2nd Year Fellow Interview: Jameela Ali

Jameela Ali, MPH

Population Health Service Fellow, 2014-2016

Madison, WI

What projects are you currently working on?
At WiCPHET, I'm creating a series of online modules addressing cultural awareness for public health professionals. At the Division of Public Health's Minority Health Program, I'm creating a cultural awareness toolkit for public health professionals that will highlight specific populations and their cultural beliefs as it relates to health and treatment

Why did you decide to pursue a career in public health?
I was inspired to help people live healthier and have a better quality of life by influencing and changing things on a systems level.

What made you decide to join the fellowship program as opposed to other career or educational options?
After grad school, most of my experiences were in hospital administration or with nonprofits whose missions were somewhat related to public health but not exclusively. I had come across the fellowship opportunity three years in a row and finally the third year, I decided to apply because it was important for me to gain more direct public health experience (such as local or state government) with the flexibility to choose projects and create my own path for two years. That is not always the case with a regular job, and that's what makes this fellowship so unique. 

What has been your favorite part of the fellowship so far?
I've really enjoyed the monthly fellowship meetings. It's a great opportunity to connect with the fellows as well as other professionals in the field. I always walk away from the monthly meeting have learned something new and/or feeling inspired. 

What is one of the most important things you have learned over the course of your fellowship so far?
Patience is always necessary but especially so when trying to effect change on a system level. Perseverance is another important one. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Long road trip out west. International travel is great but there is something to be said for exploring our own country and its beautiful natural parks.