Subha Hanif

Subha founded a women’s health seminar for female Bangladeshi-Americans to help mitigate health disparities and to promote the prevention of disease.

Undergraduate: Oakland University, 2013
Medical school: Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, 2018

What led to your interest in medicine?

There were several things, but there were two substantial moments in my life that made me choose medicine. The first was my experience as a college freshman at the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP). The second was founding monthly women’s health seminars for immigrant women of Hamtramck and Detroit, Mich.

After attending SMDEP, I was able to understand that there are various communities in which access to adequate health care is lacking, and I became much more aware of the kinds of health care disparities that minorities face today. Learning from the research, case studies, and presentations about minority health, I completed SMDEP equipped with a much more in-depth exposure to health care in immigrant communities.

With a newfound passion in minority health, I searched for ways to help as much as possible. Fueled with tremendous support from my family and family physician, I started a monthly women’s health seminar for female Bangladeshi-Americans to help mitigate health disparities and to promote the prevention of disease. The workshops aim to educate women about primary health care issues such as breast/cervical cancer, diabetes and diet, osteoporosis, vaccinations/immunizations, and overall health maintenance. It is a culturally tailored program and is designed to fit the needs of the audience. Female faculty of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine present the lectures and I translate in Bangla for the women who do not understand English.

Both of these experiences have motivated me to pursue my passion and ultimately obtain my MD/MPH. In the future, I hope to work for the U.S. government where I can concentrate on making policy decisions that affect the underserved populations.  

Who or what inspired you?

My parents are my inspiration for going into medicine and overall, for aiming high and receiving an education. I was born in Bangladesh and immigrated to the US at the age of five. My parents brought my sister and me to America so their daughters could pursue an education and have access to limitless opportunities. Not only has their support allowed me to pursue my dreams but it has also kept me constantly motivated to continue the work that I am most passionate about.

How did you prepare for the medical school application process?

One of the best preparations I received was during SMDEP. The entire program had a holistic approach to discussing all the various paths one could take to reach the same goal of being accepted to medical school. In addition, I had access, as an alum and ambassador of SMDEP, to a whole network of physicians, mentors, and peers. This was tremendously helpful when asking questions about my future career plans and the daunting process of applying to medical school.

I also started planning for the application process early in my freshmen year. I started thinking about what research to get involved in and which professors would potentially write my letters of recommendation. However, I would say to anyone who is planning on pursuing medicine that there is not just one right path to reaching the same goal. Just pursue your passion and it will lead to success!

How did you choose which medical school to go to?

The process of choosing which medical school I wanted to attend in the fall was exciting yet a bit daunting because I wanted to make sure that I was picking a school with similar interests as me. It was important for me to read each mission statement for the schools I was admitted to and then make a decision.

I chose Michigan State University College of Human Medicine because of their strong interest in creating the next physician leaders of Michigan and the United States. This school is very passionate about underserved populations and health care disparities so it fit very well with my plans for the future.

I feel that each student needs to compare and contrast each school and then make a decision based on where he/she will be most happy and comfortable. 

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