Jacob Atem, MPH, PhD

Academic Rank

Postdoctoral Fellow

Department/Institute Affiliation(s)

Department of International Health

Dr. Atem recently joined the Center of Humanitarian Health as a postdoctoral student. Dr. Atem will be working with Dr. Paul Spiegel and other colleagues at the Center of Humanitarian Health on: 1)"Integrating Refugees into National Health Systems: Enhancing Equity and Strengthening Sustainable Health Services for All"; 2) a case study of cholera epidemic in Yemen funded by OFDA; and 3) Help faculty with responsibilities relating to those of a Teaching Assistant for certain courses in the OPAL Master of Applied Science (MAS) in Humanitarian Health in the fall, 2018.

Before becoming a postdoctoral student at the Center for Humanitarian Health, Jacob, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Pre-Medicine/Biology from Spring Arbor University in 2008 and a Master of Public Health from Michigan State University in 2010. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental and Global Health from the University of Florida in 2017. 

The title of his thesis was: “Characterization of Risk Factors, Morbidity, And Mortality Associated with Diarrheal Disease Among Children Under Five (CU5) in East African Refugee Camps”.

He spent most of his life as one of the original Lost Boys of South Sudan. He is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization (SSHCO) from 2008-present: (www.sshco.org). SSHCO is a non-profit that provides medical facilities, supplies, and healthcare-education to the people of South Sudan. At the age of six, Jacob traveled over 2,000 miles to escape a brutal civil war in South Sudan that claimed his family. For nearly a decade, he lived in an overcrowded Kenyan refugee camp where hunger and disease were daily struggles. Jacob dedicated his life to healthcare education and medical service. Adhering to SSHCO’s mission, which focuses on natives helping natives, he advocate for refugees and displaced persons around the world. Under his leadership, SSHCO aims to inspire hope and improve the quality of life for the lost.


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