The Susan Skinner Memorial Fund (SSMF) endowment was established in 2007 by the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) USA to support the training, education, and leadership development of young women with bleeding disorders. Leslie Situ-Ferber was the 2013 SSMF Scholarship recipient. We asked her a few questions about how the scholarship has made a difference in her life.
Why did you apply to the SSMF?
I applied to the SSMF because I wanted to be more involved in the bleeding disorder community on a global level. With my family’s first-hand experience of a lack of healthcare access, I knew applying to the SSMF would allow me to gain a better understanding on how to mitigate the healthcare access gap.
What are the challenges facing women in bleeding disorders research today?
The challenges women have are being properly diagnosed, the lack of research focusing on the psychosocial impact of being misdiagnosed, and being a woman with a bleeding disorder.
Why do you feel it’s important that this scholarship be awarded to a woman?
With the bleeding disorder community putting a heavier emphasis on men, awarding this scholarship to women makes an important point that women are just as important as men in the bleeding disorders community.
How did receiving the scholarship impact your involvement in the bleeding disorders community?
This scholarship reaffirmed my passion for the bleeding disorder community and gave me the encouragement to start and finish my Masters in Public Health. Many of my projects and much of my research during my degree was focused on bleeding disorders.
What was the most important thing you learned from your participation in the WFH World Congress?
The most important thing I learned was how the experiences of passionate people in the global bleeding disorder community can make a difference in your own life.
If you had a single sentence of advice to give the next recipient of the SSMF, what would you say?
Have an open mind and open ear.
Are you still involved in a bleeding disorder organization and if so, what is your role?
I’m still a volunteer at my local hemophilia organization chapter as a co-chair for their teen program, helping them with their summer camp evaluations. I also started working for a hemophilia product manufacturer in community relations and education.
To find out more about the Susan Skinner Memorial Fund Scholarship (SSMF), Leslie Situ-Ferber, and the many other SSMF scholarship recipients, please click here.