Senior Spends Semester in Ghana Researching Postnatal Care

OCTOBER 3, 2018 - Khalida Saalim (NHS’19), a global health major, is spending the fall semester in Ghana as a part of the Department of International Health’s 12-credit research practicum experience for seniors. She has made the most of her undergraduate years - studying abroad and volunteering - and hopes to earn her PhD in the future.

Question: What are you working on this semester in Ghana?

Saalim: This semester, I am conducting my research with the Dodowa Health Research Centre located in the town of Dodowa, which is just an hour outside Ghana’s capital of Accra. I am currently working with the research facility staff to develop my study, which will focus on expectant mothers’ knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes surrounding postnatal care attendance.

Question: How have you enjoyed Georgetown and the global health major?

Saalim: I am glad that I chose the major in global health. Georgetown University’s global health undergraduate major is an incredible program. Being in this program has given me extensive amounts of exposure to various fields in global health. Upon completing my degree here, I will have completed two internships, one fieldwork experience, and the opportunity to study abroad twice, which are extremely unique and valuable experiences to have received only as an undergraduate student. Despite a full workload, I still have had the chance to participate in extracurricular activities, explore Washington D.C., and form strong bonds with friends. Overall, I truly have enjoyed my time at Georgetown.

Question: Tell us a little bit about your time at Georgetown. What activities have you been a part of?

Saalim: Outside of academics, I love dedicating my time to improving both education and health outcomes around D.C. and abroad. During my first two years, I was a member of GU Medical Brigades and traveled to Honduras twice to assist and translate for doctors at a remote health clinic, as well as volunteered at health clinics in D.C. In the fall of my junior year, I volunteered with One Tent Health, a mobile health clinic providing HIV screening to high risk populations in D.C.

However, most of my extracurricular time during my past three years at Georgetown was spent volunteering with the D.C. Schools Project as an ESL tutor. I was also fortunate enough to have studied abroad this past spring in the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where I improved my Spanish language skills, as well as pursued an internship at a community health center dedicated to providing HIV education, testing, and counseling.

Question: What are you thinking about after Georgetown?

Saalim: Since I have enjoyed research so much, my ultimate goal is to obtain a PhD in social and behavioral sciences to develop my research skills. I would love to become a health researcher to play an important role in developing health care policy. As for post-graduation, I am currently applying for a mix of jobs, fellowships, and master’s degree programs relating to global health with a concentration on maternal and child health. Overall, I would like to continue getting hands-on experience in the field of global health, but I would like to weigh my possibilities to determine which opportunity will be the best decision.