Published: July 13, 2016
Growing up in a family where she would become the first to graduate high school, Sara Ann Aldridge says she has always been interested in “finding out how people have come to be where they are in life.”
A UNTHSC School of Public Health MPH student (Behavioral and Community Health and Global Health) graduating this year, she has personally experienced the challenges of growing up with limited health resources and has spent time learning in other countries like Guatemala and Indonesia, to also see the larger global health perspectives across cultures.
This understanding of how daunting and complicated it can be to navigate health systems when seeking preventive and ongoing care has driven her toward an interest in helping to solve global health concerns in the future.
“A big part of my inspiration comes from my mother, who encouraged me and taught me to value determination, compassion and persistence,” Aldridge said.
Now, she’s taking her inspiration to the next level, as part of the inaugural class for the newly developed Siemens Foundation-PATH Ingenuity Fellows program, just announced this summer.
Aldridge is one of six students selected nationally to participate.
With funding through the Siemens Foundation based on a mission of inspiring innovation, research and continuous learning, Aldridge will be working at PATH, a Seattle-based, international nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and improving health, especially among women and children.
The fellowship provides hands-on research experience and instruction on addressing global health issues in settings where barriers to accessible health care exist.
Students will also be mentored by Siemens Healthineers employees, giving them access to market-leading technologies in areas like chemistry, hematology, molecular biology, immunoassay testing and informatics.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to work with people who are making a difference in global health, to help me gain more in-depth knowledge and research experience that I can apply in the future,” Aldridge said.
With plans to pursue a DrPH degree in Maternal and Child Health Policy next fall, she hopes one day to work on women’s health issues for a global organization like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Water.org or the World Health Organization.