“My research involves incorporating novel digital solutions to promote health behaviors and outcomes of midlife women with a passion for supporting physical activity. I am always passionate about leading strategic changes to cultivate innovative solutions and entrepreneurial ideas and advocate for impactful actions towards healthier, more equitable societies.”
Ghada AlSwayied is currently a PhD researcher in Population Health Sciences at UCL (ranked 5th in the world for public health) and is a motivator for sustainable socio-behavioral change.
‘It serves as a gateway to equip emerging leaders’
The Misk Fellowship Program is designed to help rising leaders build essential blocks for positive change, personal effectiveness and innovation. This well-developed program acts as a fast-track scheme to turn talented graduates into future change-makers.
As the pandemic hit the world in 2020, I realized how obsessive I am towards creating positive change within individual and community levels. I applied for the Misk Fellowship in the first place as a learning opportunity to strengthen my transferable skills. However, once it kicked off, I noticed the impact on myself and my performance. As a rising guru on women’s health and physical activity behavior at one of the world-leading research schools, applying for the Misk Fellowship gave me the critical space to deeply reflect on WHAT I’m doing and WHY I’m doing it.
‘Unprecedented opportunity to stretch potentials’
Taking part in +500 hours of professional training, mentoring, independent learning and networking over six months while PhDing was an exceptional opportunity to prepare me for the next chapter of my life.
Soon after dipping my toe in the Misk Fellowship Program, I began to focus my attention on developing my own spheres of influence and the networks needed to make the positive impact I wanted to achieve throughout my PhD journey and later to empower middle-aged Saudi women to become physically active and live their best lives. The dynamic, need-driven approach of the program has allowed me to develop resilience skills and set priorities in the best sense.
On a personal level, three main takeaways stand out from my 6-month experience with Misk Fellowship: firstly, to admit constant challenges, look for the underlying roots of the issue at hand, and ignite my influence through authenticity.
Every moment at the Misk Fellowship matters… In a nutshell, if you can make it –which I believe is always a choice of yours– then trust me, you would NOT want to miss it!
A message to share about your current achievements/work/the program, where do you see yourself and/or what goals and ambitions do you have for the near future. what type of impact do you hope to make in that industry in Saudi Arabia?
Meanwhile, Vision 2030 has unlocked a myriad of opportunities for Saudi women to get empowered and for those with flourishing resumes and distinguished experiences to rise into the C-Suite and senior positions. Though, emerging patterns of innovative solutions to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors during midlife and so reforming relevant policies to meet the needs of women of Gen X [those born between 1966-1980] and beyond have become more important than ever.
My PhD work aligns with the SDG agendas where I am looking into the intersection between health tech, physical activity behavior change and middle-aged women undergoing menopause. For far too long, this has been a neglected area of research and a taboo subject to discuss for women everywhere, including Saudi Arabia. As a public health researcher and advocate, my goal is to partner health tech interventions with physical activity behavior change to support Saudi menopausal women throughout the entire transition and ultimately achieve better clinical outcomes.
Being officially recognized as a MISK Fellow was, undoubtedly, a milestone to me and an enriching experience that will open up new doors for my career. I am keen to undertake a one-of-a-kind research project in Saudi Arabia to raise public health awareness and normalize conversation on menopause since we learn nothing about it in schools, news, and media. I look forward to collaborating with a group of active national entities, local app developers, and women from the community to step in and get involved in the Saudi-based clinical research to convert evidence into successful social innovation.