Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI
In this week’s #WeAreEmoryEPI spotlight, we are introducing Muhammad Zia ul Haq, who goes by Zia, a second-year Master’s student. A physician trained in Pakistan, his main interests are in chronic diseases and their biological etiology. We talked to him about his favorite parts of Rollins, his APE, and more!
Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school.
I completed my MBBS (MD) from Nishtar Medical College Pakistan which is affiliated with the largest public hospital in the country welcoming a diverse patient population.
What are your primary research interests?
My passion lies in cancer research and Diabetes. In particular, understanding the genetic and molecular etiology of these diseases.
Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?
At the Morningside Center for Innovative and Affordable Medicine, our mission is to develop practice-changing treatments that are effective, affordable and non-toxic by adopting financial orphans (i.e. pursuing clinical development of scientifically promising ideas that are lying fallow due to lack of financial incentive). I am specifically helping build an extensive clinical trials database of literature related to alternative treatments for various cancers.
What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?
Collaborative potential and multidisciplinary faculty with rich research interests is my favorite part. I have collaborated with talented faculty at other departments at Rollins as well as the School of Medicine.
What advice do you have for 1st year MPH Students?
Do not hesitate to reach out to everyone you can find who is working in the area you see yourself in the future, especially beyond academic and cultural barriers. People at Rollins come from diverse backgrounds and I found value in every interaction I had. The same goes for reaching out to Professors and research coordinators both in and out of Rollins. As much as we are interested in gaining experience, they are looking for exact qualities we possess at Rollins students.
As first-year students start to look for their APE positions, do you have any tips for finding a practicum?
I would recommend looking with curiosity and flexibility. It is a learning experience rather than a professional one. Oftentimes exposure to an environment that challenges our grasp on concepts and skills even beyond our research interests fosters qualities that can take us way forward afterward. And quite possibly, we may grow passion in that particular discipline as we come to know new cool avenues.
When applying, what were you looking for in a public health school, and what factors drove you towards Rollins?
I chose Rollins because of its talented faculty which is involved in cutting-edge research with diverse interests and the wonderful Rollins family which is extremely friendly and cooperative. I love the passion, interest and personal experiences all instructors bring to the class as they stimulate analytical thinking.
Do you have any other tips for prospective public health students?
Public health has the potential of influencing the world way more than any field alone including medicine. So do not enter it half-heartedly. Bring your best passions, work, and heart while entering this field and be open to challenging the societal beliefs and biases every day as you traverse this revolutionary experience that prepares you to be the changing world needs today!
How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?
I have improved my schedule (both in terms of planning and following it). I set time for breaks every day after work as well as on the weekends when I learn new skills like cooking or go for nature runs. I take twice more effort to reach out to colleagues and group mates online to compensate for a lack of in-person interaction. And most importantly, try to practice kindness towards myself as well as team members for falling short.
What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?
1. The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life by Robin Sharma (Highly Recommended) through an enchanting-and often amusing-story about two struggling strangers who meet an eccentric tycoon who becomes their secret mentor, this book inspires the value of prioritizing, perseverance, and the importance of mental and physical health.
2. The Forty Rules of Love: Novel by Elif Shafak. This book emphasizes the value of kindness, love, compassion, and acceptance towards people and situations that are different than our usual experiences.
What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?
1. I once caught a fish with bare hands at Chattahoochee River
2. I lost car keys in the Atlantic Ocean and was stranded on Tybee Island with my friend for 3 days.
3. I make great Okra and Yakhni Pulao (chicken rice)
Thanks again to Zia for his time, check back next week for another #WeAreEmoryEPI feature!