For this week’s alumni profile we spoke to alumna Amira Shaheen. Amira is Assistant Prof. in Epidemiology and Population Health for An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine. She is also CHIFA Country Representative for Palestine and most recently has been named one of the researchers that have been awarded the 2019 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World. Amira graduated with a PhD from the School in 2009.
What did you study at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and why?
I studied a PhD in Epidemiology and Population Health because LSHTM is known as a leading school in public health. Since I wanted to investigate the epidemiology of unintentional injuries among school age children in Palestine, I found that LSHTM is the right place to do so.
How has your degree at LSHTM complemented your career?
Having a PhD is a request to be able to teach at the Palestinian Universities. Hence, it is easy for me finding a job in academia.
Were the relationships you formed at LSHTM useful – in what way?
Yes. You can still see that I am the contact point for any MSc/staff that are willing to investigate the health of Palestinians. I co-supervised 2 MSc students from the LSHTM who used Palestinian data for their MSc dissertation. Indeed, we are working jointly with colleagues from the LSHTM in two funded projects one from the MRC and the other from the NIHR.
Please summarise how you feel about being one of the winners of the 2019 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards?
I feel that years of hard work have paid off. I feel that I am more visible now. I am very motivated to carry on with my research on gender based violence, and hopefully by the year 2030 Palestine will manage to reduce the number of women who are exposed to GBV.
What do you hope to further achieve in your field in the future?
On a personal level I am working to be a full Prof. in Epidemiology. Generally, I wish to improve women’s health through targeting GBV and its health impact, and through increasing the health system response to GBV. I am looking forward as well to improve the health of children who are witnessing violence or being themselves exposed to violence.
What advice do you have for current students?
Usually have a goal and work hard to achieve it. No success comes easy, struggles are normal in the path, those who learn how to go around these struggles will one day reach their goal.
Any other comments?
I would like to thank the HERA team for their amazing work. As well as my University An-Najah National University for their support. My thanks extend to Dr. Manuela Colombini for nominating me, and Dr. Loraine Bacchus and Prof. Yehia Abed for writing the recommendation letters. Finally, I wish to thank a person who believed in me, and supported me throughout my PhD journey, my amazing supervisor, Dr. Phil Edwards.
Congratulations Amira Shaheen on your award. We are extremely proud to have you as part of our alumni community!