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Prof. Salima Alibhai Named a Changemaker by University of Washington School of Public Health

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To celebrate the University of Washington School of Public Health’s 50 years of impact, the school is recognizing 50 alumni from around the world who have a demonstrated record of distinguished service and achievement across public health disciplines and settings. These 50 Changemakers of Public Health are leaders, trailblazers, educators, innovators, influencers and health equity heroes representing just a slice of the school’s community of more than 10,000 alumni worldwide who are addressing some of the most pressing population health issues of our time.

Pakistan has a villainous rate of oral cancer. Salima Alibhai, RDH, M.P.H., is heading an effort to educate some of the country’s first dental hygienists who can potentially put a stop to it. As Director of the Preventive Dentistry program at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Prof. Alibhai is helping to create jobs, educate a new workforce and build the country’s capacity to prevent and treat oral cancer and other oral diseases. To do this, she’s had to establish an entirely new scope of study and clinical practice. 

Prof. Alibhai also teaches courses in dental hygiene and theory—all of which had to move online during the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, 35 students have graduated from the program. Many have gone on to deliver oral health care in rural areas in Pakistan and in other vulnerable communities around the globe where it is needed most. Prior to moving to South Central Asia, Prof. Alibhai dedicated more than 20 years to training dentists and dental hygienists in Washington state to screen, prevent and treat diseases that affect the teeth and gums.

These alumni have led groundbreaking research to bring an end to the global HIV epidemic, prevent cancers and other chronic diseases, improve worker health and safety, and address gun violence in America.

Excerpted from the University of Washington School of Public Health

Published on February 10, 2021

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