MACON – Mercer University junior Nassim Ashford was recently selected to participate in this summer’s University of Michigan Future Public Health Leaders Program.
In cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program, the University of Michigan School of Public Health offers the 10-week residential program, which combines enrichment and field experience to encourage college students to consider careers in public health.
The program is designed to foster knowledge of, excitement about and commitment to health equity through public health and career mentorship, practical field experience, seminars and workshops, and a culminating research project.
“The UM Future Public Health Leaders Program provides a multi-faceted curriculum and exposes students to various aspects of work in the public health field. I am very glad that Nassim was selected for this program. He has been relentless in searching for summer enrichment opportunities,” said Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa, assistant professor of global health. “During this program, he will have the unique opportunity to interact with fellow students who are passionate about public health and build skills in several areas relevant for successful matriculation into graduate public health programs. Most of all, he will have the opportunity to be encouraged and inspired to stay passionate about making a difference in our world through public health work.”
Ashford, a double-major in global health studies and global development studies from Lithonia, plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career working both domestically and internationally to improve healthcare practices and promote overall health equity for those in need.
“I am very excited to be accepted into the UM Future Public Health Leaders Program,” he said. “I believe that participating in this unique learning experience will allow me to broaden my perspective on global health issues.”
This summer, Ashford will also participate in a Mercer On Mission trip to Honduras, where he will work with three rural healthcare clinics to implement a new patient-record automation system. Currently, these clinics spend several days processing administrative paperwork and encounter difficulties when more patients arrive for their services. The new system will allow the clinic to handle more patients without requiring more staff in order to make the best use of their limited resources. He will also help train clinic staff, observe them as they adapt to the new system and implement plans to ensure that the system is sustainable.
Ashford serves as president of the Gamma Zeta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and vice president of the Mercer National Pan-Hellenic Council. He is also treasurer of the Caribbean Student Association, program chair of the Mercer International Affairs Organization, and videographer and photographer on the Marketing Committee for student programming board QuadWorks.
In the summer of 2017, he participated in The Nature Conservancy’s Growing Leaders on Behalf of the Environment internship program, working with the Georgia Leaders for Environmental Action for the Future.