Ayah Taha, Doctor of Pharmacy / MPH student
Explores vaccination barriers
“I nominated Ayah because of the substantial impact that she has had on creating an awareness related to inequities in access to vaccines and barriers to care, as well as perceptions of vaccine hesitance in local communities.” – Jeanine Abrons, Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Science
• Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Dr. Jeanine Abrons and Dr. Emily Wentzell
• What is your degree program and expected graduation date? I am currently pursuing the Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Public Health degree. I will graduate May 2023.
• Please describe your research: Our research focuses on identifying key barriers/challenges experienced by community leaders in their efforts to provide enhanced access of COVID-19 vaccinations to underserved communities via University of Iowa Mobile Clinic.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? Underserved communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Identifying challenges faced by community leaders during previous vaccine clinics will help improve future COVID-19 vaccine clinics (boosters, vaccines for children) and overall improve the health outcomes among underserved communities.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I had the opportunity of participating in this research project August 2021. My first research experience was in 2019 during my first year of pharmacy school.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Through research, I am able to learn a variety of skills and strengthen existing ones. Additionally, I have been able to learn from and work alongside amazing leaders at the University of Iowa.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation, I hope to use my experiences in pharmacy, public health, and research to create awareness and improve health outcomes among vulnerable populations both locally and internationally.
• Does your research have connections to or implications for COVID-19? Our research is heavily connected to COVID-19. Since March 2021, Mobile Clinic has been able to administer over 1000 vaccinations to underserved populations around Iowa City. Identifying barriers will help to improve Mobile Clinics process and provide better vaccine access to underserved communities.
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