Fellowship Recipient, University of Washington Department of Global Health

What inspired you to pursue a graduate degree in global health?  

Before coming to UW, I worked with Ghana Health Service leading out projects in HIV and adolescent reproductive health at Navrongo District. I received my BSc in Public Health Nursing at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Growing up as a child from a deprived home, a marginalized race that is often discriminated against and unconducive social environments hampered my childhood ambitions of rubbing shoulders with children of the rich and famous. However, such difficult situations did not deter me from achieving my dream but rather urged me to shape my future albeit the hard way. I was once told by my parents how I suffered from measles at the age of four which nearly killed me due to lack of medical care. As if that was not enough, as a child I often played with my neighbor’s dog due to lack of toys and was once bitten by the dog and sent to the hospital for treatment. That was the turning point in shaping my career ambition of becoming a public health official. Perhaps seeing how the community health nurses attended to, cared for, and supported me and my relatives anytime we visited the clinic spurred my desire to pursue a career in public health in the future. 

Why did you decide to attend the UW for graduate school?  

My exposure to nurses caring and supporting the sick at a young age encouraged me to advance my career along the lines of public health. I had the opportunity to do fieldwork with The Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Ghana to supervise Measles-Rubella Vaccine (MRV) Process. I have a strong passion for supporting the marginalized and disenfranchised communities and this is reflected in the field of public health. Based on my interest in Global Health and the intention to further my education in this area, I undertook extensive research on institutions that provide relevant courses/programs that will not only suit   my career but also expand my knowledge in Public Health. The University of Washington Master of Public Health with a focus on Global Health came out tops. 

What are your research interests? 

The willingness to help the community more efficiently no doubt influenced my decision to pursue the Master of Public Health Program. I am looking forward to gaining more knowledge that would help me play a role in minimizing health disparities and improving health outcomes within low-income populations. It will also allow me to tackle adolescent reproductive health issues effectively and efficiently in the marginalized African Americans, immigrants, and other minority populations. 

What are you enjoying most about your graduate program? 

I love the diversity in my cohort, the different perspectives of knowledge and experiences they share in class are breathtaking. Sometimes I tell myself if one is not in this class then you are nowhere. I love my friends; we have formed such a great bond so quickly. 

How did your award influence your decision to attend UW? 

As a first-generation student, after admission to UW, I was wondering where to get money for tuition and other expenses, so when I received that message of an award in my email, I thought I was in a dreamland. The Global Health Excellence award no doubt brought some relief to me and reduce my stress so I could focus on my studies and take the advantage of the opportunities here and bond good relationships. I may not have been able to come to UW at all due to the out-of-state fees. The fellowship has also opened several opportunities since I started the program. I would be starting a Teaching Assistantship with the Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE). I am grateful for such opportunities that UW provided me. I am looking forward to gaining more knowledge that would help me play a role in minimizing health disparities and improving health outcomes within low-income populations.