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Tinuke Olagunju, MPH Class of 2016

By Angela McInnes, BA‘15

Tinuke Olagunju, MPH Class of 2016, may have already travelled more than 10,000 kilometres for her studies, but she believes she is at the very beginning of her educational journey.

This journey began in her birth country of Russia where she completed her medical training. After that, she began practising medicine in Nigeria. It was a homecoming of sorts for Olagunju, who grew up in the West African country.  

Working in a hospital specializing in communicable and non-communicable diseases broadened Olagunju’s experience and enriched her commitment to serving vulnerable and marginalized populations. She began to develop a greater interest in public health.

“Issues such as low income and low education levels prevented patients from accessing services even when they were available, though in many cases they weren’t,” explained Olagunju. “Realizing it was a vast problem made me want to go into public health.”

While searching online for the right program, Olagunju noticed that Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Master of Public Health (MPH) Program featured a unique case-based curriculum that directly addressed the challenge her patients were forced to deal with. With her mind made up, she booked her first flight to Canada.

Olagunju has found a new home with her MPH classmates at the Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine.

“It’s a very conducive atmosphere to learning,” she said when describing the building. “It’s comfortable and technologically advanced, so you can work and even rest here.”

The Program’s emphasis on teamwork and dedicated support from faculty members also creates a nurturing atmosphere for Olagunju, who appreciates the diverse range of disciplines and perspectives she encounters on a daily basis.

“I wake up every morning being glad to go to school,” she said.

Following her 12-week practicum at the Southwest Regional Cancer Program, Olagunju plans to stay in Canada and contribute her expertise to health promotion, disease prevention and advocacy for more equitable access to health services.

She encourages future applicants to consider the MPH Program, as it provides the necessary resources a student may need to realize their career focus and goals in the field of public health.