Photo: PHTT 2015
2016 marks the Public Health Think Tank’s third year since its inception. As the date comes close for this year’s conference, 2015 participant Meera Al Zaabi reflects on her experience at PHTT 2015, and about the impact that participating in PHTT had in her professional and personal life.
Who are you, Meera?
My name is Meera Saeed Al Bakr Al Zaabi. I am a 5th year medical student at UAE University. While studying at the university I enjoy helping junior students, guiding them when they are lost. I also like to volunteer to represent my class and help them with any problems we may face. In addition, I am interested in learning about public health, so I have enjoyed my time at PHTT. Also, one of my hobbies is creative writing.
What was the public health issue of the conference where you participated, and how did your team work to tackle this public health issue?
Our public health issue was to develop a new and innovative intervention that targets the high incidence of obesity in the UAE, specifically within adolescents. As a team, we had to work together to develop an idea that was both useful and creative. Since we all came from different universities, and had different majors, we had our challenges and our different point of views, but we used those differences to our advantage. It was a team effort and it was fun. And it was all worth it in the end, since our group won third place.
What attitudes, skills and knowledge did you learn at PHTT 2015?
I never thought I would be able to develop a plan, work on it, and present it in just two days. But after my time in PHTT I realized I could. I also learnt how to work with a team in a short period of time. I also learnt how to give a presentation effectively in just a few minutes. It was an amazing experience last year, and I have learnt a lot and gained many skills.
Did you find those attitudes, skills and knowledge useful in your professional or personal life?
I found the skills that I have gained from PHTT in my medical field very useful; especially, for our health promotion projects. The presentation skills I have gained were also very beneficial and fun to apply. Moreover, I now enjoy and appreciate teamwork since I have noticed that it takes a team effort to develop brilliant ideas.
Would you like to address a message to the 2016 participants?
Dear 2016 participants, if you like public health and group work, I guarantee you will enjoy your time at PHTT. It is an amazing experience: you will learn how to work with a team, how to develop a plan, how to face challenges, and then how to present it and convince the judges that you may have the solution to this public health problem. Work hard and remember you are here to help solve a very important issue, so try your best and have fun while doing it.
Interview by Alvaro Yañez.