Student Spotlight

Ph.D. student aims to prevent overspending on heart healthcare

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While working as a cardiology fellow in Germany, Cameroon native Abraham Enyeji '23 observed how his previously treated patients were returning to the hospital. "People were coming back again…for things that could be preventable. For example, people who were smokers were coming back with cardiovascular issues even though they had procedures done to prevent heart disease," said Abraham.

This triggered both concern and curiosity in Abraham. He wanted to explore how money spent on hospital stays, procedures and materials could be lowered. His passion for exploration and knowledge led him to pursue his Ph.D. in Public Health, focusing on Health Policy and Management at FIU's Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work . A degree with this concentration would give him the skills to evaluate programs and make policy recommendations that help lower costs for patients and hospitals.

Overcoming personal challenges

Abraham had to overcome personal battles throughout his time as a doctoral student. In January 2021, he lost his older brother after a difficult fight with COVID-19. Although it was a big loss for him, he expressed how, with the help and support from others like Dr. Alejandro Arrieta, Associate Professor at the Department of Health Policy and Management, he could continue his track towards graduation.

In 2022, Abraham received a travel award from the American Public Health Association to present his abstract at their November annual conference. His poster board, the "Association between Non-dietary Cardiovascular Health and Health Expenditures related to Acute Coronary Syndrome and Comorbidities in the US between 2008-2018," focused on the relationship between cardiovascular health and healthcare expenditures in the United States.

"Abraham's resilient capacity is admirable. It is not common to see a student with so many challenges keep moving and ultimately excel and succeed," said Dr. Arrieta. "He transformed himself into one of the best students in my class."

On January 23rd, 2023, Abraham will defend his Ph.D. dissertation on how reshaping health policy and management could improve population health, health outcomes and savings. After graduation, he aims to pursue a career focusing on cardiovascular disease prevention to help reduce costs without compromising patient care.