This summer, six public health scholars from Egypt visited Ohio University as part of the Fulbright Junior Faculty Development Program. After 10 weeks of cross-cultural and academic experience, the program was deemed a resounding success.
“We achieved a lot of the objectives of the program,” said Gillian Ice, director of the Global Health Initiative (GHI) at OHIO. “On the last day they were here, they all gave professional, scientific presentations and a lot of our mentors have talked about working with the scholars when they left to continue those projects, which was a target goal we had for the program.”
GHI partnered with the College of Health Sciences and Professions, the Office of Global Affairs, the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Ohio Program for Intensive English to host Shaimaa Abdelrehim Khalaf, Noha Osama Ahmed Adel, Rasha Mohammed Farghaly, Mariam Hassan Abdelmoneam, Hoda Ibrahim Ibrahim and Tayser Bauomei Fahmei. The program was made possible by a grant from the Institute for International Education and 95 volunteers from OHIO and the community.
Following the completion of the program, Ice learned that Fahmei was awarded the USAID grant which will allow her to return to Athens for four months and continue her work.
“I was just thrilled for her because she jumped into everything we did and was engaged in every aspect of the program from research to the cultural experiences,” said Ice. “She was determined to get the most out of the experience.”
Fahmei represents the Modern University for Technology and Information and also Alexandria University in Egypt. She said many of the workshops completed in the program were similar to Alexandria University courses and that she learned more about active participation while at OHIO.
“I especially learned a lot about online courses for gerontology and geriatric research that would be useful for older adults in Egypt,” she said.
Fahmei commented that the Athens community was welcoming and she enjoyed “all the experiences I obtained in the U.S.”
Ice said a great indicator of the program’s success is the fact that three of the research projects completed by the scholars are nearly ready for manuscript and that connections were made by the scholars both academically with the college and culturally with host families.
While at OHIO, the scholars learned techniques for conducting research in the U.S., curriculum and student engagement, course design and data analysis. Outside of the classroom, the scholars were treated to cultural events such as the Athens County Fair and the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival. They also visited Columbus, Ohio and Washington, D.C.
Ice said the program’s itinerary stood out to decision-makers for the Fulbright Scholarship program because public health was addressed from the perspective of rural Appalachia as well as from the state level and a federal point of view. Scholars were introduced to the opioid crisis and were able to see techniques being employed to combat the epidemic from each level of government. According to Ice, the scholars are used to dealing with Egypt’s health issues concerning tobacco but opioid addiction is not prevalent in the country.
Ice is hoping the program will return to OHIO for a second year.
The staff all worked so hard to put this on and we couldn’t have done it without everyone,” she said. “Everyone stepped up and delivered a quality experience.”