Meet 2023 Distinguished Alumni awardee, Jihaan Mutasim, MPH’14
Driven, purposeful, selfless, courageous, and compassionate come to mind when describing Jihaan Mutasim, MPH’14, a public health professional, civil servant in New York City, and Rutgers School of Public Health alumna.
Mutasim’s roots are in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where she witnessed health disparities and inequities amongst the citizens of the country. Growing up in a political family, idly standing by was not an option. She learned to prioritize serving people, community, and nation. This was the impetus of her career in health and commitment to public service.
Mutasim’s first steps on her path to public health and service were when she courageously chose to attend Rutgers University–Camden, which is 8,000 miles from her home in Dhaka. Even though she moved to New Jersey the day before freshman orientation, she was confident in her decision. “I was certain that Rutgers–Camden was the best choice for me because of the diversity and opportunities.”
Initially, there was a bit of culture shock due to the freedom she had academically. “I could pick what I wanted to do next—no one restricted me. I could explore.” While she initially pursued medicine and research, Mutasim’s electives exposed her to the interdisciplinary nature of public health and all that she could do with a Master of Public Health degree.
She was not restricted to just medicine—she could work in health systems, policy, administration, and more. Public health was the avenue by which she could fulfill her purpose to serve.
After receiving her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University-Camden, she went on to get both her Master of Biomedical Sciences degree and her Master of Public Health degree in 2014.
Mutasim now works for the New York City Department of Health as a research scientist at the Office of External Affairs where she supports policy, emergency awareness, public service announcements, executive budget hearings, and more.
Mutasim exudes energy, enthusiasm, and compassion—the hallmarks of someone driven to serve the public. With her expertise in public health, she is well-equipped to address challenges, and she gives a lot of credit to Rutgers University for her preparedness. “Rutgers shaped me this way, and Rutgers shapes all of its students this way.”
Reflecting on being a Rutgers student, Mutasim says “You can feel there is something special about Rutgers while on campus, in the lecture halls, and the labs. You can feel it when you talk to other Rutgers alumni, and you know that we are prepared for any challenge.”
Mutasim received the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Rutgers School of Public Health this May. She continues to make her family and all of her homes—Bangladesh, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York—proud to bear witness to her commitment and service.