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I Am the Workforce Photo Project

Nadia Ibrahim — Public Health Analyst

Nadia Ibrahim

Throughout her federal career, Nadia Ibrahim has worked to improve opportunities and quality of life for others. As a Public Health Analyst with the Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), Nadia currently helps oversee two grant programs: the Small Healthcare Provider Quality Improvement Program and the Black Lung Clinics Program. Through both, she assists clinics across the nation to improve their care and provide services to vulnerable populations, ensuring that grantees meet program requirements and federal funding is used effectively.

Nadia joined HHS in 2010 with several years of relevant experience already under her belt. For the seven years prior, she was a Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)/Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), where she worked to address employment supports for people with disabilities — including healthcare — from a public policy perspective.

Her path to both of these federal positions began with her participation in the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), which connects federal and private sector employers to qualified and pre-screened college students and recent graduates with disabilities. She applied for the WRP while at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned a Master's degree in Social Work (MSW) after working for several years in the publishing industry.

After interviewing with a WRP recruiter in late 2000, Nadia, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, was offered a summer internship with the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP), housed within the U.S. Department of Defense. The move to Washington, D.C. that first summer wasn't easy. It was the first time she was far from family, and she encountered problems arranging personal assistance services and other challenges, although her employer was very supportive, she says.

Once settled, a highlight of the summer was getting to meet the President. However, it was the less high-profile people she met who made the experience a truly transformative one. "When I worked in publishing, I was one of only two people with disabilities," she says. "When I came to D.C., I saw so many people with disabilities working, succeeding and living independently. It was a huge benefit."

At the end of the internship, Nadia returned to Illinois, but soon found her way back to D.C. by arranging to do her required eight-month practicum at CAP. Upon graduation with her MSW, she worked at a disability services provider for several months before officially joining the federal workforce. Since that time, the government — and countless individuals across the nation — have reaped the benefits.