Fariha Mujeebuddin has always been interested in the factors that affect the United States healthcare system. After completing her undergraduate degree in global public health and economics amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she felt compelled to continue her work and education in this field. Her interest in further examining persisting problems, existing barriers, and sustainable solutions ultimately led Fariha to enroll in the health policy and economics track of the MS in Healthcare Policy and Research program.
Fariha initially anticipated working in a more clinical setting but found herself drawn to macro and systemic level factors, such as public health and policy, that influence healthcare. Now, as a member of the class of 2021, she is interested in alleviating healthcare disparities, especially around healthcare access and quality.
While being a student during the pandemic meant working remotely and collaborating through trial and error, the experience has been positive. “The adaptability and flexibility to come out of it have been highlights,” Fariha said. “It has been extremely rewarding to work alongside fellow students and faculty with extensive and diverse backgrounds. Not only have I learned in my classes, but I’ve gained valuable insight from my peers. The breadth of classes and subjects covered has also increased my exposure to relevant topics and strengthened the foundational knowledge that I can expand upon after the program.”
Throughout the program, Fariha has had the opportunity to work with Dr. William Schpero, assistant professor of population health sciences. “Working with Dr. Schpero and peers has given me valuable hands-on experience that has shaped the way I approach health policy,” she said. “It’s been incredibly insightful to experience the process of creating and executing research projects, and I believe this has enriched my academic experience greatly.” Dr. Schpero was also Fariha’s faculty advisor for the capstone project, offering feedback, professional development resources, and mentorship to prepare her for post-graduate plans.
In her next stage, Fariha will begin a new role as a health policy research analyst at a policy and research firm based in Washington, DC. “Many of the topics that I’ve studied in the MS program and the skills that I’ve practiced are relevant for my new position,” she said. “I’m looking forward to applying my skills and expanding on what I’ve learned throughout my time at Weill Cornell Medicine. During this transformative time in the healthcare field, I’m excited to work at the intersection of health policy and research to make a positive impact.”