear on the fellowship experience.
Samya started her career with anthropology fieldwork in rural Peru. There she researched the unintended consequences of social services and health policies meant to help pregnant women. Through interviews with local women, Samya gave voice to those who otherwise had no say in how their healthcare functioned and she went on to present this work at the world’s largest annual anthropology conference.
After her work in Peru, Samya completed her Master’s thesis, which focused on the discrepancy between national hepatitis policy and patient experience in Europe. Her goal was to give a voice to people living with hepatitis B and C who were being neglected by the prevailing health system. And she succeeded. Through a survey of patient groups across 27 European countries, Samya demonstrated that care countries claimed to provide was not delivered. She conducted this survey on two separate occasions and published and presented her work several times, contributing to the evolution of hepatitis policy across Europe.
Samya was a visionary in her field and her career promised to ease suffering and save lives of people around the world. This fellowship is our chance to amplify Samya’s impact and ideals and with your help we can create it. Your contributions are tax deductible and will only go to fund the Samya Rose Stumo Memorial Initiative for Universal Quality Healthcare. Please help us as we remember Samya and continue her legacy.
For more details on the Initiative, please click here