Nadeem Kasmani, MD, MMSc
MMSc-GHD Class of 2019
We are pleased to announce that MMSc-GHD alum Nadeem Kasmani has joined the program. He will be working as a Teaching Assistant to help students with their qualitative and quantitative courses this fall.
Nadeem’s thesis project was centered on Bhutanese refugees in Massachusetts because their suicide rate is almost double that of the American average. Working with the local Bhutanese NGO, ARISE, Nadeem spent months in a community designed a mixed-methods study. His results showed that thwarted belonging, lack of necessary communication skills, and a high burden of disease were some of the main factors for the high rates of suicide in the community. As a part of the project, he and his team created a short film to promote mental health awareness.
We reached out to Nadeem for his perspective on being a student and instructor for the MMSc-GHD program.
Why was getting a master’s degree important to you and your career?
Before joining the master’s program, I was a practicing physician, and I loved it, but something always seemed missing. I realized that giving one’s energy and efforts to benefit someone else was always a rewarding experience. Somewhere deep down, I was frustrated with the decline treatment because a patient lacked funds or was undocumented. I wanted to do more for the ‘underrepresented’ (blue-collar workers, refugees, low-income workers).
In 2016, I attended a 27-day Global Health Delivery Intensive (GHDI) at HSPH and found my calling. GHDI gave me hope and ignited a spark in me. My desire to equip myself to do more for the ‘underrepresented’ would materialize into active work with the MMSc-GHD. I have been fortunate to get the opportunity to work on projects in Maternal and Child Health in Tanzania, pediatric cancers in Iraq, eldercare in China, and also lead a project on mental health awareness and suicide prevention among refugees resettled in the US. The master’s course work and the various projects have helped carve my path ahead in teaching research methods and epidemiology.
Why did you choose the MMSc-GHD program?
Global health is not just an approach; it is a language of sorts. A language that is unfortunately not spoken by many. I was pleasantly surprised by the involvement and enthusiasm of professors and activists like Drs. Paul Farmer and Joia Mukherjee. I began to study their work in Haiti, Peru, and Rwanda and could not help but feel a deep sense of attachment to the cause. While I am no Paul Farmer or Joia Mukherjee, my desire to turn my wordless scream against the ill-treatment of the ‘underrepresented’ to a voice of change required that I seek training and expertise needed to achieve results. The MMSc-GHD program was perfect. Learning from the experiences of the very people that inspired me was the best way to Grow. Fortunately, I was given that opportunity.
What about the MMSc-GHD program surprised you the most?
The style we are taught to approach global health issues is a language consistent with everyone in the program. We are taught a global perspective with an in-depth look into the historical context of the problems being addressed. The words ‘not sustainable’ are never used when looking at solutions; instead, every and all approaches to potential solutions are welcomed and discussed. The MMSc-GHD is not a program that focuses on just the US or Europe, or Africa. Because of its faculty’s worldwide work and diverse student population, students can work on theses with global relevance.
How would you say the program has impacted your everyday work?
I am now asking the right questions, designing suitable approaches, and acknowledging that Global Health projects and activism are all about teamwork. I currently teach research methods in the Global Health Delivery program, focusing on Qualitative and Quantitative methods. I have developed my skills with specialized biostatistics software like STATA, which I now teach and use daily. I have also been working closely with my research team in taking the master’s thesis into phase II: Creating empowerment and self-reliance among Bhutanese refugees resettled in the United States by developing and testing an English Language Learning Tool for Refugees with limited or no literacy (ELLT-LL).