Israa Mustafa, Medical Cannabis Diversity Intern
by Vireo Health

As a physician-founded, science-focused cannabis company, Vireo Health is committed to furthering the medical understanding and acceptance of cannabis as a safer, less-addictive alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals.

As part of that commitment, Vireo’s Medical Education Team creates research partnerships and educational programming, including clinical trials and studies with world-renowned organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, Park Nicollet, Montefiore Medical Center, Northwell Health, and The Medical Education team also works with several universities to allow students pursuing a Doctorate in Pharmacy (PharmD) to do their rotations at Vireo dispensaries.

Recently, Vireo started a Medical Cannabis Diversity Internship to provide opportunities for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) candidates who are studying in a related field and interested in joining the cannabis industry.

Earlier this month, we hired our first Medical Cannabis Diversity Intern, Israa Mustafa!

Israa is currently an undergraduate at Yale University studying neuroscience. During her first year at Yale, she was selected as the first-year liaison for the Yale Black Women’s Coalition. Israa is also a board representative of the Black Pre-Health organization at Yale, specializing in health policy and current events.

We recently caught up with Israa to hear more about her background, why she wanted to intern with Vireo, and her work as the Medical Cannabis Diversity Intern

Q. Tell us a little about yourself? Where are from? Where do live now?

My name is Israa. I am 19 years old and I am from Plano, Texas. I lived there all my life until starting college. Since then, I have been living in and exploring New Haven, CT.

Q. What made you interested in the Medical Cannabis Diversity Internship at Vireo?

This internship really interested me because it encompasses a lot of my values and who I want to be in the future. I love how this internship, and by extension Vireo, genuinely encourages inclusivity in its studies and efforts regarding cannabis. I know of few other organizations that prioritize inclusivity, let alone healthcare related companies. Vireo’s values as a medical organization truly make me believe that an anti-racist, pro-LGBTQIA+, anti-misogynistic, unprejudiced healthcare field is possible!

Q. What does Diversity, Equity and Inclusion mean to you?

To me, diversity, inclusion, and equity are all intertwined. One cannot exist without the other. This means making the world a more accepting, understanding, just, and representative place for all people. It signifies that people of any identity are welcomed into any society and have equal access to healthcare, job opportunities, and education. It is also important to create a space for people to be able to voice themselves and their concerns.

Q. Why is making a difference important to you?

This intersection of ideals also goes into my idea of making a difference. I believe all actions, ideas, thoughts, and sentiments should help make the world more inclusive and progressive for all. To me, progressing the boundaries of humanity through scientific, historical, economic, societal, or political developments, is one side of the coin. Yet, a true difference is made when those developments uplift unheard voices and contribute to making society a more accepting place for all races, religions, and genders.

Q. What are your favorite activities outside work?

I love to play my cello! I’ve been playing it since I was 11 and it has become such a relaxing hobby of mine. I also love drawing and watching movies!

Q. Anyone you would like to “Shout-Out”?

I want to give a big shout out to my family! I couldn’t have made it this far without them! They are always there for me and have always supported me. I also want to give a big shout out to Dr. Paloma Lehfeldt and the entire DEI and Medical Outreach and Education teams for making this transition to Vireo so welcoming, exciting, and informative!

Thank you to Israa for sharing her story with us! Stay tuned for more updates about Israa’s work as the Vireo Health Medical Cannabis and Diversity Internship.

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