From “sick care” to “well being care”: Worldwide doctor earns public well being doctorate at UAB – Information

From “sick care” to “well being care”: Worldwide doctor earns public well being doctorate at UAB – Information

Sami Alqahtani, M.D., spent 4 years as a main care doctor in Saudi Arabia earlier than pursuing a path in public well being. On April 28, Alqahtani will graduate together with his doctoral diploma in well being habits from UAB.

Sami Alqahtani, M.D., spent 4 years as a main care doctor in Saudi Arabia earlier than pursuing a path in public well being. On April 28, Alqahtani will graduate together with his doctoral diploma in well being habits from UAB.Some kids dream of being astronauts, others well-known athletes. For Sami Alqahtani, he dreamed of a life devoted to serving to the plenty.

In highschool, he realized drugs and well being care have been methods he might fulfill his dream. He attended seven years of medical faculty in Saudi Arabia, his dwelling nation, the place he turned a main care doctor upon commencement. Eleven years and two continents later, Alqahtani graduated once more, this time from the University of Alabama at Birmingham together with his doctorate in well being habits from the UAB School of Public Health.

“Throughout my 4 years as a main care doctor, I used to be not working in ‘well being care’ however fairly ‘sick care,’” Alqahtani stated. “I spent my days treating ailments and issues however not addressing the foundation causes. I needed to discover a option to hold wholesome individuals wholesome, which led me to pursue public well being.”

Coming to America

Alqahtani traveled to the USA to start his grasp’s diploma in public well being and was launched to a world of preventive drugs that goes past patient-centered care to caring of the entire group at giant. He was intrigued by the sector, from epidemiology to biostatistics, to environmental well being, to well being care coverage and administration. Nonetheless, it was the sector of well being habits that fascinated him.

“I spotted one of the simplest ways to stop illness and power sickness was to assist individuals change their behaviors to create a wholesome way of life,” Alqahtani stated. “I needed to dive deeper into the sector and determined to pursue my doctorate.”

Sami Alqahtani, MD, Ph.D.
Images: Andrea Mabry
Whereas exploring his choices, Alqahtani stumbled throughout an article about placebo results in weight problems analysis written by Kevin Fontaine, Ph.D., chair of the UAB Department of Health Behavior. Alqahtani was amazed by Fontaine’s analysis and determined to achieve out to him and study extra about UAB’s well being habits doctoral program.

“I used to be impressed that he’d learn our paper and located it attention-grabbing sufficient to trace me all the way down to have a chat,” Fontaine stated. “I used to be instantly impressed by his compassion. It got here by way of, even over electronic mail. He talked about his concern concerning the charges of weight problems in his homeland and that he needed to know if I’d be prepared to function his mentor. It was a no brainer for me, after all.”

Dealing with COVID

Alqahtani was accepted into UAB’s program in 2018. Lower than midway by way of his program, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and he discovered himself caught midway throughout the globe away from his household. Alqahtani determined to make use of his medical background and new public well being information to assist battle the pandemic each in Birmingham and again dwelling by way of the Saudi Arabia-based Waey Society for Group Well being.

“The Waey Society focuses on illness prevention primarily by way of rising group consciousness, and I used to be in a position to translate what I used to be studying at UAB to additional the group’s efforts in Saudi Arabia, particularly within the battle towards COVID,” Alqahtani stated. “I used to be additionally a volunteer for his or her psychological help initiative for college students learning overseas that was launched throughout COVID-19.”

Study extra about doctoral applications within the UAB Faculty of Public Well being here.

Alqahtani centered a lot of his analysis exploring power well being circumstances, particularly the position of psychological and bodily high quality of life, in addition to unhealthy substance use on bodily exercise amongst U.S. adults with power circumstances. He additionally participated within the Sparkman Center for Global Health international case competitors, the place he labored with college students from different UAB colleges to develop plans that may enhance the well being of aged populations in Kenya.

“My medical background offered a singular perspective when evaluating and making use of habits change theories,” Alqahtani stated. “Conceptually, many habits change theories look like a fantastic concept on the floor, however I understood the challenges and realities of individuals’s behaviors from my time in a medical setting. There’s sometimes not a ‘one dimension matches all’ answer.”

UAB Ryals Faculty of Public Well being
Images: Steve Wooden
Residence away from dwelling

Unable to journey dwelling throughout his time at UAB, Alqahtani says pupil assets such because the UAB Worldwide Ambassadors program and the Saudi Scholar Affiliation helped him acclimate to life in Birmingham and alleviated homesickness.

“I got here to UAB as a global pupil and was anxious I’d stand out, however I used to be utterly mistaken,” Alqahtani stated. “The variety of UAB continues to amaze me. I’ve met, labored with and realized from individuals from all completely different cultures and backgrounds. These experiences and relationships helped get me to the place I’m as we speak and offered me with invaluable information I’ll use sooner or later.”

Fontaine displays on his time as Alqahtani’s mentor, and watching him overcome numerous challenges, as a spotlight of his profession.

“His dissertation was excellent, and I do know the work he achieved at UAB will enormously inform the remainder of his profession caring for sufferers. Oh, and I’ll miss him dearly,” Fontaine stated.

Following commencement, Alqahtani will proceed his work with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Well being. Earlier than he steps into his new position, Alqahtani will step throughout a stage in UAB’s Bartow Enviornment with household he has not seen in 5 years cheering him on as he formally turns into Sami Alqahtani, M.D., Ph.D., public well being doctor.

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