Abiba Salahou, M.D., awarded 2023 Excellence in Public Well being Award
Abiba Salahou, M.D., has lengthy been committed to public overall health and advocacy under no circumstances searching for or anticipating to earn any higher-level recognition for her perform.
Having said that, Salahou not too long ago was awarded the 2023 Excellence in Public Well being Award from the U.S. Public Well being Service Doctor Specialist Advisory Committee. She was formally acknowledged for this honor at 2023’s Honors Convocation on Might 11.
Salahou stated that she was “surprised” and “honored” to have received the award.
“I wasn’t truly expecting it, just due to the fact I know there are lots of truly astounding classmates right here that do a lot of volunteer perform in the neighborhood and are also performing a lot of excellent initiatives…any 1 of us could have simply deserved the exact same award,” she stated. “It was surely a quite pleasant surprise. I’m very honored as properly.”
“It was good to have some recognition that supports how deeply I care about enhancing the communities that I’m going to be serving,” added Salahou.
“Having that recognition ideal prior to beginning residency has been truly specific, due to the fact I surely want to continue that perform as a doctor.”
She received the e-mail informing her that she would be getting the award the exact same day as Match Day, adding to the currently thrilling day exactly where she found she matched in psychiatry at Yale University.
“It was a phenomenal day, surely the ideal day of my med college profession for confident,” she stated.
Addressing the barriers
Salahou’s initial exposure to the health-related field was when she was increasing up in Syracuse, N.Y. She would accompany her grandmother on trips to the medical professional to translate for her from English to Yoruba.
“Seeing firsthand the differential therapy that she would get as a non-English-speaking patient was truly striking to me,” stated Salahou.
“It produced me interested in overall health care disparities and figuring out why it is that we have so a lot overall health care inequity,” she added. “And why items like language barriers produce such a massive gap in care for sufferers.”
Abiba Salahou was all smiles on Match Day.
In addition, she credits increasing up in an urban atmosphere for exposing her to the disparities in overall health care. Salahou spent time volunteering with nearby refugee organizations in New York and in Nicaragua when she was an undergraduate student.
“(In Nicaragua) I was capable to spot the public overall health context inside a bigger worldwide scale and appear at all the items that I was seeing increasing up in New York and contrast that to what I was seeing overseas,” she stated. “It solidified my interest (in medicine).”
General, she stated she finds medicine to be a field suited to advocating for marginalized populations.
“What I am most passionate about is enhancing the situations and the communities that I see about me as properly as growing awareness and shedding light onto the every day plights and challenges that come about, specifically inside marginalized and underserved communities,” stated Salahou.
“Medicine is truly 1 of the most fantastic fields to address this problem,” she added. “We’re uniquely positioned as health-related students due to the fact on the 1 hand, we have that point of view, getting members of the neighborhood ourselves, but then we’re also studying alongside physicians and other health-related students and having to see firsthand how the health-related technique is functioning.”
Time at OUWB
Soon after Salahou graduated from Bard College with a degree in biology, she wanted to obtain a health-related college that aligned with her values and interests, especially in neighborhood organization and activism. She located that OUWB was the spot that checked her boxes.
“When I was interviewing at health-related schools, I was truly paying interest to the schools that talked about neighborhood service, wanted students to get involved and be engaged, and wanted students to be involved in these conversations,” she stated.
Through her interview with OUWB, she was struck by the initiatives in spot to get students involved in neighborhood service.
“It truly seemed like the concentrate on neighborhood service wasn’t just for show on (OUWB’s) web site, but a thing that was heavily prioritized,” stated Salahou. “Being a student right here, it really is been so effortless to tap into nearby organizations and get involved due to the fact there are currently so a lot of neighborhood partnerships…so I believe that the emphasis and concentrate on neighborhood service ended up getting accurate.”
Salahou’s history of involvement at OUWB and the surrounding neighborhood is extensive— for the duration of her 4 years at the institution, she has been involved with numerous student organizations. She joined the Psychiatry Interest Group in 2021, and served as the M3 student representative and analysis liaison. In this group, she established a analysis element of the group to get students involved in the analysis aspect of psychiatry.
Salahou had been a portion of the Student National Health-related Association due to the fact 2020 and served on the group’s executive board, exactly where she took portion in organizing the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Well being Fair at Chandler Park Academy Higher College and developed programming on campus to educate health-related students about the challenges minority sufferers and students face. Other student groups she was involved with and held leadership positions in contain the Pediatric Interest Group, Mental Well being Advocates Group, and Household Medicine Interest Group.
Outdoors of OUWB, Salahou has been involved with numerous neighborhood organizations, which includes Lighthouse of Oakland County.
“I’ve worked truly closely (with them) to produce a longitudinal analysis project evaluating how emotional distress for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted emotional distress amongst meals insecure men and women living in southeast Michigan,” she stated.
Alongside that analysis, Salahou developed a virtual mental overall health toolkit for neighborhood members.
What Salahou is most proud of, even so, is the get in touch with-to-action she developed in 2020.
“I led the initiative to produce a get in touch with-to-action, anti-racism initiative at the health-related college that consisted of meeting 1-on-1 with faculty members…and brainstorm how we can far better enhance the diversity inside the curriculum and far better enhance our conversation about a lot of the public overall health concerns that I felt weren’t getting adequately addressed,” she stated. “I also had a lot of assistance from other classmates of mine that have been equally passionate.”
“(We) developed an substantial document that outlines the approaches in which we wanted OUWB to address our core eight actions things, which includes items like enhancing the preclinical curriculum to improve conversations about race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and items like that,” she added. “(A different action item was) to enhance the representation of different patient groups inside our clinical teaching…we also had conversations about growing racial diversity inside the student physique itself.”
In response to the document, Salahou stated that “pretty substantial curriculum changes” have been produced, which includes new lectures in the pre-clinical curriculum and the creation of a get in touch with-to-action activity force. She was also involved in building a report auditing the lectures at OUWB to see how a lot of instances subjects associated to diversity, equity, and inclusion have been pointed out, which was then presented at national conferences.
Seeking ahead to her residency, Salahou stated that the exact same values that guided her to OUWB guided her to Yale.
“At Yale, there is 1 of the handful of psychiatry applications in the nation that is truly recognized for their social justice and neighborhood mental overall health perform. Inside the plan, they have a entire social justice and anti-racism curriculum,” she stated. “That straight spoke to me.”
“I believe it came complete circle…I really feel like I am nonetheless pinching myself every single time I believe about residency, but I’m very excited and honored to be capable to train there, and super excited to continue getting involved and passionate about advocating for marginalized patient populations.”
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