BCH Doctoral Student Wins First Place at Graduate Research Appreciation Day
Zahra Saboori, a first year doctoral student in Behavioral and Community Health won a $500 travel stipend for her oral presentation “An Assessment of Attitudes and Beliefs of Community Health Worker Intervention Models at a Rural Health Clinic in Southern Maryland” during Graduate Research AppreciationDay held last week at the University of Maryland. She also earned honorable mention at the School of Public Health’s Public Health Research Day with a poster on her research. Both events were part of Graduate Student Appreciation Week and Public Health Week respectively.
Saboori’s presentation and poster focused on her work in Southern Maryland. Here, she conducted semi-structured interviews to assess support for the utilization of community health workers as a protocol for clinics in Nanjemoy, Maryland, a rural town with high rates of chronic disease and health care accessibility issues. In Nanjemoy, for example, it can take 8 hours round trip to see a medical practitioner if you do not have your own vehicle to drive. Incorporating community health workers’ would allow quicker access to services and medical care to these community residents.
Prior to coming to the University of Maryland, Saboori took a gap year and spent 6 months in Iran. Saboori conducted semi-structured interviews to understand the role of community health workers in Iran. Saboori learned that the Iranian system is more standardized and structured in comparison to the United States. In the future, Saboori hopes to combine her work in Charles County and Iran as she approaches her dissertation. Saboori is also hoping to present at October’s APHA annual meeting and assist the Charles County Department of Health in moving forward with the utilization of community health workers for outreach. The county health department has applied for a grant and received funding to bring community health workers into the community. Next steps, Saboori states, are to assess if patients are willing to accept care from community health workers.