SPH student wins Gunnin Scholarship


Published: August 14, 2015

Udoka_ObinwaUNT Health Science Center student Udoka Obinwa has been awarded the Dr. Gerry C. Gunnin Public Health Memorial Scholarship from Texas Health Resources.

Obinwa is a Master of Public Health (MPH) student in the UNTHSC School of Public Health’s Biostatistics and Epidemiology Department.

Prior to enrolling with UNTHSC, Obinwa studied parasitology, entomology and medical laboratory science, gaining skills in infectious disease diagnosis and prevention.

“I grew up in Nigeria, a country that still suffers greatly from infectious diseases like malaria, typhoid fever, schistosomiasis, HIV/AIDS and so on,” he said. “I chose to study parasitology and entomology at the university level to gain knowledge for combating these diseases. After graduation, I volunteered at the Regional Reference laboratory of Global Health AIDS Initiative Nigeria (GhAIN) in Wukari, Taraba State, where I helped evaluate a large number of registered HIV patients due for free Antiretroviral Therapy. I later participated in a malaria indicator survey conducted by the Carter Center in Plateau State, Nigeria, where I witnessed a high burden of malaria and anemia among children in some rural areas. These experiences spurred me to seek further training in public health.”

Obinwa calls himself “passionate about improving the health of individuals, especially vulnerable groups like children.”

He has been involved in community health services and events with the Tarrant County Public Health Department, Baylor Scott and White Medical Center, UNTHSC Safe Transition and the Student Outbreak Response Team.

He currently works with Community-wide Children’s Health Assessment Survey data as an intern at the Community Health Research Department of Cook Children’s Health Care System.

“I hope to help alleviate some of the environmental-related health challenges kids suffer through my research efforts as an epidemiologist with sound biostatistics skills,” he said.

Obinwa says he hopes to someday start an organization where he can partner with governmental health agencies to organize intervention programs targeted at malaria and other parasitic diseases in Nigeria and other developing countries.

“This scholarship is indeed an encouragement and a great boost to my dreams,” he said.