Summer 2023 Real Triumphs Graduate
Degree: Ph.D. in Public Health
College: Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work
As a hospital clinical dietitian in Lebanon, Rime Jebai saw firsthand the negative impact of tobacco products on patients — many of whom were being treated for cardiovascular diseases caused by smoking.
Inspired to do more, Rime left her home country to seek a research career that would help improve health outcomes in developing countries like Lebanon, where smoking is highly prevalent. She began her studies at FIU in 2018, where she pursued her master’s in public health, concentrating in Epidemiology, and excelled despite culture and language barriers.
After earning her master’s degree, Rime sought to earn her doctorate. Her first dissertation study, which focused on developing and testing pictorial health warning labels about the risks of hookah smoking in Lebanon, was published in Tobacco Control, the No. 1 international peer-reviewed journal in the tobacco field.
While conducting research at FIU’s Clinical Research Lab for Tobacco Smoking, Rime learned and pioneered the use of innovative statistical techniques, including parallel and serial mediation, in her dissertation work. These techniques are essential for evaluating the relationships between variables, enabling policymakers to make informed decisions regarding the implementation of effective and appropriate health warning labels to prevent tobacco use. She now mentors students in advanced statistical techniques and clinical-based tobacco research.
As a doctoral student, under the mentorship of Dr. Wasim Maziak, Rime published 29 peer-reviewed publications (seven as first author) and presented at regional, national and international conferences hosted by public health organizations.
Rime will join Boston University as a postdoctoral fellow, where she will work on developing pictorial health warnings for cigar smoking. She hopes to continue to do research on smoking and chronic disease and influence policies to help communities.
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