“I’ve always wanted to build a career in public health. I didn’t want to go to just any school. I wanted a school that would have some credibility. I wanted a place where I could gain knowledge and be able to impact my country and my community with what I’ve gained. And when you get your degree from some schools, especially in the United States, every country respects it. I didn’t want to just get any degree. I wanted to get it at a good place. So that’s how I got to the United States, and that’s why I chose Jackson State University.

I trained as a medical doctor in Nigeria. I graduated in 2011, and I practiced for about five years. In 2016, I got an opportunity to travel to the Caribbean – Grenada, precisely – to teach in the medical school. I taught there for about three years.

When I was in medical school I knew that I wasn’t going to stay in clinical medicine for a long time. We had rotations, and we had a course in public health. I was so inspired by the lectures and the instructors we had then. I was like, ‘This is where I want to be. This is what I want to be doing, helping people to prevent diseases. Being in the prevention part.’ I’m not going to go back to practicing medicine. I think I’m done with that part. But the knowledge I’ve gained in medicine is going to really help me to make an impact.

When I graduate from this program I want to go back to my country. Maybe not immediately because I want to get some experience. I want to make some contacts because these are the things I would need to be able to establish what I want to do. Nigeria is still a developing country. We’ve come a long way, but we still have problems we shouldn’t have. With the experience I gain and the collaborations I make, I will be able to help change some health policies and help to ensure that some health policies are being implemented. It’s one thing to make policies, but it’s another to implement them. And I’ll be able to educate the people because there are some little things that people should know but don’t know because nobody’s telling them. Then, the mortality and mobility we have in my country won’t persist. These are just some areas I want to look into.”

Nwanne, Ph.D. student in public health from Nigeria