Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Amina Khan

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Winter 2022

Research Project: Educating COVID-19 Ideologies in a Lower Socio-economic Community in Karachi, Pakistan

Project Description: The purpose of my project is to educate an underserved clinical community in Karachi, Pakistan, in order to understand the need for COVID-19 vaccines and safety, mainly the science behind it. I felt a strong connection with the community because I know the feeling of being a confused patient myself and also with my close family members. I’m using a community-based global health model via offering workshops, along with 3 other UW student presenters. The COVID-19 educational workshops are live presentations with patients including informative slides, answering questions in a conversational discussion. Soon, we’ll inquire if our education tactics influenced their decision to take the vaccine, recording responses via a digital trail. 

What have you learned throughout your research project?

Global health leadership has a new meaning to me now. My understanding of leadership has tremendously changed, and my project has given me the confidence to achieve greater leadership heights. To start this journey, my project involves a unique community, where I’m able to ask questions and share my curiosities with people equally intrigued by healthcare inequity. Each and every task means so much to me, and the importance of listening while performing an action. Examples include working with patients cross-culturally, learning to lead with others in a team, and managing logistics. Likewise, leadership is about communication and overcoming barriers; for example, explanations to patients require trust, fostered by learning about their families, daily lives, and personal histories. A medical practitioner considers patients’ unique perspectives—walking the proverbial mile in their shoes—before assessing their healthcare decisions, like reluctance towards vaccines. 

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

Make sure to be passionate and specific about your project! It’s important to have a project that you’re passionate about because you will love conducting it, and instead of others pushing you, you will learn to push yourself. The project that you have is important to you, yet the impact that it will have in the community is tremendous, not something you will see initially, but step-by-step. Also, your words and actions matter in your project. Perform your project in a devoted, excited way, and if it’s one you’re passionate about, then the project will come to fruition naturally.