The University of Iowa

In the news: UI pharmacy student promotes public health in his native Nigeria

June 21st, 2018

UI student Ishaya David stands with mentors Jeanine Abrons and Jeffrey Reist, professors in the UI College of Pharmacy who are helping David pursue his dream of leading a public health nonprofit in Nigeria. Photo by Tim Schoon.

By Lynn Anderson Davy, Iowa Now 

University of Iowa student Ishaya David has big plans for the future, plans that include assuming leadership of a small nonprofit organization started by his beloved brother and traveling the rural roads of his native Nigeria to educate youth about the dangers of unprotected sex and HIV/AIDS, and the health hazards associated with substance abuse.

David sees his education and the network he is building with fellow pharmacy and public health students and professors at Iowa as an important stepping stone in realizing those plans. After his first year in the UI’s dual Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Public Health program, David is enthusiastic about what he’s learning, especially about public health issues that will serve him well in Africa.

“My education at the University of Iowa is laying the groundwork for my future work in Nigeria,” says David, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. “If I want to run my own nonprofit, I need to be an expert in infectious diseases; I need to know what I am doing so people will trust me with their health and with the funding they give my organization.”

David is returning to Nigeria for several weeks this summer to drive to some of the more remote areas of his homeland. He wants to visit with teenagers and young people who live in religiously conservative parts of the country because he says they are most at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS through unprotected sex as well as drug abuse, including the use of opioids, which are sold on the street.