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OU student shares health care vision at Global Health Conference

Friday, April 13, 2012
OU student shares health care vision at Global Health Conference
By Katie Land, news editor

Subha Hanif was the only student from the U.S. at the Royal Society of Medicine's Global Health Conference. Here, she stands by her poster illustrating her work for minority women's health care initiatives.
Oakland University Honors College student Subha Hanif believes that global issues should be discussed on a global scale. She recently put these ideas into practice by participating in the Royal Society of Medicine’s (RSM) Global Health Conference in London. 

Hanif was the only undergraduate student and only student from the U.S. selected to attend and even present her own work at the conference, which is a rare honor, according to Graeme Harper, Ph.D., director of the Honors College.

“This opportunity is really incredible for Subha,” Dr. Harper said. “I'm a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, and I'm thrilled that Subha was able to attend the conference. I believe it is the first time ever that an OU student has attended this medical conference - certainly an OU undergraduate. In fact, very few international undergraduates have ever attended.”

The two-day conference was focused on “Shaping the global health agenda-women, children, and society,” a topic that fits in perfectly with Hanif’s passion and work. Hanif is dedicated to improving and expanding health care opportunities for under-privileged female immigrants, who are often at a disadvantage when seeking the resources for adequate health care. 

To address these concerns, Hanif has created and organized a series of monthly health seminars for minority women in Hamtramck and Detroit. With the help of her family doctor and sponsored by the Bangladeshi Americans for Social Empowerment organization, lectures are presented by female faculty from the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

Hanif stands with Dr. Craig Jordan, US-RSM chapter president. Dr. Jordan is considered the "father of tamoxifin," the drug for breast cancer prevention.
Designed specifically for the immigrant female community, Hanif’s workshops address a different topic each month such as diabetes, diet, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and osteoporosis. The ultimate goal is to help women increase their understanding of basic health care and become active in their own wellbeing, Hanif said. 

“Everyone at the conference was curious to learn about the U.S. and the work that I’ve been doing in Hamtramck and Detroit,” Hanif said. “I think my work just solidified the fact that while there is a lot of help needed in third world countries, if we look at our own neighborhood and the areas around us, we can see that there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the inner cities of America as well.”

The conference offered Hanif a platform for her ideas, as well as an opportunity to network with physicians from all over the U.K., U.S., Africa and India, she continued. 

“These opportunities allowed me to really see that I can pursue my passion for global health and women’s health, because there are people accomplishing great things in these areas,” Hanif said. “However, the experience also motivated me to continue my work because I know there is still so much more to be done, and so many more people to reach out and help.”

This is not the first time Hanif’s work has been recognized. In fact, she was awarded Oakland’s 2012 Keeper of the Dream Award, which celebrates and honors student leaders who promote diversity, cultural understanding and community activism.

“This has certainly been an exciting year for me already,” Hanif said. “I’m definitely grateful for all these wonderful experiences I’ve had. These are just some of the countless opportunities that one can seek out at Oakland University.”

A pre-med student, Hanif is also a leader on campus, representing minority student issues through OU student organizations such as the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society, Student Congress, University Senate, and the Muslim Student Association.