With a focus on global health, Sanah began her four years at Vanderbilt by becoming a member of the Sanitation Team of Project Pyramid, working with students at the Owen Graduate School of Management to improve the sanitation system of a village in Baripotol, Bangladesh. Through Project Pyramid, Sanah saw the power of students uniting and dedicating themselves to partner with underserved communities and improve the lives of friends and neighbors both abroad and in the United States. Sanah’s growing interest in global health led her to begin working with the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, researching towards a vaccine for human metapneumovirus and contributing towards the making of a new research and clinical facility in Karachi, Pakistan.
The summer after her freshman year, Sanah travelled to a village called Mangapwani in Zanzibar, Tanzania to teach English and Computer Skills at Creative Solutions Resource Systems, a non-profit organization that empowers the communities of Zanzibar through education, artwork, and various special projects, such as well-building and clinical volunteer work. In Zanzibar, Sanah witnessed and experienced the global injustice of lack of healthcare and lack of basic necessities for all. The next year, Sanah partnered with friends and fellow Ingram Scholars to found Vanderbilt Blood:Water Mission, which works to provide clean water and clean blood to parts of Sub-Saharan Africa by providing wells, biosand filters, clean latrines, and clinics with HIV testing. In addition, Sanah began working as an EMS First Responder at Siloam Family Health Center, working towards affordable healthcare for the underserved and refugee populations of Nashville, TN. She also took upon various roles within Global Health Council, Nashville CARES, Alternative Spring Break, Alpha Phi Omega Co-Ed Service Fraternity, and Habitat for Humanity, further empowering her fundamental belief in service. Her experiences at Vanderbilt led her to return to Zanzibar during the summer of 2010 to direct and organize a health fair for Mangapwani and its neighboring villages. In partnership with Creative Solutions Resource Systems and Zanzibar Outreach Project, the Mangapwani Health Fair was able to provide access to healthcare for approximately 500 patients. During her junior year at Vanderbilt, Sanah began volunteering with needle exchange programs in Los Angeles and working with vulnerable populations at risk for HIV in Texas and Tennessee. Her experiences in the U.S. and Zanzibar motivated her to complete her Ingram Summer Project in New York City, working on a policy project to provide funding for prevention and treatment programs catered to drug users at risk for HIV.
Sanah feels blessed to have worked with such a diverse group of populations and to have explored healthcare within South Asia, East Africa, and America. During her senior year, Sanah hopes to continue exploring the underlying issues associated with global health – specifically within education and economic development. Throughout this year, Sanah has planned to serve on campus as a peer mentor through various organizations and campus offices. In addition, she is working with her peers to make Vanderbilt Blood:Water Mission a sustainable organization on campus. Independently, she is working on an enrichment project, studying the associations between economic development and healthcare within international organizations in Pakistan. For her senior internship, Sanah is hoping to work with the Aga Khan Health Board for the Southeast, a resource of healthcare within the Southeastern region of the United States for her religious community made up of immigrants from South Asia and East Africa. Finally, she is continuing work with Creative Solutions in Zanzibar, Tanzania, planning various fundraising and arts projects for residents of Mangapwani. Most of all, Sanah is excited to continue exploring how she can turn her passions into action and use her skills to serve the community around her.