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Dedicated Dentist Pursues Master's in Public Health to Address Health Disparities in Underserved Oklahoma Communities


Tuesday, June 6, 2023


Media Contact: Charmaine Motte | Coordinator of Graduate Recruitment | 405-744-6368 |


Mahta Afradeh, a passionate and dedicated dentist, has been selected as the recipient of the highly esteemed OPHA 2023 Spring Pam Rask In-Memoriam Scholarship award. This scholarship, presented by the Oklahoma Public Health Association (OPHA), honors the late Pam Rask, a prominent figure in the field of public health who dedicated over three decades of her life to improving the well-being of Oklahomans.


Mahta Afradeh's selection for this prestigious scholarship reflects her commitment to enhancing educational opportunities in public health and her passion for making a positive impact on the health of underserved communities in Oklahoma. As a dentist working in rural areas, Afradeh recognized the limitations of solely providing clinical care and felt compelled to contribute more extensively to improving overall health outcomes.

Mahta Afradeh

Mahta Afradeh

"I realized that improving health requires implementation beyond clinical settings," Afradeh explained. "I decided to continue my education in a Master of Public Health program, specifically focusing on underserved and rural areas. Oklahoma State University's program stood out as one of the best in the state, offering me the opportunity to gain valuable insights into general public health and ways to improve health outcomes in rural communities."


Since starting her Master of Public Health program in the fall of 2021, Afradeh has been actively involved in community-based health projects. One notable initiative she participated in is a collaborative effort between the Oklahoma State Department of Health and sexual health and harm reduction services. The project aims to conduct rapid assessments in regions with high incidences of congenital syphilis. Afradeh's involvement in this project provides firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by the affected population and helps inform targeted interventions to address the specific needs of these communities.


Afradeh's dedication to public health extends beyond her involvement in community projects. She has also conducted research to gain insights into various health issues and to identify obstacles and potential solutions in rural areas. Her training in health data analysis and epidemiology has equipped her with the skills necessary to understand health patterns and contribute to the design and evaluation of community-based interventions that address health disparities and improve access to healthcare for underserved populations.



With her impending graduation next semester, Afradeh has ambitious goals for her future. She aspires to be actively engaged in public health epidemiology research, emphasizing the importance of gathering information on the areas in need of improved healthcare services. Additionally, she aims to combine her dental expertise with her public health knowledge to tackle the high cost and limited accessibility of dental services in Oklahoma.

"I want to address health disparities because I have witnessed the lack of access to dental health services in rural areas," Afradeh expressed. "My passion is to provide assistance to these communities and make a positive impact on their oral and general health. Marrying my dental and public health knowledge is crucial to meeting the needs of society and ensuring a healthier future for all."


Afradeh's main goal is to provide affordable dental services for underserved communities. Her dedication and determination to bridge the gap in healthcare access exemplify the spirit of the OPHA Pam Rask Scholarship and demonstrate her potential to make a lasting impact on public health in Oklahoma.

The Graduate College congratulates Mahta Afradeh on receiving this distinguished scholarship and wishes her continued success in her academic pursuits and future endeavors.



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