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Internship Spotlight: Dr. Mohammed Isa Bammami, MD, MPH ’24 (Social & Behavioral Sciences, Global Health Concentration)

October 02, 2023

Yale Leadership in Global Health Fellow at UNICEF, United Nations Headquarters, New York; Funding: Yale Leadership in Global Health and Yale School of Public Health Summer Funding

What is your career goal?

My career trajectory has been driven by a profound evolution in my understanding of health and well-being. Initially, my ambition was to alleviate suffering, a goal I pursued earnestly in my clinical practice. However, with time and exposure, I realized the profound potential in preventing suffering, especially in the realm of mental health. This preventive and holistic perspective is what guides my current endeavors.

But my vision doesn’t stop there. Recognizing that the most profound changes are often driven by policy and systemic shifts, I aspire to transition into politics in the long run. I believe that with a strong grounding in medicine and public health, I will be uniquely positioned to champion policies that are informed, compassionate, and truly transformative.

Thus, I’ve undertaken deliberate steps: from medical school and rigorous clinical practice to pursuing my public health degree. I’ve been honored to be a part of the CDC and now Leadership in Global Health/UNICEF fellowships, where I’ve been actively engaged in research, contributed to publications, and furthered my public health practice. Each of these steps not only equips me with the knowledge and skills, but also reaffirms my commitment to creating a world with minimized suffering and maximized well-being.

What were your duties/responsibilities during your internship?

A significant facet of my duties revolved around engaging with both formal and informal communities. I was entrusted with the consolidation, updating, and review of country-specific data that traversed various critical health disciplines, areas such as school health, mental health, adolescent health, and maternal and newborn health. I also delved deeply into literature reviews, data collection, and analysis, making certain that our information was current and perfectly aligned with specific technical demands.

Beyond that, I played an instrumental role in advancing UNICEF’s research endeavors. I worked on pressing issues pertaining to adolescent and maternal health. The outcomes of my analytical efforts significantly informed the creation of vital documents, such as draft position papers, commentaries, and policy briefs. These were crafted to enlighten both our internal teams and the broader public. Simultaneously, I was immersed in the development of targeted health communications, where I meticulously shaped content to resonate with our intended audiences.

Furthermore, an integral part of my internship involved organizing and actively participating in conferences. These platforms facilitated knowledge exchange, deepened my understanding of global health initiatives, and expanded my professional network, offering a holistic perspective of the field.

What did you take away from your experience as an intern? What was the value of the internship to you?

The internship was transformative. It instilled a deeper understanding of real-world applications of theoretical knowledge, honed my skills, and broadened my perspectives on maternal mental health globally. Collaborating with professionals, navigating challenges, and contributing to meaningful projects were pivotal in my career development and self-growth, underscoring the internship's immeasurable value.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your internship?

The most rewarding aspect of my internship spanned multiple dimensions. At the forefront was the unparalleled opportunity to meet and network with influential personalities. Engaging with them not only expanded my professional network, but also deepened my understanding of the intricacies of global health initiatives and policymaking. Being immersed in the United Nations environment also afforded me a firsthand experience of its unique work ethics and organizational culture, which was instrumental in shaping my perspective and enhancing my adaptability in diverse professional settings.

However, the true essence of my internship was practicing public health across various levels, from grassroots to global platforms. Each endeavor provided a new learning curve, a challenge to overcome, and a chance to contribute. But the pinnacle of all these experiences was witnessing the tangible impact of my efforts. Knowing that my contributions, whether big or small, played a part in effecting positive change in the realm of public health was, without a doubt, the most gratifying takeaway from my internship.

What was the most challenging aspect?

Navigating the complexities of team dynamics was challenging. With diverse groups working toward common objectives, understanding individual strengths, bridging communication gaps, and unifying varied perspectives were crucial. My prior knowledge of teamwork and collaboration provided a guiding framework to anticipate potential issues and address them proactively.

The most surprising aspect?

The most surprising facet of my internship was the breadth of roles I found myself stepping into. While internships are often viewed as entry-level experiences characterized by observational learning and guided tasks, my journey was quite the contrary. I was entrusted with a spectrum of responsibilities that spanned beyond the conventional boundaries of an intern’s role. It was not just about performing tasks; it was about embodying diverse roles, each with its unique set of challenges and learning curves.

Equally astonishing was the level of power and influence I was afforded. Contrary to typical expectations, my voice was not only heard but actively sought after. I found myself participating in decision-making processes, offering insights, and contributing to outcomes that had wider organizational implications. The trust placed in me, coupled with the influence I wielded, reshaped my understanding of what it means to be an intern.Top of Form

How did your first year at YSPH prepare you for this internship?

It was instrumental in equipping me for the demands and challenges of my internship. The rigorous and fast-paced academic environment instilled in me a resilience and adaptability that proved invaluable. The intensive coursework and demanding schedules honed my ability to manage time efficiently, prioritize tasks effectively, and maintain a sharp focus even under pressure. This allowed me to navigate the intricacies of my internship with confidence and efficiency.

Equally crucial was the culture of YSPH. The school fosters a strong sense of collegiality, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Engaging with peers, faculty, and professionals from diverse backgrounds and disciplines instilled in me a profound appreciation for the collective strength of a team. This ethos of teamwork and collaboration became a cornerstone of my approach during the internship.

What would you say to a student who’s considering a similar internship?

Firstly, as a Yale Global Leadership Fellow, you’re not just stepping into a program, you’re entering a brotherhood. The camaraderie and sense of unity among the cohort is unparalleled. You’re surrounded by highly motivated peers, all driven by a shared mission, and this collective energy is truly invigorating. But what further elevates this experience is the unwavering support from the Global Health Leadership team. Their dedication to our growth is evident in the sheer wealth of resources they offer. With their vast expertise, they guide, mentor, and empower us, ensuring we have every tool to thrive at our disposal.

The second facet of the internship at UNICEF speaks to the world of opportunities awaiting you. The organization offers an environment teeming with diverse prospects. From engaging with global health initiatives to networking with professionals from varied backgrounds, the learning curve is steep and immensely rewarding. The myriad of opportunities not only expands your professional horizon, but also enriches you personally.

If you’re seeking a holistic growth experience, both in terms of professional expertise and personal development, this internship is an unparalleled journey. Embrace it with an open mind, and you’ll find doors you never knew existed waiting to be opened.

Submitted by Sabrina Lacerda Naia dos Santos on October 02, 2023