Lamya Hamad was introduced to the concept of public health during her studies in pharmaceutical sciences at Egypt’s Cairo University. However, it wasn’t until she began working at a community pharmacy that she began to consider her future in the field.
The pharmacy was located in a resource-poor area and Hamad, who was the senior pharmacist, saw many patients who came for medications that treated relatively rare—yet preventable—diseases. “In Egypt, basic awareness and concerted public health initiatives can decrease the incidence of many diseases significantly,” she explained.
Inspired to take a more active role, Hamad began working in health and science journalism to help create more awareness of health issues. “Our live discussions with physicians and health professionals were very popular among our audience which indicated the public’s interest in knowledge—it was just a matter of how to disseminate that knowledge to the people,” she said.
In 2011, Hamad came to the United States with her parents. While in Egypt, she had dreamed of advancing her education with an MPH degree and, once here, began further research into area programs of study. She selected UB for its comprehensive program, the School of Public Health and Health Professions’ accreditation and for active research opportunities.
A 2013 graduate of the MPH program, Hamad was thrilled with the experience. “The MPH program had a diverse student body and professors from a variety of backgrounds, which enriched our learning experience,” she said. “Having professors who were easy to talk to and easily accessible when you have any issues was a great comfort and made life in the program a lot smoother. Also, their experience and cohort of published papers gave us a chance to benefit from their knowledge in the field.”
She is equally enthusiastic about her future plans. As a dual citizen, she is eager to create change here, in Egypt and around the globe. She hopes to increase community awareness of public health issues and initiatives and participate in research that promotes resource-efficient strategies to implement health awareness.
Since graduating, Hamad has been working as a senior research support specialist for UB’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.