George Mason University
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George Mason University

Meet Asra Ahmad, MPH Student and Dr. Julie Owen Active Citizen Award Recipient

May 27, 2020

Asra Ahmad shares insight on Mason’s Accelerated MPH program and her accomplishments on and off campus.

By Sarah Mae Dizon

Asra Ahmad is a Master of Public Health (MPH) student with a concentration in Health Communication. This year Mason’s Social Action and Integrative Learning (SAIL) recognized Ahmad with the Dr. Julie Owen Active Citizen Award for her demonstrated leadership as a graduate student.

Asra Ahmad in graduation cap and gown

"I chose to do my MPH at Mason because I knew the faculty, loved the school, and had the opportunity to work on public health programming at Mason while pursing my degree,” says Ahmad.

“I consider myself a true Mason Patriot,” says Ahmad, who began the MPH program in 2017 after completing her Bachelor’s in Community Health with a concentration in Global Health at Mason. “I loved my time at Mason and could not imagine leaving for another [graduate] school. I chose to do my MPH at Mason because I knew the faculty, loved the school, and had the opportunity to work on public health programming at Mason while pursing my degree.”

As an accelerated student, Ahmad had the opportunity to graduate earlier, but she decided to take six credits each semester. She wanted to gain professional and leadership experience before leaving the program. Her leadership in public health goes beyond the campus too. She has interned for international organizations such as Every Child Fed and Global Fund for Children, combating child malnutrition and advocating for the rights of children across the globe. She has also contributed to substance use and trauma policy on the federal level, providing administrative support for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“The program has prepared me to work in research, programming, and public health communication. The classes and professors have truly pushed me to develop my research, writing, and professional skills,” Ahmad notes about the MPH program. “I do not believe I would have had this same experience if I did not remain at Mason.”

During her time in the program, she has had opportunities to conduct research alongside CHHS faculty. In 2019, she presented research at the 2019 CHHS Celebration of Scholarship and the Virginia Public Health association on Mason students’ perceptions toward e-cigarette and tobacco use on campus.

“I want to use my voice, passion, and knowledge to help others live healthier lives,” explains Ahmad. “I believe that now, more than ever, we need passionate and bright public health professionals to help us through the current crisis. We have trained to work in the normal day-to-day public health jobs but are eager to step in and help others when called into action.”

Asra Ahmad

Ahmad has planned public health programming as a Graduate Assistant for Health and Wellness Education at Mason’s Student Support and Advocacy Center (SSAC). She is also the president of the student organization Graduate Students for Public Health, has contributed to HIV advocacy on Capitol Hill and has served as a mentor for SSAC’s Peer Health Educators.

“I want to use my voice, passion, and knowledge to help others live healthier lives,” explains Ahmad. “I believe that now, more than ever, we need passionate and bright public health professionals to help us through the current crisis. We have trained to work in the normal day-to-day public health jobs but are eager to step in and help others when called into action.”

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