HSL Provides Unique Real-Life Work Experience to Students interested in Digital Health
You may think of the UNC Health Sciences Library (HSL) as a place that facilitates innovative research among health affairs students and medical staff. However, we also provide students with real-life work experience to better prepare them for a future in the information and health sciences fields.
Saba Akbar, is among a handful of graduate assistant who worked at the HSL this past semester. Saba joined HSL in 2017, and has since helped the Health Technology and Informatics Team provide digital health expertise to the campus community in order to promote innovative research, education, and clinical care. Saba graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May with a PSM in Biomedical & Health Informatics. She will soon be leaving the HSL, however; she will bring with her unique real-life work experiences that have prepared her to make valuable contributions to the rapidly-changing world of Health Informatics.
What was your role working at the Health Sciences Library?
I worked with the digital health unit at HSL. My responsibilities included coordinating the implementation of the digital health program, conducting outreach and communication efforts to promote digital health activities, tracking supported research studies, and evaluating progress and outcomes of the library’s activities.
What are your plans now that you’ve graduated?
I am moving to Australia. There, I plan to work with the Australian Institute of Health Innovation on various digital
health-related projects. I will also pursue a PhD in Health Informatics.
How has working at the HSL helped you prepare for a career in Health Informatics?
Prior to joining HSL, I had limited knowledge of digital health and health technology. HSL enabled me to gain valuable insight into digital health practices and its tremendous impact on health care. I’ve used HSL’s numerous online resources extensively during my time here, and that has really helped me enhance my understanding of various aspects of digital health. HSL also introduced me to U.S. work culture, which was a valuable experience for me as an International student from Pakistan.
What will you miss most about UNC?
I will miss the Health Sciences Library for sure – that’s like my second home here! I’ll also miss the monthly Professional Science Master’s meetups and seminar series held at the HSL, those were the best!
Would you recommend other students to follow in your footsteps?
I will definitely recommend other students to do what I did, mainly because I believe health professions should not exist in silos. Interdisciplinary experiences are always fruitful!