Left: Omar Ullah (Bachelor of Science, 2020, Environmental and Occupational Health)
The Wolfson Scholar Award is presented each year in memory of CSUN’s first vice president, Leo Wolfson. Recipients must show an exceptional academic record and significant contributions to CSUN or to the community through co- and extra- curricular activities. Each college presents one nominee to the university. Omar Ullah, the 2020 nominee from the College of Health and Human Development was selected by the University community for this prestigious honor.
Omar Ullah told us that growing up amidst the unforgiving landscape of the Mojave Desert, he witnessed his working-class, immigrant parents and members of his rural community struggle to obtain basic healthcare services due to barriers of access and affordability. These formative experiences, coupled with the strong mentorship of CSUN faculty, ignited his fierce spirit of activism and galvanized his life's mission to both reduce health disparities among historically under-served communities, and help lead the fight to transform the US healthcare system into one that guarantees high-quality, affordable coverage to all Americans. This rewarding path has led Omar to become a driven, ambitious pre-medical college student, award-winning biomedical researcher and scholar under the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an endowed fellow with the National Environmental Public Health Internship Program (NEPHIP) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a research fellow in US healthcare policy at Harvard University.
Key to his belief in healthcare as a human right, Omar aims to become a primary care physician in order to return to his rural hometown to bring medicine to those without a doctor by establishing a world-class, culturally informed Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) to provide free and sliding-scale medical care for uninsured, undocumented, and homeless residents. Furthermore, Omar aims to target the root causes of inequities by emerging as an eminent voice in policy-making and health disparities research. Consequently, he intends to run for a seat in the US Congress in order to promulgate robust, evidence-based policies––steeped in social justice––that protect and empower rural and under-served communities of color, as well as revolutionize the US healthcare system.
Above all, Omar aims to spend a lifetime elevating the voices of the voiceless, living intentionally, and learning for the sake of others.
In addition to being selected from among nominees across all CSUN Colleges to be named the University Wolfson Scholar for 2020, Omar Ullah was also selected as a College Scholar for the College of Health and Human Development.