News at Mason
Mason graduate: Dedicating her life to public health
May 9, 2019 / by Mary Lee Clark
Nada Adibah saw firsthand how difficult the health care system can be, now she is dedicating her career to researching and influencing policies that will create healthier communities.
Adibah, who is graduating with a Master of Public Health degree with a focus in health policy from George Mason University, worked in a small clinic after completing her undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech.
She worked with patients’ insurance and filing claims and said she learned a lot about problems in the system and what could be improved. Patients often didn’t realize what their benefits were, she said, and sometimes insurance claims led to more serious problems—like preventing a patient’s access to health care.
"My greatest motivation was to do right by the patient but also make them aware of what they're entitled to,” said Adibah. “From the provider side of things, it can be really frustrating because we always wanted to provide care to whoever came into our clinic, and sometimes that wasn't an option because of insurance. That was the barrier to providing great care."
She decided to come to Mason to study health policy. The school’s location right next to the nation’s capital, the central hub of policy making in the United States, was a major motivator in her decision. The program’s affordability and national reputation compared to other university programs was an added bonus, she said.
Adibah served as the secretary for the student organization Graduate Students for Public Health, has worked as a policy research intern at Save The Children and is the recipient of the Overall Excellence Award for graduate students in the MPH program.
During her time at Mason, Adibah also worked as a graduate research assistant in the Department of Global and Community Health and was part of a multidisciplinary team that studied exposure to air pollution among women commuters.
Jenna Krall, an assistant professor in the Department of Global and Community Health, lead the data collection for the study. She said that the team needed a study coordinator who was able to work across multiple departments, mentor other students and work well with participants—and Adibah excelled in all those spaces.
“She is a stellar representative of George Mason University in classes, throughout our department and within the wider community,” said Krall.
The team is now analyzing the study participants’ data. Adibah said she hopes this research will inspire policy that will improve women’s health.
"If we do find there is a health effect on women, that could have an implication on family leave policies, communicating times and work from home days—things that could help women modify their exposure to traffic pollution," said Adibah.