Ghadir Helal Salsa is a third-year DrPH student in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science at the Brownsville Regional Campus. Ghadir arrived in Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley in 2013 from the Palestinian Territories, where she had worked on community agriculture and food security projects with the United Nations. Ghadir says the Rio Grande Valley reminds her very much of her home in Bethlehem. "The hospitality, the culture, the spirit of community are very much like where I grew up. People also face some of the same barriers including stress caused by poverty and border check points".
Ghadir says she and her husband are settled in Brownsville and have made it their home.
"I want to give back to my adopted community and I've had many opportunities to do so at the UTHealth School of Public Health, especially during the pandemic. I chose Public Health because my passion is working to improve quality of life. I want to learn and contribute here as well and I can do that through my work and studies at the School of Public Health.”
During COVID-19 Ghadir has had new opportunities to be invovled. This past summer, in collaboration with faculty from the other regional campuses, Ghadir co-directed a youth COVID-19 contest to create materials (videos, digital arts, murals, etc.) led by a Youth Advisory Board. She has also volunteered at the Cameron County Health Department assisting with public vaccine events.