FLINT — As a student who was active in the Arab American community throughout college, Dr. Hussein Saghir gained a special affinity and aspiration for helping to serve minority and marginalized communities.
Now, Saghir will have the opportunity to continue his education at the next level, as he was announced by Harvard University as a 2019-2020 Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy recipient this week.
Saghir, 32, currently works at the McLaren Flint Family Medicine Residency Center in sports and family medicine. He is also the associate program director of the family medicine program.
His next journey will begin this July, when he departs for Boston for the fellowship.
“Just kind of being able to help the Arab American community, being around those leaders [in the Arab American Political Action Committee], really inspired me to want to continue to help minority and marginalized populations,” Saghir said.
“Training in this area, with things like the Flint Water Crisis, definitely made me want to make sure with things like this we have a seat at the table and are able to make decisions that affect people in a positive way that’s going to affect these communities that have often been overlooked,” he added.
Saghir, a Dearborn native, was one of just six doctors chosen nationwide for the prestigious fellowship, which is a year-long program offering intensive study in health policy, public health and management for physicians committed to transforming health care delivery systems for vulnerable populations.
Fellows participate in leadership forums and seminars with nationally recognized leaders in these areas and complete academic work leading to a master of public health degree at the Harvard School of Public Health, or a master of public administration degree at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Saghir said he’s excited to learn more that he can take back to local communities with him, especially in light of the challenges they face.
“One of the things I noticed is, decisions being made on behalf of marginalized communities and populations weren’t necessarily taking their best interests into account,” he said.
Saghir will bring with him a wealth of experience in the field, including in sports medicine where he has worked with the Flint Firebirds Ontario Hockey League team, as well as members of the Detroit Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings during his fellowship with the Detroit Medical Center through Wayne State University.
A graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, Saghir comes from a full family of health professionals.
His brothers Hassan and Mohamad, as well as his sister Zeinab, are all physicians, and his sisters Iman and Genan are both pharmacists.
“When we’re together as a family we don’t discuss medicine or anything,” he said. “We basically just focus on catching up. Some of my siblings live in different states so any time we can be together, we just focus on being a family.”
The fellowship will take Saghir further away from where calls home, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It will be a privilege to interact with these leaders and really get to know them, to see how they make decisions,” he said. “To basically be able to get an experience but to also be able to attain a degree from Harvard is an honor as well.”