Host Institution: Johns Hopkins University
Award Name: Fulbright Foreign Student Program
Discipline: Public Health/ LGBTQI + Health
Award Year: 2023
Martha de la Paz is an Executive Assistant to the incumbent Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Health. She is currently taking a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Johns Hopkins University (JHU), specializing in Health Behavior and Society to promote LGBTQI+ Health in the Philippines.
Martha obtained her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree from the Ateneo De Manila University. Unlike most of her peers who took medicine, she pursued public health as a Health Policy and Systems Fellow in the Department of Health. In the last six years, her work focused on strategic direction setting and health policy development for the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act and COVID-19 response.
As a proud trans woman, her passion lies in increasing access to inclusive and responsive health services for LGBTQI+ Filipinos. As one of the inaugural fellows of the Samya Rose Stumo Memorial Fellowship for Global Health of ThinkWell, Martha led the development of a policy framework for the institutionalization of LGBTQI+ Health in Universal Health Care. Now, as an MPH student in JHU, she intends to gain a deeper understanding of the role and impact of prevailing social constructs on the health of the LGBTQI+. She also aims to develop multi-sectoral policy recommendations with her capstone project towards improving health services and addressing social determinants experienced by LGBTQI+ Filipinos.