Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
During my undergraduate degree in pharmacy, I volunteered and worked with a team of medical and pharmacy students in various outreaches in some rural communities in Nigeria. From these opportunities, I saw first-hand the very depth of disease burden, the adverse effects of antimicrobial resistance, and the abject interplay of socioeconomic status as determinants of health. These experiences sparked a keen interest in gaining further knowledge and technical skills in disease control and prevention and understanding the determinants of ill health and health outcomes. After my graduation, I practiced as a community pharmacist for three years, which reinforced the need to pursue a graduate degree in Public health.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
UBC has a well-known education system whose qualifications are valued worldwide, ranking one of the best universities in Canada. The prestige of being a world-class and socio-culturally diverse learning space with an academically excellent faculty made UBC the top school on my list.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I was incredibly intrigued by Prof Amee Manges's research using next-generation sequencing (metagenomics) and other technologies to learn about microbiome functions. Her current project investigates how the intestinal microbiome contributes to undernutrition and environmental enteric dysfunction in low resource settings, which I find fascinating. The MPH program offers a fantastic practicum opportunity, which provides a platform for students to integrate classroom learning and practice in a population or public health work environment. The well-structured curriculum that encompasses Epidemiology, Biostatistics and basic concepts in Program planning, social determinants of health, and qualitative research would enable me to contribute to an organization's mandate and address a population's problem.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
Vancouver is undoubtedly one of Canada's most beautiful cities, with beautiful scenery and fantastic weather. The best surprise was to see that the city only gets few days of snow in a year. Overall, it has been a memorable experience integrating with people here in UBC and Vancouver.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Working with the logistics management coordinating unit as a public health pharmacist was invaluable in preparing me for my graduate program. I was involved in the entry and evaluation of data on HIV and engaging health care professionals in primary care facilities on proper dispensing and documentation of HIV drugs. More so, my years of experience as a community pharmacist before graduate school exposed me to the reality of public health and the disease burden in the city where I worked. This experience made me realize that several socioeconomic factors have a role in health outcomes.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
As an aspiring public health professional, take advantage of the rich Global Health curriculum and the prestige of a world-class and socio-culturally diverse learning space. Reach out to professors you admire and ask for an informational interview. Explore UBC’s resources, such as workshops and career fairs. Seek guidance from your colleagues and teaching assistants; they come in handy in times of need. Be confident and intentional when reaching out to scholars and experts in the field you may be interested in for practicum and career.