Interview: Dr Mehret’s to-do-list

By Tiberah Tsehai,

If you never thought that one person can change the world, after meeting Dr. Mehret Mandefro, you will be convinced otherwise.

Mehret is a public health physician using oral histories to teach about health, a role she describes as an honor and a privilege. “I take it seriously but most of all, its fun to teach. This is the best part about my job and I love it.”

Having left her native land of Ethiopia at just one and a half years old, Mehret grew up in Northern Virginia. Northern Virginia is part of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and is home to the largest population of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia. “We are over 100,000 there now. So, I grew up going to Amharic school at my dad’s church in addition to regular school.”

Mehret describes her childhood as being no different than most immigrants in America.

“My parents were pretty strict about speaking Amharic inside the house and drilling in that I was Ethiopian first.” She cited both her parents as important sources of inspiration. “My mother is the best definition of love that I have. The kind of love that leaves you changed forever, and my father is a constant reminder that there are some things worth fighting for that are much greater than you. Ethiopia is his first love and always will be.”…Read More