February 23, 2024

Wayne Med-Direct student using school, work to give back to Detroit

DETROIT – Mohammad Muntakim believes in this city. He was born in Bangladesh but moved to Detroit with his parents when he was very young. This place has shaped him – and makes him want to stay.

The 21-year-old Wayne State University public health major is building an impressive resume that represents the best of the Warrior community and pushes him to give back to the city his family bet on after coming to the United States for better education opportunities.

Mohammad Muntakim
Mohammad Muntakim

“The last few years have been more than I could ask for in terms of just being a part of the program, the flexibility to kind of enjoy what I truly care about,” said Muntakim, who is finishing his bachelor’s a year early.

Muntakim is in the sixth cohort of the prestigious Wayne Med-Direct program, which leads students into WSU’s M.D. program after undergraduate work. Med-Direct admits 10 students each year, giving them mentoring and training to become medical community leaders and reduce urban health disparities.

When he was a student at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Muntakim realized he wanted to contribute to the direct well-being of people, and medicine was the perfect fit. But his respect for the field was instilled in childhood, as doctors showed tremendous empathy to him during a stretch of frequent medical visits.

“My goal would be to try to emulate that if I was able to ever become a physician,” he said.

Muntakim proposed his own public health practicum last fall, where he worked alongside Wayne County Health Director and WSU alumnus Abdul El-Sayed. Muntakim collected data for El-Sayed’s projects and analyzed where the health department should invest its funds.

That experience gave Muntakim the opportunity to tap into his passions to help others and gives back to the place that gave so much to him, and serves as an example of the values championed by Wayne State’s College to Career initiative, which seeks to provide every student with hands-on career-learning opportunities that allow them to encounter the world, gain deeper insights and new perspectives, and prepare for prosperous careers.

Outside of academics, Muntakim founded and leads the Detroit Muslim Youth Council, an advocacy and service organization. He was also recently appointed as a trustee of the Skillman Foundation after serving on its youth council. Skillman is a grantmaking organization that helps educational outcomes for Detroit youth.

Graduating a year early, Muntakim is still unsure how to spend his year between receiving his bachelor’s and starting medical school, but he’s considering a master of business administration from WSU’s Mike Ilitch School of Business.

The diverse community of people, educators and physicians he has found at Wayne State, Muntakim said, “not only transform the lives of the students that go here but ultimately transform the lives of the people that are around here, around the city.”

That inspires him to tell the story of Detroit’s depth and revival through his Wayne State studies and work in medicine.

“If you want to build your education in terms of medicine, career, serving or even families,” Muntakim said, “Detroit's a city to be.”

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Ben Orner
Phone: 717-357-5463
Email: hu9453@wayne.edu

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