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Arnold School of Public Health


Bangladeshi physician and HSPM grad Anas Khurshid Nabil will begin his Ph.D. in Health Services Research at Texas A&M University to improve global health for the masses

August 15, 2017 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu 

“Public Health is the science that protects and improves the health of individuals, families, communities and populations, locally as well as globally,” says Anas Nabil, an August graduate of the Arnold School’s master of public health (MPH) in health services policy and management (HSPM).

Originally from Bangladesh, Nabil developed a global perspective while working as a research physician for Johns Hopkins University-Bangladesh, an international non-government organization overseen by the institution’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. Working on a bio-banking project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Nabil studied predictors of maternal and fetal outcomes, such as pre-term birth, still birth, low birth weight, and preeclampsia.

Public Health is the science that protects and improves the health of individuals, families, communities and populations, locally as well as globally.

-Anas Nabil, MPH in HSPM Graduate

“The health problems of underdeveloped countries and those of the developed countries are not alike,” states Nabil. “While cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, cancer, air pollution and radiation hazards are at the top of the list of health problems in industrialized countries, the problems of provision of safe drinking water and proper disposal of human excreta, arsenic poisoning, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, malnutrition, high incidence of helminthic infestation and other communicable diseases still are threats to the public health in developing regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.”

He lists high birth rates, along with subsequent population explosion, illiteracy, superstition, severe poverty and lack of basic health knowledge as factors that exacerbate these health issues in these countries while simultaneously slowing economic development. “I personally felt that it should be my responsibility as a medical professional to come forward through compassionate and dedicated service to promote the health of the people of developing nations and particularly those who are in a vulnerable state,” Nabil says of his transition from a clinical focus to a broader public health perspective.

The health problems of underdeveloped countries and those of the developed countries are not alike.

-Anas Nabil, MPH in HSPM Graduate

Nabil chose UofSC for his master’s degree due to its reputation as a top American university with one of the best schools of public health in the country. “It has a big international students’ community from all over the world,” he adds. “Therefore, it has a very diverse, multicultural, warm, friendly and welcoming campus, and Columbia is a very progressive, safe and accepting place to live and work in.”                  

HSPM was a natural fit for Nabil’s aspirations because it incorporates interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches of the social, political and economic forces that affect the organization, structure, finances, administration and policy of the health care industry. The program supports Nabil’s wide-ranging interests, including policy research, health system management, health equity, patient outcomes, health care quality and patient safety, and others. He also valued the department’s ample opportunities for building management skills, professional growth, and gaining leadership experience while networking with collaborators from a variety of backgrounds.

For Nabil, these opportunities provided a breadth and depth of experience. Working with HSPM professor Sudha Xirasagar on a National Institutes of Health-funded Colo Rectal Cancer Research study, Nabil collected data on colonoscopies as a graduate research assistant. “I would like to sincerely and gratefully thank Dr. Xirasagar for providing her guidance, advice, expertise and encouragement during the MPH program,” Nabil says. “Her unwavering enthusiasm for health services research kept me constantly engaged with my work, and her insight, feedback and positivity were influential and essential throughout my time in the program.”   

He also conducted research for HSPM professor and chair Mahmud Khan’s Adult Immunization Research Study, a project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and served as a graduate teaching assistant for a undergraduate-level health economics course. “I wish to thank all HSPM faculty members, especially Drs. Mahmud Khan, Sudha Xirasagar, Ronnie Horner, Kelli Kenison and Ibrahim Demir, who helped me on a lot of different occasions throughout my graduate studies.”

(USC) has a very diverse, multicultural, warm, friendly and welcoming campus, and Columbia is a very progressive, safe and accepting place to live and work in.

-Anas Nabil, MPH in HSPM Graduate

Off campus, Nabil completed the residency requirement for his program in the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Division of Tobacco Control and Prevention. After summarizing existing literature and performing data analysis, Nabil developed recommendations for the division, resulting in a comprehensive report detailing mortality attributable to smoking in South Carolina. Abdoulaye Diedhiou, surveillance coordinator for the Division of Tobacco Control and Prevention and a HSPM Ph.D. alumnus, served as Nabil’s on-site supervisor while Xirasagar advised on the academic side.

After his August graduation, Nabil will begin a Ph.D. program in health services research at Texas A & M University. He then plans to pursue postdoctoral research training in health policy and management. Ultimately, Nabil will return to Bangladesh to teach and conduct research in an academic setting or join an international public health organization. 

“I believe there is no shortcut to the success,” says Nabil. “A career in public health research and academics requires a high level of discipline, intelligence, motivation, unwavering dedication and a lot of sacrifice. I would like to thank Arnold School of Public Health and the University of South Carolina for giving me the opportunity to have an outstanding education. These are lifelong learning experiences and will be extremely helpful in my professional public health career.”