Sadia Akther Sony
And - Public Health Researcher
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am a Public Health Professional with a Medical Background. I have done Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and Master of Public Health Majoring in Reproductive and Child Health. Moreover, I just completem my MSc Global Health (Specialition in Globaliztion and Equity). Currently I am working at Nutrition Internaional.
I am an experienced Research Program Manager with a demonstrated history of working in Public Health Research in a developing country like Bangladesh. I worked in the projects conducted in collaboration with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Govt of Bangladesh and International organizations such as Johns Hopkins University, Unicef, Save the Children, Gavi and GAC. Moreover, I am Skilled in Research Proposal Writing, Data Collection Tool Development, Statistical Data Analysis, Health Promotion, Qualitative & Quantitative Research Methodologies, and Management. I am a strong Public Health professional with strong program and project management and research skills with a demonstrated history of working in different research and implementation programs and projects.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?
When I was doing clinical practice I noticed that, the same pattern of illness or diseases in my patients and also a lot of these could be prevented just with awareness. I gradually got interested more into prevention and also community based interventions. This made me decide to switch into Public Health and day by day I have become more enthusiastic in Public Health and research. As I am from a developing country, I was aware of the lack of resources and thus I could work in a number of projects and contribute to the community rather treating only the patients. One of my most important work was working in the Piloting of HPV vaccine in Bangladesh, where we did a Process Documentation of the launching program of HPV vaccine as a piloting program in Bangladesh to design the vaccination program throughout Bangladesh.
HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?
The first and most important barrier was to leave clinical practice and switching completely into Public Health. As in my country Public Health is not recognized as important as clinical practice, As a doctor, the most important thing is to treat patients, this is the opinion both in my family and surrounding society. This was a battle for me to make people understand that just because I am a woman, I do not have to choose profession which is considered better for women, I can work as a public health scientist and be innovative and motivation for others.However, I did my MPH and secured as job as a researcher as soon as I completed the degree. I worked very hard to prove the important of Public Health and Research. As a result I was awared with grants and scholarships as a researcher both home and abroad.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"
During my MSc at McMaster University, I was introduced to Globalization and Equity and Gender Equity. I felt that all these discrimination based on Gender, I have lived all my life! So I choose the research topic for my scholarly paper on 'Nutrition and role of women's empowerment in Bangladesh'. I have been introduced to the vast area of Gender Inequality in women's heath and the scope of work to eradicate the discrimination in health just because of being a women. I really wish I would have known this a little earlier so that I could work more into this area.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?
I would love to work towards women's empowerment and I believe that only more knowledge and education can achieve women's empowerment. More women should come into the professions which are considered to be difficult for women. To achieve equal rights women have represent equally in every sphere.
BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?
We need to change the way the world thinks of women. We have the ability to change it and we can bring the change only by working in the STEM fields.
“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already." J. K. Rowling
I believe that the most important thing to empower women is to change their mindset to value themselves and have the sense of self worth.