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Zahirah McNatt

Lecturer in Public Health (Health Policy)



Zahirah McNatt, MHSA, is a doctoral candidate (DrPH) at the Mailman School of Public Health and a senior research associate with the Syrian Refugee Initiative. Zahirah is currently wrapping up a study focused on the impact of host-country healthcare policy on Syrian refugees residing in urban settings in Jordan. She is also taking on new work aimed at studying the effectiveness of emergency education programs for children in adversity in central and east Africa. Prior to joining the program, Zahirah spent 10 years managing and implementing projects in health and human rights. Most recently, she served as Director for Leadership Education and Practice at Yale’s Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI). Her role involved the management of research and intervention activities and the facilitation of leadership development programs for various audiences including senior government officials, policy makers and administrators (Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Togo, Cambodia). Zahirah spent 3 years in Ethiopia working to improve hospital quality through the creation of degree programs, national quality improvement initiatives and health systems research. She has also worked to develop chronic disease outreach programs and educational opportunities for ministries, NGOs, physicians and administrators. Zahirah supported the development of strategies for improving access to services for people with disabilities who reside in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sudan and Zambia and has extended this work to South East Asia. Her current interest is in facilitating the creation of innovative and effective approaches to health and education in crisis-affected contexts. Zahirah has a BA from Cornell University and an MHSA from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health.

Education & Training

  • MHSA
    University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Health Policy and Management


  • Tanzania - education in emergencies
    Kibondo, Tanzania 2018
  • Jordan - qualitative research with Syrian refugees about policy impact and refugee experiences
    Amman, Jordan (2017-2018)
  • India - performance management assessment in primary care
    Bihar, India (2015-2016)
  • United States - Leadership Saves Lives
    New Haven, United States (2014-2016)
  • Ethiopia - Hospital Management Initiative
    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2010-2014)

Departments & Organizations