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SPHTM family mourns the loss of Cameron Burton

March 24, 2017 3:30 PM
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(left) Cameron Willia Hali Burton, MPH 2015

(From l-r): Cameron Burton, MPH 2015; Carli Harvey (BSPH '17); Edian Castro; Sue Barrosse, Director of Admissions.

It is with great sadness that we share news about the passing of a recent alumna. Cameron Willia Hali Burton, age 25, died in an automobile accident in Malawi on March 20, 2017. She was serving in Embagweni, Malawi, as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Cami, as she was known, was a cum laude graduate of the BSPH program and earned her master’s of public health in maternal and child health as part of the combined degree program in 2015. While a student at SPHTM, she worked as a graduate assistant in the admissions office, never hesitating to share a smile with anyone. Our deepest condolences go to her family.

I worked closely with Cami in 2014 and 2015 and have fond memories of her warm, upbeat personality. She was a joy to work with since she was a quick study, reliable and able to juggle several projects and tasks simultaneously and accurately. Cami was a bright spot in the Office of Admissions and her loss is devastating for her Tulane Public Health family, but her spirit remains alive in our memories.

Sue Barrosse, Director of Admissions, SPHTM

From an early age, Cameron (Cami) embraced her love of traveling and helping others. Whether it was visiting relatives in Europe or studying abroad in India, Cameron was always open-minded and excited to learn about other cultures. When she applied to the Peace Corps, Cameron noted that being easygoing would help her thrive as a volunteer. “Being patient is a vital strategy to use when interacting with anyone, but especially when dealing with people whose culture differs from my own,” she said in her aspiration statement. Peace Corps staff are impressed by how committed and energetic Cameron was about her service. She worked at a local health center helping her community address concerns around malaria and ending preventable child and maternal deaths. Despite having been a volunteer for less than a year, Cameron’s energy and impact were notable. She was passionate about working with girls on empowerment issues and improving the lives of women in her community. She is remembered by her community as someone who cared deeply and was very dedicated to her work and to the people of Embagweni.

The Peace Corps shared the following tribute to Cami on their organization’s website:

“Cameron’s compassion for others and drive to do all she could to make the world a better place are what made her a truly outstanding volunteer,” said Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley. “She was passionate about public health and was wholeheartedly dedicated to working with communities at the grassroots level. I know I speak for the entire Peace Corps family when I say we are devastated that her promising life was cut short. Our hearts go out to Cameron’s family and friends.”

Her passion for helping others is evidenced in her volunteer experiences. Before her Peace Corps service, she volunteered her time building homes with Habitat for Humanity, giving swimming lessons to low-income families, working with children and their families in New Orleans’ Children’s Hospital, creating outreach materials for the NOAIDS Taskforce, and conducting surveys for an organization focused on improving birth outcomes in New Orleans. In her free time, she enjoyed reading, writing, swimming, Zumba and watching movies.

She is survived by her mother, Carol Ann Burton, her father Alasdair John Hunter Burton, her three sisters Caitriana Elizabeth Mary Ahluwalia, Alexandra Donat Macphail Burton, and Gillian Lucy Anne Burton, her brother-in-law, Pranay Ahluwalia, and niece, Isobel Ahluwalia.

A memorial will take place in her hometown of Glendale, Calif. In lieu of flowers, her family is arranging for a memorial fund benefiting the Peace Corps Partnership Program.