Stephanie Aldom has journeyed through the jungles of Bolivia, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and provided nursing care in one of Canada’s largest acute care hospitals – all in an effort to make the world a better place. Now, a student in the Master of Public Health program, she is hoping to gain new skills to bring about even more change.
“I want to have the tools to go more upstream in order to stop health issues and poverty before they happen. This program is giving me all the tools I hoped it would. Everything I’m learning now is going to help me help people in the future,” she said.
Growing up, Aldom’s family was always globally focused. Her family spent time in Bolivia delivering aid, building churches and schools, and working with various charities.
Following high school, Aldom was drawn to the military where she spent seven years in the Royal Canadian Air Force as an aircraft mechanic. While the work was exciting, she didn’t find it overly satisfying and left the air force to pursue postsecondary education. She enrolled in the Compressed Time Frame Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Western University.
After receiving her BSc in Nursing, Aldom spent six years as an acute care nurse at London Health Sciences Centre. Her experiences as a nurse ignited a desire to create even more change. Witnessing patients receiving treatment for preventable diseases and health issues spurred her on to further her education and consider how she could make change on a local level.
Her travels to Bolivia as a nurse as part of medical aid team to fuelled her passion. She describes her experience in Bolivia as pivotal for where she is today. “It opened my eyes to the need around the world. A lot of people think I must feel so satisfied and proud of what I have done. But I don’t. When I left Bolivia, I hadn’t changed anything. It just made me more concerned. It really raised a fire in my heart to change things,” Aldom said.
Aldom believed she needed more skills to make the kind of change she felt was needed. All roads led her to the MPH Program. In addition to the classroom experiences, the 12-month program offers students the opportunity to complete a practicum placement at a public health organization, which is one aspect of the program to which Aldom is looking most forward to. During her practicum, Aldom will spend time at the St. Thomas Public Health Unit, working on a project which promotes public health in the workplace.
Aldom is unsure where she will land following graduation the MPH program. She has applied to re-join the military, and to work with Doctors Without Borders. She would also love to work internationally with refugees in United Nations refugee camps, or focus on local promotion of healthy lifestyles. No matter which direction Aldom takes, you can be sure she will be making the world a better place.