William Paterson University senior Helen Yousaf—a medicinal biochemistry major, public health minor, and member of the Honors College on campus—clinched a scholarship from the National Collegiate Honors Council and was selected to present her senior thesis research at the Council’s annual conference in Chicago.
Yousaf, who is researching how patient-physician language concordance and cultural competency can improve global public health outcomes, earned the Council’s John J. Hanigan Scholarship, which recognizes honors students committed to serving their communities. Aside from her community-focused research, Yousaf co-facilitates orientation classes for first-year and transfer honors students at WP as an Honors Peer Leader and serves as an assistant at the University’s Counseling, Health and Wellness Center.
Yousaf, who lives in Wayne, New Jersey, has Persian family roots and was born and raised in Germany. “I’m very cosmopolitan,” she says with a laugh, in explaining her interest in the intersection of language, culture, and healthcare.
“I really feel like this research is relevant,” she continues, citing the international scale of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent humanitarian aid crises that have people displaced from their native lands. “Healthcare needs to be equipped to treat a really diverse population.”
“Refugees and immigrants shouldn’t have to deal with additional stress in a healthcare setting,” she adds. “We just need to be more well-rounded.”
Following her graduation from William Paterson, Yousaf aspires to fuel her passion in the social aspects of health by working in humanitarian aid.
The National Collegiate Honors Council is an educational organization designed to support and promote undergraduate honors education. The Council provides its members with resources, training opportunities and collaborative events to build and sustain honors programs and their curriculum.
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