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Personal Experiences Drive Student’s Passion for Public Health

January 06, 2022
by Anna Lin-Schweitzer

For Eiman Abdoalsadig, M.P.H. '23, health and community have always been intertwined.

Before the first-year M.P.H. candidate arrived at the Yale School of Public Health, she had already co-founded a national nonprofit professional organization to bring together members of the Sudanese-American community. The Sudanese American Professionals Society, or SAPS, fosters leadership and professional excellence among Sudanese-Americans by providing mentorship, workshops and professional development opportunities. As the organization’s director of operations, Abdoalsadig oversees the society’s mentorship program, newsletter distribution, marketing strategies and other day-to-day responsibilities and logistics.

Her own experiences with a lack of support inspired her to establish the organization.

“As a daughter of immigrants, I struggled navigating through the American system and always wished to have a mentor who understands my experiences,” Abdoalsadig said.

Her background also drives her passion for public health. When Abdoalsadig took an introductory public health course as an undergraduate at the University of California, Irvine, she discovered that health care was about more than just medicine. Public health touched upon her diverse interests, while also giving her the opportunity to leverage her personal experiences.

“As a Muslim woman of color, I realized I could incorporate my experiences with my love for science and health care through public health,” she explained.

A student in the Social and Behavioral Sciences department, Abdoalsadig is passionate about social determinants of health, particularly the intersectionality between race and health. She hopes to use her M.P.H. to better understand how factors such as access to affordable health care and racism affect underrepresented communities.

“I love how interdisciplinary the field is, which is crucial in making fundamental changes in addressing racial disparities and access to health,” Abdoalsadig said. “Yale’s M.P.H. program will help me build the skills I need to give back to my community.”

With one semester at YSPH under her belt, Abdoalsadig has already made major headway towards her goals. Her first four months at the school have been defined by the sense of community and belonging that exists among her peers, faculty and staff. She has also expanded her network outside of the YSPH community, connecting with fellow Muslim students across campus through Yale’s Muslim Student Association.

As she thinks about the future of the public health field, Abdoalsadig remains hopeful. She notes how the pandemic has brought to light not just the importance of public health, but its responsibility to address racial disparities that undergird the inequities that drive poor health. Most importantly, in keeping with her passion for health and community, she welcomes anyone into the field.

“I hope to see more and more people choose to study public health at some point of their lives, regardless of profession,” she said. “Because having that public health perspective is pivotal in creating innovative solutions.”

Submitted by Colin Poitras on January 06, 2022