Occupation: Cofounder and COO of Magna Carta Health, founder and CEO of Mentoring Her
Current Residence: Baltimore, Maryland, but shuttles to and from Lagos
Degrees: MD from Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ogun State, Nigeria, 2004, MA in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard, 2014, MPH ’08
The Bloomberg School is home to over 2,000 students from more than 85 countries who meet here in Baltimore to pursue their public health education. Many of those students then return to practice public health in their home countries.
Their careers span consulting, research, academia, and more. Whether they’re influencing policy or training future practitioners, they’re all working to protect health and save lives—millions at a time.
What was the path to your degree at the Bloomberg School?
The Bloomberg School is world famous. When I realized that I needed to further my education, I didn’t think twice. I only thought of doing it at the best places, and Hopkins was ranked #1. Also, my brother, sister, and many of my family members lived in Maryland.
What do you think makes the Bloomberg School unique compared to other schools?
It’s not just a school; it is almost as if it has its own ecosystem. It is a part of Baltimore and Maryland and the people who live here. Unlike other schools, where the focus is simply to learn or get a degree, the Bloomberg School is a place of growth and experience and creating impact on your life and the lives of others.
What was your experience like living in Baltimore?
When I walked into the Bloomberg School, I fell in love and immediately felt at home. I spent a lot of time in the classrooms, but also on the streets of Baltimore. One of my most memorable courses at Hopkins was Health and Homelessness. Every Saturday, I learned about how to improve the health of the homeless population, but, more impactfully, I had the opportunity to get to know some homeless people.
Tell me about your career now. How are you applying what you learned at the School to your work?
What I learned at Hopkins assisted me in starting Magna Carta Health, an organization designed to help people improve their health with the aid of technology. It currently serves 15,000 patients a year and counting. Its focus on population health, while at the same time saving individual lives, is core to our mission. The Bloomberg School’s tagline—Protecting Health, Saving Lives—Millions at a Time—resonates with us 100%.
My new startup, Mentoring Her, is a social networking platform that uses machine learning to virtually connect female mentors with mentees in order to develop relationships and significantly increase mentees’ full lifetime potential. I also mentor clients, write for Forbes, on Medium, and on LinkedIn, and speak at events.
What has been your biggest professional accomplishment?
Starting Magna Carta Health. It was time for me to take action and do my part in saving lives, particularly since I had experienced death of loved ones from preventable diseases—and professionally experienced the same.
What career and research opportunities are available for public health professionals in your home country?
Unfortunately, not enough. With a population of almost 200 million, there is great need. However, public health and research are underfunded. Most opportunities are working with international organizations, and they are in high demand. This leads to public health professionals looking for opportunities abroad or preferring to stay in the U.S. Funding, employment opportunities, sustainability, and professional development are gaps we need to fill.
What are some of the biggest public health challenges facing your country?
There is unequal and limited access to health care in many areas in Nigeria. Issues range from underfunding for health to limited numbers of health care professionals and health facilities. The is also a prevalence of preventable diseases: 1 in 3 Nigerians has high blood pressure, 5% of Nigerians have diabetes, and there are over 100,000 advanced cases of cancer diagnosed in Nigeria each year.
What do you see as the solutions to those challenges?
To increase access to care, we need innovative solutions that can bridge the gap between the most effective and efficient ways. By utilizing technology in health care, we can support prompt diagnosis and treatment, reduce the reliance on medical personnel, improve patient outcomes, minimize complications and recurrence, and so much more. We also need a national focus on preventive versus curative care. If we focus on diseases before they happen, the likelihood of them happening—or their gravity when they do happen—will be significantly reduced.
What advice do you have for prospective public health students from your country?
Get rid of your belief that you won’t get in and apply to Johns Hopkins. If you don’t apply, you definitely won’t get in; but if you do, you just might. Current students: Find a mentor, and network, network, network. Find an internship if you haven’t already
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