Teaching Assistant, Endowed Fellowship for Global Health Excellence, Equity, and Impact

Clinical care: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania 
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Tell us a little bit about yourself  

I am a public health practitioner and a nurse by training from the University of Pennsylvania. Public health has been in the background of my path immediately after high school, after which I took a year off to prepare for college and simultaneously engage with the public health system in Rwanda as a trained volunteer birth attendant. Throughout college, I had opportunities to engage with diverse settings, such as Botswana and India, in clinical nursing, research, and quality improvement projects. After college, I worked with Partners In Health (Rwanda) in a couple of roles within the clinical department, including health promotion officer seconded to USAID- Twiyubake, as the Oncology Satellite Clinic Care Coordinator during COVID-19, and as a Manager of Clinical Programs. My work with Partners In Health solidified my desire to grow as a public health practitioner and researcher, which inspired me to look into a MPH program with a strong global health outlook and outreach, leading me to DGH at UW.  

When not engaging with school or work, I enjoy traveling, connecting with friends, practicing yoga, playing tennis, and listening to podcasts and music. I enjoy baking so long as it does not involve heat, ie tiramisu. 

Why did you decide to attend UW for graduate school? 

Throughout my exposure to global/public health, I became increasingly interested in the different areas of public health, such as -- strengthening health systems, implementing health programs, resource allocations, and social determinants of health. I would interact with the system from an experiential and clinical angle which sometimes fell short of explaining the hows (of devising contextually adequate and appropriate solutions) and whys (root causes or contributing factors), solidifying the need to expand my knowledge, learn the methods, and broaden my toolkit to enable an informed interaction with the field. At the same time, I knew I wanted to acquire knowledge and interact with faculty leading and doing the actual work and/or engaging with the field in real time. Such double exposure is important to me, and UW has the combination available to learners that I hope to leverage. 

What are your research interests? 

As a nurse, I have looked at health from an individual level and have been urged to take a holistic view of the individuals in care (systems). While this was fascinating, what felt more intriguing is the idea that I can do more for more, and that to me is looking at health systems and learning what strengthening them means in their context.  

My research interests are in improving the quality of care, streamlining care systems, and optimizing available resources in health to create resilient health systems that address barriers to dignified and adequate care in marginalized communities.  

What are you enjoying most about your graduate program? 

I have been enjoying the community at DGH. My cohort is diverse and encompasses a wide range of experiences and interests, inspiring me and making participating in the program much more fun. It is a privilege to be surrounded by such great people. Additionally, I have found the staff and faculty in the program to be super approachable and willing to connect with students adding a layer of ease in being a part of the community. Academically, the program has been engaging, eye-opening, and providing us with the practical tools necessary to participate in public health.  

I concurrently assist in teaching Introduction to Global Health: Disparities, Determinants, Policies, and Outcomes, an undergraduate course, and undertaking such a role of sharing and, at the same time consuming the knowledge and concepts in global/public health has been a much more valuable experience.