PhD Student, Health Policy and Management
Fesahazion says she’s never accepted unfairness as an unchangeable reality. A first-generation daughter of Eritrean refugees who grew up along the U.S–Mexican border, she’s seen her (un)fair share, especially the health inequities that exist because of factors beyond our control. Growing up, she saw many health initiatives for the Hispanic and African-American communities, for whom “the unfairness of life has taken a heavier toll.” When she began to study public health at the University of Arizona, she analyzed how immigration policies affected the health of migrant farm workers. When she took a summer research position at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she looked at how our socioeconomic status determines whether we live or we die.
Fesahazion is outraged, and she’s come to the Bloomberg School to learn how to do something about it—particularly how to construct health policies to get rid of health disparities among minority populations. “I want to be part of the generation of public health professionals that eliminates these elements of unfairness,” she says. “I plan to develop research that results in optimum health and decreases the health gap hurting disadvantaged communities.”
A tall order? You bet. But luckily, Fesahazion couples her outrage with a healthy dose of optimism. In fact, she says that what has surprised her most so far is how quickly public health measures can work, particularly when it comes to improving people’s health through simple interventions or health education. “I like to plan and prevent bad things from happening,” she says. “This is something I can dedicate my career to.”