Malikah Waajid’s graduate studies in epidemiology have taken her to sub-Saharan Africa, India and the Dominican Republic.
“My passport is pretty full,” she said.
One of her greatest experiences was working on a research project in the slums of Kampala, Uganda. “It’s a project close to my heart,” she said.
There, Waajid joined Dr. Monica Swahn, distinguished professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, in studying the relationship between alcohol use and violence and HIV among youth living in the slums. She traveled to Uganda three times during the project, overseeing data collection and analysis and training community partners who assisted in surveying youth.
“Going into the slum communities, you can’t help but be struck by the poverty. Even though Kampala is a large, metropolitan city, there is vast diversity in income and access to resources,” Waajid said. “But after working there, my lasting impression is of the commitment by the communities to make changes. There’s also a richness in their courage and pride. They are trying to live their best lives.”
Before joining the doctoral program at Georgia State, Waajid had worked as an epidemiologist for CARE and the U.S. Army Public Health Center in Maryland. She also taught middle school for a year between earning her undergraduate degree and her Master of Public Health.
“It introduced me to a host of issues that young people deal with,” Waajid said. “So adolescent health has become my area of expertise.”
Waajid said her next step is seeking funding to continue her global health research. She’s also working with Dr. Chantee Earl in the College of Education and Human Development on a Maymester study abroad program in the Dominican Republic that will focus on global health and education.
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