Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish GeneticsNorton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics
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Absera Melaku

Absera Melaku

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Absera Melaku is a true embodiment of the value of kehillah, or "community." In her role at the University of Chicago, Absera manages the public health research center which is focused on global advocacy and education. She encourages and fosters innovative approaches to health challenges faced by South Side residents and by people across the world alike.

In her free time, Absera's focus on giving back to the community does not let up. Currently, she sits on the national board of Avodah, an organization that works to strengthen the Jewish community's goals towards a more just and equitable world. She has also served on the auxiliary board of the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago and has mentored refugee youth through the GirlForward program.

Absera is all about giving back to through a Jewish lens. No one creates a strong and collaborative kehillah quite like she does.

AGE:
33

PRIMARY GIG:
I’m a public health practitioner and the Program Manager for the University of Chicago Center for Global Health. I work to reinforce the University of Chicago’s strengths in fields such as the humanities, life sciences, social sciences, medicine, public policy, and others.

ON THE SIDE:
I'm constantly experimenting in the kitchen. My greatest joy is cooking and feeding my family and friends.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS:
Married

HOW DO YOU GIVE BACK:
As a public health practitioner, I often consider how poverty and ill health are inextricably linked - how socioeconomic status is one of the most powerful predictors of disease. I am so honored to serve and give back through my involvement with Avodah, an organization whose very core is rooted in anti-poverty action in service to the most vulnerable in our community, and to develop leaders and activists committed to equity and justice. Previously, I served on the auxiliary board of the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, which is a non-profit refugee resettlement program serving vulnerable communities in and around Metropolitan Chicago.

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