Ford School student presents research at U-M event for WHO head

April 21, 2023

The Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, came to the U-M campus to receive the Thomas Francis Jr. Medal in Global Public Health, awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of global public health. It is one of the highest recognitions granted by the university.

As a part of his visit, Dr. Tedros met with students, faculty, staff, and scholars who are actively advancing global health research and educational programs across campus and around the world. One of the 40 students chosen to present research at a poster session to showcase global health work was Huda Bashir (MPP/MPH ‘23). 

Her research looks at manifestations of structural racism such as racial residential segregation (RRS) in relation to adolescent birth rates (ABR) in Brazil. Having looked at data in 152 Brazilian cities, she concluded that RRS is significantly associated with ABR independent of other city-level characteristics. “These findings have implications for future policies and programs designed to reduce racial inequities in ABR in Brazilian cities,” she wrote.

She said it was touching to see Dr. Tedros acknowledged by the University.

“As a fellow East African and a student of public policy and epidemiology, I deeply respect Dr. Tedros and his work leading an organization that uses public policy to advance public health. While I only spoke briefly with Dr. Tedros, the encounter was impactful. He is humble yet has such an inspiring presence. It was a privilege to be able to share that space with him and others in the UM community dedicated to advancing global health equity. While health inequities remain a serious challenge around the world, it gives me hope for the future that so many people are working to eliminate them,” she said.

The medal was founded in 2005 on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Francis’ historic announcement of the success of the polio vaccine trials and it is given periodically to a recipient whose contributions have advanced global public health and helped to establish a healthier future for society.

Dr. Tedros, the first African and first non-physician director-general of WHO, led the global public health organization through the COVID-19 pandemic.