Meet the Academics & Innovation Team
The Academics & Innovation division is tasked to identify the prominent maternal-health issues in resource-poor settings by conducting extensive research. Having identified pertinent issues, the team are then responsible for innovatively devising evidence-based interventions to improve maternal health outcomes.
Head of Academics & Innovation
Tafsir is a 4th year UCL Medical Student with an intercalated degree in Global Health. He is the Head of Maa's Academics & Innovations Team. After going to Bangladesh as part of JourneyMaa 2017 and then again as Project Manager in 2018, he's seen first-hand the impact Maa is making to the lives of mothers and their families. He was inspired by JourneyMaa and joined the Maa committee in order to follow through with the long-term aims of the charity. His role encompasses carrying out research in Global Maternal Health and using an evidence-based approach to produce innovative new projects for Maa to implicate.
Athiqur Rahman has an academic background in Biomedical Science from King’s College London. Athiqur has extensive experience working on charitable and community projects and has been recognised for his voluntary work in his local community having been awarded ‘Significant Contribution to the Wider Community’ in 2012 and 2014 by the mayor of Tower Hamlets. His more recent accolade includes the Principal’s Global Leadership Award, recognising his ability to envision and conceptualise ways of tackling global issues and further leading on them. Athiqur hopes to apply the research skills he has acquired from his degree and extra curricula work to conduct thorough research and bring about innovative and practical ideas to aid in the work that Maa does.
Hiba is part of the Academic and Innovation team for Maa. She is currently a third-year PhD student with a research focus on the effect of inflammatory pathways in the cardiovascular system. Using her knowledge and background from her studies, she sought out the opportunity to join Maa and study the effects of maternal mortality in rural areas of countries such as Bangladesh. She hopes that skills developed from her academic and research experiences can translate into finding effective strategies and interventions towards improving maternal care in regions around the globe that are in dire need.
Jarka has been awarded a PhD scholarship in Clinical Cardiovascular Biomechanics at Imperial College London, having previously graduated with a First-Class Honours and Masters in Biomedicine with Distinction. She has won numerous prizes including from The Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council, and is Head of the Postgraduate Network at her university. Jarka is an active philanthropist and loves empowering others.
The privileged opportunity to give back and change lives of many mothers, the most important figure in people’s lives, is what inspired Jarka to join Maa to help those in resource-poor settings receive excellent maternal healthcare. Her role involves investigating and translating evidence-based research into innovative and educational interventions to address detrimental maternal and child-health issues in Bangladesh, which could reduce preventable deaths. This is a cause very dear to her heart.
Latifa is a third year medical student at King's College London, who has recently completed her intercalated degree in Global Health. This has reinforced her desire to make a difference within healthcare on an international level and she believes Maa provides the perfect opportunity to do so. As a Research Officer on the Academics & Innovation team, Latifa is excited to help launch Maa's new projects into existence by ensuring evidence-based and effective methods are used. She is honored to be working for a charity that works tirelessly to provide mothers with the high standard of healthcare to which they are entitled.
Sundas has recently qualified as a midwife from King's College London. She has supported hundreds of women and families through their pregnancies, no two ever being the same. She has cared for women with pregnancy related complications such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes and is aware of the severity of these complications towards the health of mother and child. Her life motto is 'knowledge is power', and she believes that education is important to improve maternal health and empower women to make informed decisions about their care.
She believes in a holistic model of care and aims to implement this into her practice as a midwife and role as a research officer with Maa. She believes all women have a right to the same gold standard of maternity care and aspires towards achieving this. In her ideal world, childbirth would not be a taboo subject. The initiative behind Maa is what inspired her to join the organisation, she wants to use the knowledge and experience she has gained in order to support Maa in achieving its goals.
Samiha Ismail has an MBBS from King's College London and an MMath in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Oxford. In her spare time, Samiha likes to go on outdoor adventures and rock climb. Samiha has joined Maa as a Research officer and is currently working in East London as a Doctor. In the future, Samiha aspires to further health globally and do volunteering work abroad. She is passionate about inequality in maternal healthcare globally and has joined Maa to make a difference in this field.
Tasnim joined Maa three years ago, and is now a part of the research team. Her role as a research officer involves finding and presenting evidence, to help guide the decisions made by Maa. This Summer, she worked on the Maa cradle, to identify items that are essential for a mother and their newborn child. Tasnim was initially drawn to the enthusiasm and passion of the Maa team to improve maternal health worldwide, and, since joining, can appreciate how all the work Maa does is built on strong evidence.
Ujala works in the NHS balancing research and clinical work, currently focusing on psychosis and digital therapies. She joined Maa to develop her knowledge of maternal health and pioneer innovative projects making a difference to the lives of Bangladeshi women. She hopes to use research as a way of developing evidence-based solutions to improving maternal health in poor-resource settings such as Bangladesh, as well as supporting and empowering women.