The UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health has appointed Anna Helova, DrPH, MA, MBA as Deputy Director.

anna helova 600x450Anna Helova, DrPH, MA, MBADr. Helova joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2003 after moving from Slovakia to the United States in 2000. She is a double alumna of the UAB School of Public Health in the Department of Healthcare Organization and Policy. Dr. Helova has more than 22 years of experience working on projects in both development and global health in the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Central America, with research interests including maternal and child health, behavioral science, mental health, access to care, HIV & AIDS, intersectional stigma, social determinants of health, and most recently COVID-19, domestically and internationally. Dr. Helova teaches global health courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, serves on the Operations Committee of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH), and is a member of the Pan-European Initiative for defense against COVID-19.

The Sparkman Center spent 2020 developing a 2021-2024 Strategic Plan, including the re-shaping of the Center’s vision and mission, values, foundations and pillars. As the new Deputy Director, Dr. Helova is most excited about playing an integral role in the implementation of the Center’s plan, specifically it’s mission: “To develop sustainable approaches to advance global health equity and social justice through support for cutting-edge interdisciplinary education, research, global health practice, and community engagement in collaboration with international and domestic partners.”

Regarding immediate goals, Dr. Helova is looking forward guiding the development of platforms for collaboration and knowledge exchange, tips on the most effective and best global health research practices for both UAB scholars and students across campus, as well as the Center’s international partners to support the development of Global Health research. She also plans to incorporate activities that will lead to the diversification of the Sparkman Center’s resources and partnerships to create more opportunities for UAB faculty, students, and staff, as well as domestic and international partners in education, research, and global health practice.

“More and more, the worldwide community recognizes the role and importance of Global Health,” said Dr. Helova. “Global Health challenges, e.g., the COVID-19 pandemic, are complex and require global solutions and multidisciplinary collaborations. I’m excited to play a small role in helping the Sparkman Center to develop these collaborations and solutions, and contribute to the ultimate goal in Global Health, i.e., improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide.”

“After years of working with Dr. Anna Helova as staff in the Sparkman Center and as a key team member in my global health research studies, I am extremely pleased to recognize and expand her integral role in the Sparkman Center with this Deputy Director appointment,” said Dr. Janet Turan, Director of the UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health. “I am excited that she will be assisting me in all Center-related activities and program implementation and will help me to ensure the success of our efforts to fulfill the Sparkman Center’s mission of health equity and social justice in resource-limited settings around the globe.”

About the Sparkman Center for Global Health’s Vision: To make substantive and sustainable contributions to the achievement of health equity and social justice in resource-limited settings around the globe by working collaboratively to increase public health knowledge and capacity. Learn more by visiting

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