Find out more about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship

Find out more about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship


03 April 2020

Rhodes Scholars involved in Coronavirus pandemic

In these challenging times, it is inspiring to see so many Rhodes Scholars standing up for the world and being involved in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. Here are some profiles and quotes of Rhodes Scholars showing just a few of the ways in which our community is participating in actions to prevent, slow and end the Coronavirus pandemic. Rhodes Scholars are involved in advocacy, communications, community response, containment, frontline medic, legal/justice, mental health,  public policy, research and testing.

Lyle Murray (Kwazulu-Natal & University 2010) is a resident in Internal Medicine at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa. He’s involved in HIV/TB immunology research. Lyle’s unit is managing the COVID-19 response at the hospital. Lyle is interested in investigating the impact of HIV infection and tuberculosis on susceptibility to COVID-19 infection, as well as severity of disease in co-infected patients.

Julie Levison (Pennsylvania & Wadham 1998) is an infectious diseases physician and public health researcher at Mass General Hospital (Boston).  She is working with colleagues in Department of Psychiatry to promote resilience among front-line healthcare workers through deployment of an evidence-based mindfulness intervention that they have adapted for COVID-19. Also involved in community engagement strategies to promote health equity in access to testing and diagnostics. Joint author of this powerful Boston Herald newspaper article together with another frontline Rhodes Scholar, Pardis Sabeti (Florida & New College 1997).

Jordan Anderson (Alabama & St Hilda's 2010) is a resident physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who cares for patients in the hospital and in the ICU. Jordan has helped to develop new virtual care programs to care for patients. He has also developed clinical guidelines for managing COVID-19 patients who are critically ill and have a cardiac arrest. This work, along with other clinical guidelines, are being shared globally by the team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Find out more here: https://www.covidprotocols.orgKham Kidia (Zimbabwe & St Hugh's 2011) is a senior resident in internal medicine, also at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston. He is working primarily in the ICU. Kham's experiences have helped change the protocols for emergency management (code blues).

Chunying Zhang (China & Lady Margaret Hal 2016) is working for Bloomberg News China Office on economy/business coverage under coronavirus and has documented and storified what's happening in China especially for manufacturers, and now shifting on a broader scope about what potentially the world economy is undergoing. He is also part of a China-based volunteer group helping coordinate medical supplies for Wuhan among its peak time, together with other Rhodes Scholars.

Sarah Dobbie (Australia-at-Large & University 2017) started a community response effort in Hampstead, London, which was recently featured on BBC World.

Suzanna Fritzberg Washington & St John's 2014) is founding executive director of Birmingham Strong, a public-private partnership designed to advance innovative solutions in combatting Covid-19 at the city level. Suzanna and her team are founding the Bham Strong Service Corps to identify and deploy workers to help perform essential duties that enable Birmingham to endure the COVID-19 crisis.

Abdul El-Sayed (Michigan & Oriel 2009) is hosting a COVID-19 focused podcast called “America Dissected: Coronavirus” Abdul is also a Contributor at CNN, focused on coronavirus for the foreseeable future.

Both Ndumiso Luthuli (KwaZulu-Natal & Lincoln 2000) and Kameel Premhid (KwaZulu-Natal & Lady Margaret Hall 2013) are serving on a "rapid response team" providing advice to South Africa's Minister of Justice, as legal challenges start to emerge.

Tonny Brian Muthee (Kenya & Green Templeton 2016) is part of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) research group, at the University of Oxford. The centre launched the Oxford Covid-19 Evidence Service where the group committed its skills and expertise to evidence synthesis and dissemination, in the effort against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rachel Harmon (Illinois & Hertford 2014) is exploring avenues to deploy protection to unemployed workers in Birmingham, Alabama in her role as Deputy Director for Talent Development at the City of Birmingham.

Prabhat Jha (Magdalen & Canada 1987) Director of the Centre for Global Health Research (, has reprogrammed their research work to focus on mortality estimations of COVID-19 mortality. They recently received a $1M grant from the Canadian government.

Alex Diaz (New Jersey & New College 2014) leads's humanitarian aid portfolio. In the current crisis, he has been helping lead their $50M commitment to response efforts that is a part of Google's much broader response. One of the projects he is leading is helping to advance global epidemiological modeling efforts done by organisations like HealthMap (

Janet Jobson (South Africa-at-Large and St Antony's 2007) Deputy CEO of the DG Murray Trust, is working on three response streams to COVID-19 in South Africa: procuring and distributing PPE to community-based health and care workers, developing daily radio updates for all public broadcast radio stations, and convincing mobile networks to zero-rate access to key educational and social service websites.

An image of two surgical facemasks laid out on a table

Many qualified Rhodes Scholar medics who are still in Oxford are volunteering to be part of the NHS efforts.

Not all of the work being done to end the Coronavirus pandemic is visible. Many members of the Rhodes Community are working in quiet and unsung ways to keep our societies running. This pandemic is affecting us all, professionally and personally and we are so proud of our wider community who are committing to addressing this crisis, in any capacity.

The below comments from Scholars came from our social media campaign #PoweroftheCommunity. Do follow us @Rhodes_Trust.

“During this crisis, I'd like to remind our community about the importance of truth, respect for science and expertise, and our responsibility to put first the needs of the most vulnerable.” – Alex Diaz (New Jersey & New College 2014)

“Now is our moment to unite and defeat this virus. When we do, we mustn’t squander a unique opportunity to rethink and act on how we prevent and prepare for a future.” – Professor S.S. Vasan (India & Trinity 1998)

“Being kind doesn’t require grand gestures, often our kindest moments come from the smallest acts. Kindness spreads and when we see it demonstrated by others we are inspired toward it ourselves.” – Jordan Anderson (Alabama & St Hilda's 2010)

“Now is a time when it is easy for hatred and xenophobia to take hold and fracture communities. If we do not actively work on protecting the disempowered, COVID-19 will creep into the social cracks of poverty and racism and break down the bonds formed by decades of social progress.” – Kham Kidia (Zimbabwe & St Hugh's 2011)

“Now more than ever, we need to remember what unites us and that we will either all win or all lose. Each of us could be carrying the novel coronavirus- and before we have mass testing in place, we need to act as if we could be transmitting it to others especially to someone within one of the high-risk groups for COVID. You never know what someone is going through so now more than ever we need to be kind and thoughtful.” – Devi Sridhar (Florida & Wolfson 2003)

Share this article