An Eye Toward Public Health
WCMC-Q Student To Provide Eye Care to People in Ghana
A student at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar is heading to Africa to provide eye care to communities without access to medical care.
Marwa Saleh, a third-year medical student from Lebanon, has been selected to be a Global Impact Fellow with Unite For Sight, a global health delivery organization that empowers communities worldwide to improve eye health and eliminate preventable blindness.
Saleh, taking leave of absence from medical school for the opportunity, will travel to Ghana Oct. 1 and will work with the Unite for Sight team supporting an eye clinic in a community without previous access to eye care.
"I've always been interested in global health work," she said, "and this is a good introduction to the basics."
On a daily basis, she will assist local ophthalmic nurses and optometrists in all aspects of the eye care programs, including taking patient history, testing visual acuity, distributing medication and eyeglasses prescribed by the local eye nurses and optometrists, providing eye health education in the villages and schools, and helping with data collection and analysis.
Unite for Sight Global Impact Fellows learn first-hand about best practices in public health, international development, cultural competency and cross-cultural communication. The goal is to develop fellows' passions and perspectives while enhancing their potential in a variety of career fields, including medicine, public health, social entrepreneurship, social sciences and international development.
"I don't have a specific interest in ophthalmology, but millions of people have been helped by Unite For Sight," Saleh said. "If we had to choose one of our five senses to keep, I think it would be vision, so I recognize its importance."
Saleh is also fundraising for Unite For Sight; all of the proceeds will provide sight-restoring surgeries for patients living in extreme poverty.
"Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar is very pleased that Marwa has been selected for the Global Fellowship Unite For Sight program," said Dr. Ravinder Mamtani, associate dean for global and public health at Weill Cornell in Qatar and professor of public health. "Marwa is a compassionate, caring and a motivated student who will benefit greatly by participating with local health practitioners in this major global health initiative in Ghana. We are very proud of Marwa, and wish her all the best in all her future endeavors."