Sarah Al-Hashemi: Removing social disparities through political advocacy

MLK Scholar Sarah Al-Hashemi with a green headscarf and large glasses

Sarah Al-Hashemi: Removing social disparities through political advocacy

Sarah Al-Hashemi has done a lot during her four years at Ohio State: Her experiences range from undergraduate research investigating health disparities to an internship with Columbus Public Health's Infant Safe Sleep program.

A fourth-year Young Scholar majoring in Public Health, Al-Hashemi has made advocating for others her life's work. As a mentor for Community Refugee Immigration Services (CRIS), she works to reduce language barriers for new Americans, an issue that's close to her as the daughter of Iraqi immigrants.

“I want to help [local families] as much as I can because seeing how my parents are, I had that immigrant child in me and was like, ‘Yes, let me help!'” Al-Hashemi explained. “I think it was definitely eye-opening and made me realize that I want to do something like that again in the future.”

That experience, coupled with an internship at the Ohio House of Representatives, inspired Al-Hashemi to pursue a career in health policy, where she hopes to advocate for underrepresented communities.

“Removing barriers to healthcare services, especially for marginalized communities, has been a really big goal of mine,” Al-Hashemi commented. “Growing up as a first-gen immigrant, I've had to see it firsthand and see how disproportionate healthcare services are.”

Al-Hashemi says this scholarship will help her accomplish her dream of earning a graduate-level education. She is pursuing a master's degree in public health through the university's combined BSPH/MPH degree program and is considering attending law school after graduation.

She is proud to continue MLK's legacy of advocacy and social justice and hopes that she, too, can champion equitable policy changes.

“[King] was very passionate about civil rights and social justice,” Al-Hashemi said. “That's something I try to honor every day.”