Sabahat Rahman

Sabahat completed her bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Molecular & Cell Biology with an emphasis in Neurobiology at University of California, Berkeley. After college, she worked in health technology implementation and research and completed a Master's degree in Global Health Sciences at University of California, San Francisco. During her Master’s program, she conducted her capstone research on the perspectives of Rohingya refugees living in the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh regarding their thoughts on their past, present and future, and took a strong interest in refugee and asylum seeker care. After completing this program, she was accepted to the Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH) program at University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). In her first year, she was a part of the Health Professionals for Human Rights council, case management leadership team at the Worcester Free Clinic Collaborative, and leadership team of the Public Health Interest Group and the accompanying optional enrichment elective. With a desire to continue her global health education, she applied into the Global Health Pathway and was chosen to be a part of the infectious disease research project within UMMS’s partnership with JFK Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Her project is on assessing the usefulness of biomarkers for distinguishing serious bacterial illnesses in children under 5 at JFK Hospital. Now, Sabahat is a second-year medical student continuing to remotely work on various aspects of this partnership project and enhancing the skills needed for a future career in global health. 

Identifying Etiologies and Risk Factors for Serious Bacterial Illness in Liberian Children age 6-59 months
JFK Medical Center

What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
I am honored to have been awarded the distinction and support of the Kean Fellowship. I started medical school hoping to bring the lens of global health to most of my education and experiences. This fellowship has given me the opportunity to immerse myself in global health work concurrent to school and also be supported to eventually travel and gain a glimpse at the type of future career I aspire to have. I am extremely grateful that this fellowship will allow me to travel to Liberia to develop skills in infectious disease research in low-resource settings, learn more about the cultural context of Monrovia and how it intersects with health, and strengthen the partnership that JFK Hospital has with UMMS.

What do you anticipate learning?
Thus far, I have only been exposed to global health research from a public health standpoint; now, I will be able to augment my clinical education with experiential learning as I apply our infectious disease curriculum to a global health context. Additionally, outside of the U.S., I have only had experience working in Southeast Asia and Latin America; I hope to learn about healthcare in Liberia from the community members themselves. Furthermore, I hope to get a glimpse of what it takes to establish and sustain a strong bilateral global health partnership that ensures agency, local capacity-building and equity.

What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
My interest in tropical medicine is rooted in health equity and a strong belief in health as a human right. Personally, I grew up witnessing first-hand the dichotomy of healthcare access and quality of high-income countries versus low-income countries. To know that some may be born into a healthcare disadvantage rooted an unsettling feeling (in me) at a young age that grew into motivation for change. The opportunity to bridge health disparities within my local context and also at a grander scale worldwide is what drives my passion in social tropical medicine, and I hope to dedicate my future career to mitigating the disproportionate distribution of disease, specifically by figuring out quality care measures in low-resource settings.