Iza Correll

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Physician Assistant Studies

Iza Correll, a 2017 Physician Assistant Studies graduate, founded OVI Healthcare just after her graduation to transform the health, happiness and security of children. She was deeply affected by the death of her 4-year-old nephew Ovidio (known as Ovi), an orphan in Guatemala who was in the process of being adopted by Correll’s sister, and this tragedy inspired Correll to start the charity in his name. Today, she and her team run the charity from the OVI Children’s Hospital in Kenya. 

Her vision then and now is a world where no child is alone. She says she knows what works and sees it working every day. The next step is introducing the approach across Africa and Asia to end the orphan crisis and prevent poverty. 

A native of Somerset, Ky., Correll is an internationally acclaimed social entrepreneur, a dually licensed U.S. Physician Assistant and Kenyan Clinical Officer, a bestselling author, and the youngest-ever recipient of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship (among fellow laureates U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Michael J. Fox and Christina Aguilera).

Correll said she was surprised when she was notified of the award.

“I’m excited and honored. It definitely came as a complete and total shock,” Correll said. “I remember that getting into (PA) school was the biggest thing in the world, and I want everyone to see that you can follow your dreams, even if they scare you. All my professors played a huge role in getting me here to train in Kenya and to have these opportunities. Dr. (Somu) Chattergee always believed in me, even if — initially — I didn’t perform as well as I wanted in his class.” She laughed as she thought about the memory. “There are so many worthy people out there who deserve an award like this. It’s wild to think about.”