The “Meet MGH Global Health Series” spotlights the passionate, diverse members of our global health team at home and abroad who believe everyone, everywhere has a right to good health.
Meet MGH Global Health: Manami Uechi
Manami Uechi, MD, MMSc
Today we introduce Manami Uechi, MD, MMSc!
Uechi is the Program Coordinator for the MGH Asylum Clinic at the Center for Global Health and is a primary care physician and global health practitioner by training. She trained in clinical settings of different scales in the United States, Japan, Indonesia, Hungary, Bhutan, and Cambodia prior to moving to Boston.
What does your day-to-day job look like?
Normally, I receive referrals from clinicians who do forensic evaluations for our asylum-seeking clients. Then, I reach out to immigration attorneys who are representing the clients and contact the clients for an in-depth interview to do a social determinants of health screening. Based on the outcomes of the screening and interview, I refer the clients to resources that were identified as needed, such as primary healthcare, mental healthcare, or specialist care.
What led you to work in global health?
Studying and training in different parts of the world—both resource-abundant and resource-impoverished places—really helped deepen my understanding of what social and health inequities look like and how these inequities stem from perpetual structural violence that results in relentless oppression of the most vulnerable. In my work, I was forced to reckon with the reality of the unjust world we live in and at the same time, I came to reflect on my own positionality and privilege. In the real world, not all lives are valued equally, which is a devastating human tragedy.
What is something you love about your work at CGH?
Being a part of this incredible community of talented and compassionate professionals has been truly a blessing for me. The work that CGH does gives me hope and, despite the constant, and sometimes overwhelming challenges in the world, working with people who have similar visions and missions is really encouraging.
My work at the Asylum Clinic and in global health delivery allows me to focus on equity and social justice. Creating meaningful changes, even miniscule ones, requires tremendous collective and continuous efforts to dismantle the status quo. And I think that’s the reason I do what I do with passion and gratitude.
What advice do you have for someone else thinking about working in global health?
The field of global health is truly multi- and inter-disciplinary. That means virtually anyone can make meaningful contributions to the betterment of the local and global health in some way. You don’t necessarily have to be a healthcare professional in order to be an effective global health professional. I think that’s one of the beauties of working in the field.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like spending my free time outdoors. Because I live in a big city, it’s always nice to leave the crowded city and be in a quiet place by the water or go hiking in a forest or mountain.
Where is a place you enjoy spending time?
Besides by the quiet beach and forest? My bed, of course! I like to read in my bed 😌