In our Alumni Career Spotlight series, you will meet some of our alumni and learn about the important work they are doing to create a healthier nation and world.
Employer: UW School of Medicine and Public Health, Public Health Madison and Dane County
Current position: Population Health Fellow (Maternal and Child Health/FIMR)
Location: Madison, WI
Degree(s): Bachelor of Science in Health Services Management, IUPUI, 2020; Bachelor of Arts in French, IUPUI, 2022; Master of Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Science and a focus in Global Maternal and Child Health, IUPUI, 2022
Why did you choose your major/program?
I always wanted to be in healthcare. I became interested in education, outreach, and prevention. I decided to chose a path in public health. As I worked in the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion at IUPUI, I quickly realized that improving community and population health is my passion. So I decided to pursue an MPH with a concentration in SBS.
Do you have any research interests?
I was always interested in women and children’s health. Growing up in Guinea-Conakry, there are many issues that women and children face such as gender-based violence, inequality, malnutrition, etc. When I moved to the United States, I observed similar issues.
Addressing MCH issues are very important for the health and well-being of women and their children but also it is important to know that improved maternal health benefits not just the mother and her family’s health, but also the number of women in the workforce, which boosts the economic prosperity of communities and nations. So I think we need more folks involved in GMCH especially that it is one of the most important healthcare priorities.
My other interests that I would like to explore more include immigrant health in the United States, children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, and the well-being of mothers and children living in Africa.
Briefly describe your career path.
I was very involved at IUPUI. It has always been my home since I moved to the United States. I worked in the Division of Student Affairs at the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion, the Office of Housing and Residence Life, and the Office of International Affairs as an international peer mentor. I also worked in the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion as the graduate assistant for the social justice education program in the Multicultural Center (these are some highlights of my many leadership roles on campus).
The involvements helped me grow so much into the person I am today because I had the opportunity to interact with and serve people that are different from me. I also received multiple awards on campus. I learned and developed many skills that apply to my career path.
I am currently in the Wisconsin Population Health Fellowship program at the University of Wisconsin (UW) in Madison.
Describe what an average day for you might be like.
In my new role, an average day for me consists of having my breakfast first to be energized, meeting with my supervisor and the different teams I am in, to talk about MCH or FIMR planning. I meet with many different people and have the flexibility to be involved in projects or topics that interest me. Ever since graduation I get to have my weekends to relax, spend more time with family and friends, or volunteer when I can.
What advice would you give your college self about pursuing your current career path or industry?
I am very proud of the career path I’ve taken and the connections I made. I want to thank my college self for creating lifelong connections, utilizing career services that led me to this prestigious fellowship program in Wisconsin, and other opportunities through Indianapolis while in grad school.
I am thankful that I set up meetings with my advisors when necessary, to help me explore my career options. In undergrad I was in HSM and had the opportunity to learn a lot about health administration. Pursuing an MPH gave me the community health experience that I heartily enjoy! I am super proud of what I did. I only wish I had spent more time in public health during undergraduate outside of my campus involvements, because in grad school I had a lot of catching up to do.
What is a lesson learned at FSPH that you have been able to apply to your career?
Almost everything I have learned in my MPH program applies to my current role and what I foresee to be my career path. I am very proud of that! I have also learned that seizing any opportunities in my capacity is important, especially if it benefits my growth and the community, which is very helpful to my career and goals that I hope to achieve in the future.
What is the most significant thing that’s happened to you since graduating?
I started a project called “Helping Hands” in January 2022. It consisted of collecting donations for two orphanages in Conakry, GN (Kiridiya) and Coyah (Dimakanai). The project was a total success. I was able to get a lot of clothing from residents in Indianapolis and raised monetary donations that helped me alleviate the cost of shipping to Guinea.
We collected so many clothing donations, and sent six big barrels full of clothing that are new or in very good condition. I supervised and delegated tasks to a volunteer team of 17 people for our two service days. We distributed clothing to two orphanages and one of the national maternity clinics (Ignace Deen). My team and I were able to also provide food for the children, the orphanages’ staff, the mothers, and the hospital providers.
This is a project that holds a big place in my heart and I am hoping to get more support to keep it sustainable, to expand the area to serve such as other African countries and other places in other continents in the world.
What’s next for you?
As mentioned previously, I just started a position as a population health fellow for the Wisconsin Population Health Fellowship program with UW School of Medicine and Public Health and the UW Population Health Institutes. I am placed in Public Health Madison and Dane County for the next two years where I am doing FIMR work and other MCH and population health-related work.
My dream job is to work for any global and humanitarian organization or any of the UN agencies (such as UNICEF, WHO, UN Women) or US AID or an embassy.
What is your favorite IUPUI/FSPH memory?
My favorite part about IUPUI is my many involvements on campus. I remember always being late to most of my classes because I would always see two or three people that started a conversation with me. I enjoyed being an international peer mentor and the resident assistant of the International House. I had so much fun with my mentees and my residents, just showing them around, which reminded me of when I first came to the United States. I really loved and enjoyed the opportunity of supervising amazing social justice scholars.
I just really loved my experience at IUPUI. It was very unique and special. At the School of Liberal Arts I had some amazing connections that gave me the first opportunity to be involved and I also got scholarships to study abroad in Aix en Provence, France. At FSPH, I also got scholarships and I am thankful that I met some of my best friends during undergrad.
In grad school I really enjoyed the growth and the knowledge that was poured into me. I had an amazing and unique relationship with most of my professors. I also really loved the environment we created within the MCH cohort, it was just inclusive, fun evening classes, engaging. I’m thankful for the multiple awards that I got or was nominated for on campus and in the community. I will miss going to award dinners and the identity-based dinners (Africa Night, MLK, Harvey Milk, Caesar Chavez, Asian Heritage).
I am privileged with my education and opportunities, and I am thankful!