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U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

October Fellow of the Month

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Labibah Buraik

October 2021 Fellow of the Month Profile Photo
Labibah Buraik is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work and a psychotherapist serving minoritized population of varying ages and diagnoses for Peak Behavioral Health. She is an alumna of the Council on Social Work Education master’s program and received her MSW in 2021 from the University of St. Thomas.

Labibah was initially drawn to the MFP because of the many benefits that the program offers. She shared, “I applied for the MFP as it would allow me to enhance my training and better prepare me to be a humble, passionate, knowledgeable, and committed licensed mental health professional so that I may best serve the most marginalized and underserved populations.”

When reflecting on how the MFP has enriched her academic and professional career, Labibah shared that it provided opportunities for training, mentorship, and so much more. She explained, “The MFP provided safe spaces in which we (the cohort) could have honest and painful discussions that will lead to better service provision to minoritized communities. The trainings received have led to a greater understanding of clinical work with communities of color in both mental health and substance use. The MFP also provided the fellows with mentors that have brought about personal and professional growth that is exceedingly important for professionals of color and has greatly increased my self-confidence and my belief in my own future and success. The MFP has impacted numerous aspects of my life, including personal, professional, and academic on many levels. My knowledge and understanding have grown on the micro, mezzo, and macro levels and in multiple areas including prevention and treatment of minoritized and underserved communities.”

Participating in the MFP has benefited Labibah in numerous ways. She shared, “The MFP stipend served to cover my tuition costs; however, the networking opportunities have helped me build and nurture my professional network, including connecting with MFP alumni, mentors, as well as current MFP fellows. The exposure to guest speakers led me to apply for and be accepted into my current Ph.D. program. And my MFP mentor was exceedingly supportive and empowering and has continued to motivate me to explore research ideas, funds, and help me maintain confidence in my ability to pursue both clinical licensure and a Ph.D.”

Labibah plans to apply the knowledge and skills acquired from the MFP into her research, clinical practice, and teaching career. She explained, “The knowledge will serve as the foundation for my research and research ideas, skills to complete my Ph.D. program, as well as skills and knowledge to provide clinical services to minoritized communities.”

Labibah’s post-MFP career goals include completing her Ph.D. and serving Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. She shared, “I plan to work part-time as a therapist for a company that centers on BIPOC communities, their needs, and healing in order to pursue clinical licensure. I will also be working to complete my Ph.D. in social work by 2025-2026. Post Ph.D., I plan to serve BIPOC students as a professor of color at predominantly white institutions to alleviate some of the concerns and issues the students face and to serve as their advocate and a safe space. In addition, I plan to conduct research to better understand the educational barriers in BIPOC communities with hopes to alleviate those barriers, among other BIPOC centered research. Lastly, I plan to continue providing therapy to BIPOC individuals by opening a private practice that will allow me to better serve communities of color.”

When asked if she had any advice for anyone thinking about applying to the MFP, Labibah said, “Please do! The opportunity to connect with such a large and successful group of people of color is so humbling and empowering that it will bring you to tears. The opportunities to connect with your MFP peers will bring about friendship as well as a broader network. The knowledge and skills you will gain are also broad and many. You will have opportunities to work with and learn from your fellows, to learn from and connect with alumni, to broaden your thoughts and knowledge, and to practice direct clinical work through a virtual simulation program, among many other opportunities to learn, grow, and connect.”

In closing, Labibah has this to share, “I have enjoyed my experience with the MFP so much that I have applied and will continue to apply for the doctoral fellowship to continue to be an MFP fellow throughout my Ph.D. program. There is so much connection and humanity in each meeting that it feels like your receiving knowledge, comfort, safety, and joy intertwined. The opportunities to connect with yourself and with other fellows in such a safe and empowering community space is humbling and empowering and leads to so much personal and professional growth.”

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