Fathima Wakeel, one of the first researchers to conceptualize and operationalize the construct of personal capital and examine its relationship with stress and adverse obstetric outcomes, has been named the Inaugural Director of Graduate Studies for the College of Health effective Sept.1.
As the Director of Graduate Programs in the College of Health, Wakeel will serve as the point person for all graduate activities and initiatives at Lehigh. Building from her experience from her previous institution, Wakeel will also lead the curriculum development efforts for all College graduate programs, such as a Master of Public Health (MPH), a Master of Science (MS) in Population Health, a Ph.D. in population health, and a number of graduate certificate programs. In addition, she will lead the accreditation process for the MPH program and assist in the development of external partnerships that will provide graduate students research and internship opportunities.
Before coming to Lehigh, Wakeel was an associate professor at Ferris State University, where she helped enhance undergraduate and graduate education, developing degrees in Public Health. Wakeel also led the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accreditation process for both of these programs, demonstrating that she has the experience needed to develop graduate programs that will guide students on the path to success and help them become successful researchers, practitioners, innovators and leaders.
Wakeel’s previous work has equipped her with valuable experience in the entire range of graduate program development. “She was involved in curriculum development and revision, student recruitment and advising, the development of academic-community partnerships and internship opportunities for students, as well as the coordination of program assessment,” Dean Whitney P. Witt said. “Dr. Wakeel also led the accreditation process with the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) at her previous institution; I have no doubt she’ll develop a great program for our graduate students.”
“[Because] I also helped develop online graduate programming that was tailored for working professionals, [I] gained experience with working with a wide range of graduate students, from students who had newly graduated from their undergraduate programs to those who had amassed decades of professional experience,” Wakeel said.
As an accomplished scholar, Wakeel has a Ph.D. in Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health at the University of South Florida. Her postdoctoral training involves fellowships in the Healthcare Quality Improvement Program Fellowship and the Health Disparities Research Scholars Program Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.
Wakeel’s area of research involves maternal and child health, as well as women’s mental health. Her goal is to produce knowledge that will help reduce racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in adverse maternal and child health outcomes by examining the differential development of protective factors (i.e., personal capital) over the life course.
In addition to Lehigh’s excellent research reputation that drew Wakeel to the University, she also said, “Lehigh really appealed to me because of its focus on experiential learning opportunities for students as well as its emphasis on developing strong faculty-student relationships that enhance student learning.”
In accepting the position, Wakeel would like to thank Dean Witt for entrusting her with such an important role, her unwavering support, and for being such an incredible leader and role model. She’d also like to thank the rest of the Dean’s Office, as well as her faculty colleagues in the College of Health, for being such exceptional, supportive, and genuinely collegial team members.
“I am incredibly thrilled about the opportunity to lead the development and coordination of the graduate programs at the College of Health!” Wakeel said. “Importantly, I am especially excited about playing such a key role in shaping the educational and professional trajectories of our future population health researchers, practitioners, innovators, and leaders!
“The College of Health is paving the way in population health education and research, [especially] with our timely focus on health innovation and data science, during this critical time to improve the health and well-being of communities locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.”