With dreams of becoming a physician assistant serving people in low-income countries, Maha Karim is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public health so that she’ll have a better understanding of the relationship between inequalities, health equities and disparities.
Name: Maha Karim
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
Why did you choose to major in public health?
I wanted to help promote community health and invest time in clinical and community-based research. I have a dream of investing my time working in low-income countries as a physician assistant. In doing so, I wanted my background focus to be in public health. I feel that we must understand our population before we approach them with a solution.
What has been your favorite public health class at Georgia State, and why?
My favorite classes at Georgia State were “Health Equity and Disparities” and “Determinants of Health.” I felt that these courses go hand in hand with my main focus in public health. Understanding the relationship between inequalities, health equities and disparities was indispensable! Courses that genuinely speak to the nature of the environment that surrounds us today are essential in learning how to help promote better community health overall.
Tell us about your campus involvement.
I have been involved in numerous public health-related organizations that have been an eye-opener to resourceful campus information, student internships and peer-building opportunities. I am a part of the Undergraduate Public Health club, International Students Club at the School of Public Health, Undergraduate STEM Research Society, Pre-Physician Assistant Association, Healthcare United Group, Research and Publications Club, and the Maternal and Child Health Association. With the knowledge of my professors and peers combined, I obtained opportunities to reach out to places like the Georgia Department of Public Health to gain experience in public health. Many of my public health professors had a hand in guiding me on how to write an email, how to ask about opportunities and how to professionally approach organizations to gain experience. I got my Basic Life Support certification through the Healthcare United Group at Georgia State University. I also utilized the “Data After Dark” classes to help me understand data and public health programming.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
Utilize the opportunities you have at your fingertips. All the opportunities I utilized where while we were in a pandemic. The only difference between me and someone who doesn’t know about these opportunities is that they haven’t gone searching for them. Search for your opportunities! Georgia State has limitless possibilities for students who want to learn and who want a career of their choice. Speaking with people through online discussion groups at the university and connecting with professors is critical. Network, talk to your peers, talk to your professors and take advantage of being seen on campus.
What’s your career aspiration?
My career goal is to work as a physician assistant with a non-profit organizations like UNICEF. I'd like to travel to countries that don’t have the quality medical care we do. I am finishing my bachelor's degree in public health to cater to these dreams. I plan on attending PA school in the summer or next fall. Currently, I am in the process of medical school applications.