Dr. Bernoussi, Dr. Benmansour, Dr. Haquimi and Sofia Rachad ’18 at Hôpital Mohamed Bouafi, in Morocco.

For Sofia Rachad ’18, an economics major and biology and chemistry double minor, the complicated status of the health care system in the Moroccan public sector is not only a societal issue: it is a personal one. “There came a point where I realized I knew more about the U.S. health care system and its issues than about the healthcare system of the country I grew up in. This seemed problematic to me especially since I hope to someday practice medicine in Morocco,” said Rachad.

about sofia rachad '18

Major: economics

Hometown: Casablanca, Morocco

High School: George Washington Academy

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After researching government funded programs used to combat the lack  of healthcare in rural U.S. communities, Rachad knew she wanted to use her 2017 Levitt Summer Research Fellowship to examine health care in underserved regions. Instead of studying systematic problems within the many systems of public health care, she had narrowed her scope, focusing on just one region, her native Casablanca, Morocco.

This summer, Rachad will work at Hôpital Mohamed Bouafi, a public hospital, where she will conduct observational research, focusing in particular on the maternity ward, surgical procedures and the intensive care unit (ICU).

In her short time at the hospital, Rachad has already witnessed striking practices regarding the systems used to deliver health care services to Moroccan citizens, experiences which majorly impact her policy. In addition to interning, Rachad has begun a literature review, perusing scholarly articles, essays and novels relating to the topic of and problems within the public health care sector.

By looking at specific impediments to care, such as lack of primary services - including a severe scarcity of mental health care services - Rachad hopes to construct a clear picture of the underfunded public system currently in place in Morocco. From this nuanced understanding, paired with an insight into the economic structures of comparable systems, she will attempt to devise reasonable economic health care reform policies or recommendations to combat the issues she is observing firsthand.

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