Honarvar, second-year MPH student, credits personal experiences for interest in public health.

Photo of Saam Honarvar, second-year MPH student
Saam Honarvar, second-year MPH student
Photo of Samaah Sullivan, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology
Samaah Sullivan, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology

For Saam Honarvar, life took an unexpected turn when his beloved grandfather died of complications due to diabetes. The turn intersected with public health and Honarvar decided to pursue an MPH in Epidemiology at UTHealth Houston.

“His passing was preventable if appropriate resources were provided to him. But as a member of a medically disadvantaged community, he had limited access to resources,” Honarvar said. “I decided to pursue an MPH to understand health disparities better and learn how to provide care for different communities.”

Honarvar, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Biological Chemistry from the University of Texas at Arlington, entered the field during the pandemic, working for a biomedical company specializing in antimicrobial surface coatings. His experience at UTHealth Houston has been crucial to his development, with a highlight being the invaluable relationships formed with faculty, particularly Samaah Sullivan, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology, as a mentor.

“The relationships with the faculty have been tremendous in my educational journey. Dr. Sullivan has been a great mentor and a bright spot in my graduate education!”

Sullivan has worked extensively with Honarvar and believes his hard work is already paying off.

“Saam has achieved exceptional academic and research accomplishments while also gaining volunteer and medical service experience during his MPH training. Saam is a bright young scholar who I expect to succeed in his future medical and public health endeavors.” 

Collaborating with Sullivan, Honarvar achieved notable success in his research endeavors. Their work on "A Systemic Review Examining Sex and Gender Differences between Self-Reported Experiences of Discrimination and Physical Outcomes" earned them recognition at Emory University's Sex as a Biological Variable (SABV) workshop in December 2023, where they received one of the top-scoring abstract distinctions. Additionally, they secured third place during the American Heart Association's Research Goes Red Data Challenge examining age differences in the association between toxic stress and cardiovascular disease among women, leading to Honarvar presenting their research at the 2024 American Heart Association Epi Lifestyle Conference in Chicago. In recognition of his exceptional research contributions, Honarvar will be receiving the Trudy Bush Fellowships for Cardiovascular Disease Research in Women’s Health at the Annual Joint Council Dinner.

Honarvar emphasizes the importance of appreciating the rigor of a program like UTHealth Houston for students interested in public health. He also encourages finding ways to decompress while remaining excited and optimistic about making meaningful contributions to improving public health and serving communities.

Honarvar is excitedly optimistic about his future plans to improve public health and the people in the communities it serves. He finds solace in believing his grandfather would be proud.

site var = sph