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The Public Health Path

Bloomberg School student gains a bigger perspective of the obesity epidemic.


Atif AdamIf Atif Adam’s upbringing in Abu Dhabi fueled his desire to become a physician, his work as a physician ultimately propelled him into public health.

“To my dad, no professional was nobler than that of a health professional,” says Adam, a PhD student in International Health and fellow with the Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity.

Adam trained in India and practiced as an internal medicine physician both there and in the United Kingdom before heading back to the United Arab Emirates. Some of those experiences caused him to question his career path. “A deeper understanding of health systems,” he says, “made me realize that the success of any country’s health program highly depends on its local realities and national policies.”

He decided to pursue a career in public health with an emphasis on the relationships between systems in nature, society and science as they apply to a particular issue. The Bloomberg School, he determined, was the best place to study systems science.

As a research assistant in the Childhood Obesity Center, Adam hopes to use his geographic information systems and computer modeling experience to investigate the obesity epidemic, including its progression toward chronic disease.

“Taking a systems science approach has significant potential to unravel the complexities of a given health system so that we can use our understanding to develop interventions that improve outcomes and reduce disparities,” Adam says.—Lauren Manfuso

Learn more about International Health

Leran more about the Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity