The Doctor Is In -- and Multiculturally Competent: Choumika Simonis | Teachers College Columbia University

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The Doctor Is In—and Multiculturally Competent:
Scholar Choumika Simonis

Choumika is the recipient of the Debra Heinrich Scholarship and the W.R. Hearst Centennial Fellowship.

 

LIFE BEFORE TC

A Haitian-American from Queens, Choumika Simonis made her first visit to her family’s home country a memorable one: In 2011, a year after the earthquake, she worked in Léogâne, near the epicenter, with an organization that focused on treating malnutrition in young children. Then, Simonis went to Indonesia on a Fulbright Fellowship, teaching English in Borneo. “I wanted to go outside my comfort zone—a tall, African-American woman in Asia,” she says. “The two experiences, in community health and education, led me directly to TC.”

WHY TC

TC’s Community Health Education program was a natural next step for Simonis, who did her undergraduate work in the Human Biology, Health and Society program at Cornell University, with a minor in Global Health and pre-med training to boot. The TC program has allowed Simonis to learn theories underpinning practices in the field and think broadly about promoting health equity in underprivileged communities. For example, she studied techniques such as motivational interviewing to help at-risk patients develop healthy behaviors. “I learned more about how to look at environmental factors and social factors in health outcomes,” she says.

TC TAKEAWAY

Simonis interned at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s District Public Health Office in Harlem, working on promoting physical activity and nutrition among students in elementary school. She helped schools in the area develop wellness councils and worked with administrators to promote staff wellness, which she realized was just as essential as supports for the children. All along, Simonis held a part-time job at TC’s Vice President’s Office for Diversity & Community Affairs, which she says gave her a valuable sense of involvement in TC as an institution and community.

WHAT'S NEXT

Simonis has been short-listed for several health-oriented fellowship opportunities in the coming year. After that—finally—she plans to go to medical school. “What I’ve learned from TC has provided a solid foundation in terms of being a multiculturally-competent physician who understands the social and ecological factors that impact health.” 

(Published 5/18/2015)

Published Monday, Jul. 27, 2015

The Doctor Is In—and Multiculturally Competent:
Scholar Choumika Simonis

Choumika is the recipient of the Debra Heinrich Scholarship and the W.R. Hearst Centennial Fellowship.

 

LIFE BEFORE TC

A Haitian-American from Queens, Choumika Simonis made her first visit to her family’s home country a memorable one: In 2011, a year after the earthquake, she worked in Léogâne, near the epicenter, with an organization that focused on treating malnutrition in young children. Then, Simonis went to Indonesia on a Fulbright Fellowship, teaching English in Borneo. “I wanted to go outside my comfort zone—a tall, African-American woman in Asia,” she says. “The two experiences, in community health and education, led me directly to TC.”

WHY TC

TC’s Community Health Education program was a natural next step for Simonis, who did her undergraduate work in the Human Biology, Health and Society program at Cornell University, with a minor in Global Health and pre-med training to boot. The TC program has allowed Simonis to learn theories underpinning practices in the field and think broadly about promoting health equity in underprivileged communities. For example, she studied techniques such as motivational interviewing to help at-risk patients develop healthy behaviors. “I learned more about how to look at environmental factors and social factors in health outcomes,” she says.

TC TAKEAWAY

Simonis interned at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s District Public Health Office in Harlem, working on promoting physical activity and nutrition among students in elementary school. She helped schools in the area develop wellness councils and worked with administrators to promote staff wellness, which she realized was just as essential as supports for the children. All along, Simonis held a part-time job at TC’s Vice President’s Office for Diversity & Community Affairs, which she says gave her a valuable sense of involvement in TC as an institution and community.

WHAT'S NEXT

Simonis has been short-listed for several health-oriented fellowship opportunities in the coming year. After that—finally—she plans to go to medical school. “What I’ve learned from TC has provided a solid foundation in terms of being a multiculturally-competent physician who understands the social and ecological factors that impact health.” 

(Published 5/18/2015)

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