Where did you live before coming to UW and/or where are you from originally?
I was born in Tamale, in the Northern Region of Ghana. However, I lived most of my life in Kumasi and had my undergraduate studies in Cape coast which is in the Central Region of Ghana.
What is your background in public health/global health?
I grew up in a small town where the primary economic activity is farming. This environment was very challenging as there was little to no access to proper health care and education. In those days, girl/child education was considered a waste of time, as her place is in the kitchen (the situation is different now). After medical school, I went back to the Northern Region to practice and founded a nonprofit called Teen Health Ghana. This organization provides free health care services and education, as well as mentorship to teenagers in deprived communities.
Since the establishment, my team and I have been able to reach out to communities where we engaged them in programs like breast screening awareness, Hepatitis B vaccination, deworming, proper nutrition promotion, menstrual hygiene management and teenage pregnancy awareness. All these have been an effort to bridge the gap of inequal access to health care services and information especially in communities like the one I grew up in.
Why did you choose to get your MPH in global health at the UW?
I wanted to be in a position where I can merge my clinical work with making an impact in my community through research and advocacy. Studying Global Health was the right program to equip me with the skills and knowledge I needed to achieve this dream. I told myself that if I was going to get back to school then I must attend the best university available. From my numerous research and interactions with some alumni, I discovered and narrowed down my list to University of Washington which ranks among the top Universities globally. And that is how my journey begun.
What has the cohort experience been like for you (so far)?
Being an international student, I was very anxious about meeting my cohort, but so far this has not been the case. My cohort has been consistently amazing and very supportive. With all the diversity in experience, nationality, and background, we still find a common ground to interact, listen and learn from each other. If you attend one of our cohort discussions, you'll be astounded by the rich flow of ideas and information.
What do you enjoy most about Seattle?
The food! Seattle has an international population, and this is represented by the numerous eating places dispersed throughout the city. I enjoy going on "food dates” with my friends. We go 'food hunting' on these days, where we try out dishes from different countries. This has been a wonderful experience for me. I recently tried Gambian and Caribbean dishes. Luckily, Seattle has a lot of options and places where we can keep savoring international dishes. I am looking forward to the next date.
What advice do you have for students interested in applying to the program?
Firstly, for those who have tried a couple of times to be here and have not been successful, do not give up! For first timers, I want you to know that everything is possible, do not be discouraged by what folks say. If you want to be here, then go for it! And to all, start early by getting all the required documents, and keep updating yourself with information from the University.
One advice that you will hear across board is to contact a faculty member; they are very supportive and can answer all your questions. They also give the best referrals. If possible, touch base with a current or former students and ask them about their educational experiences in UW. All the very best!