Start Center - Strategic Analysis, Research & Training Center
START Center



This past September, research assistant Jacinta Ifunanya “Ify” Azie graduated from the Strategic Analysis, Research & Training (START) Center’s training program.

Below, learn more about our impressive graduate and the work she completed while engaged with START.

Ify is a Master of Public Health (MPH) student in the department of Global Health at the University of Washington. She received her bachelor’s degree in public health technology from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. Ifunanya describes herself as a passionate advocate for adolescent and women’s sexual and reproductive health and girl’s education. Most recently she worked with Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiative (SEGEI) – an international non-profit organization that empowers adolescent girls and young women through education (formal & informal), mentorship, and life skills development as a program coordinator where she oversaw the mentorship arm of the non-profit. Her research interests include sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young women, gender equality, HIV/AIDS and health policy.

Ify worked on ten START projects during her two-year engagement at START, acting as the Project Manager for two of them. Below are the highlights from the three projects Ify worked on:

  • Private Sector PrEP Delivery Policy and Regulatory Landscaping in Sub-Saharan Africa: The primary objective of this project was to conduct a landscape assessment of regulatory and policy barriers to PrEP (oral and long-acting) delivery through private sector pharmacies and clinics across Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • GPA Partner Diversification Landscape Phase 2: The Global Policy & Advocacy (GPA) division at the Foundation engaged the START Center to conduct a landscape review of equitable grantmaking and partner diversification practices within the division and across the field of philanthropy and grantmaking, and to develop a scorecard of indicators and theory of change for the division’s partner diversification efforts.
  • Tailoring Health Delivery in Hard to Reach Populations in NTDs: The START team conducted an up-to-date literature review on tailoring NTD interventions in hard-to-reach populations and other health areas that have reached similar populations successfully, drawing recommendations and highlighting challenges that can be strengthened for an effective programmatic reach for the NTD PST at The Foundation.

Apart from her work as a research assistant with the START Center, Ify was integral in creating an International Student Handbook based on the experiences Ify had when she first arrived to Seattle. This handbook has served as a valuable resource to incoming international students and domestic students first coming to the region. Ify will continue to advocate for international students at the School of Public Health while being a continuing student in her masters. When reflecting back on her time with the START Center, she said, “START played a crucial role in my understanding of Corporate America, and it did so with a great deal of patience and grace. My experience significantly stretched me and helped me develop into a highly confident individual”.

Ify will continue to engage with START’s extensive alumni network, established in 2011. START often invites alumni to share their experiences after graduating from the training program at all-team meetings and, additionally, taps into the alumni network for content expertise on projects. The alumni network is comprised of highly skilled START graduate professionals employed in global health, business, and consulting across disciplines.