Hamza Choudhry (Public Health ’24) is one of five Rutgers University undergraduate students selected to receive the Rutgers University Committee to Advance our Common Purposes (CACP) Impact Award for 2023. The award recognizes students and recognized student organizations who have had an incredible impact in a short amount of time on issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and access at Rutgers.
A senior in his final semester of the public health major, Hamza hopes to attend medical school and obtain a dual Master’s degree in Public Health after graduation. Hamza is also a 2023-2024 Ralph W. Voorhees Public Service Fellow at the Bloustein School’s Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement, and is currently researching how emergency service organizations can better support unhoused individuals with basic needs.
Earlier this year, he was one of four Rutgers University nominees and one of two Rutgers students selected as state finalists for the national Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, a federally funded scholarship that awards up to $30,000 to undergraduates pursuing graduate or professional school in public service. While not selected as a final scholar, Hamza said he encourages students who are active in volunteerism and public service to apply because it helps students reflect on their contributions and the lessons they gained from them.
In high school, Hamza founded HHC Films, a film company through which he created short films, commercials, and other digital content. His most notable work was creating the campaign video for former Jersey City Board of Education President Mussab Ali.
“I started my freshman year at Rutgers as a Film major at the Mason Gross School of the Arts,” he said. Hamza’s first job at Rutgers was as a Community Service Officer (CSO) for the Rutgers University Police Department. Through this role, he regularly interacted with EMTs and was inspired to become one himself. While being a full-time student, he completed an EMT course at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy. “Because of my newfound interest in public service and healthcare, I decided to switch my major to Public Health,” Hamza said.
He became an EMT for the River Road Rescue Squad and Hackensack Meridian Health during the pandemic in his sophomore year at Rutgers. Seeing a need for EMS educators, he increased his commitment to the River Road Rescue Squad by helping train new members by familiarizing them with agency-specific operations. He was promoted to lieutenant and continued to educate members and other officers through weekly training. To aid in improving EMS services in the area, he successfully led a campaign to pass legislation establishing a Division of EMS under the Township of Piscataway. As part of his efforts, he was an EMT of the Year nominee at the 2022 National Conference on EMS.
He was also part of a team that placed second at the 2023 Future Healthcare Administrators Case Competition hosted by the Bloustein School. The teams were tasked with incorporating the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model into a hospital network and had 24 hours to come up with a plan.
This past summer, Hamza completed a ten-week internship at Somerset County, NJ’s Department of Public Health and Safety as an emergency preparedness intern. His work focused on further developing the department’s risk communication plan, which included helping in the county’s emergency response to a water main break in Somerville, NJ.
Advice to future students: Join organizations on or off campus that align with your interests, and if you are unable to find any, start your own. Getting involved early on is one of the best things you can do to jumpstart your career and make a difference in your community. Make the most of your resources at the Bloustein School to get closer to your goals by talking to the advisors, attending events, and utilizing student services.