Etinosa Oghogho has a passion for helping people and a passion for public health. Those dual passions recently landed her an internship at the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organization (WHO) Headquarters in Geneva.
“It was a great experience at the WHO, and I believe it has undoubtedly helped to bolster my career in global health and honed my research skills,” says Etinosa.
Etinosa, a native of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria, earned her bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from Covenant University in Nigeria. She also earned a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Community Health Education and Behavior from Georgia Southern University. Her research interests revolve around maternal and child health, global health, sexual and reproductive health, social determinants of health, and health disparities. Her dissertation research is centered on Vesico-Vagina Fistula (VVF) and its impact on the quality of life of affected women in Nigeria. The goal of her research is to influence the development of culturally-sensitive programs and policies to prevent VVF in the country.
Etinosa first became interested in public health while working on her undergraduate degree. While taking public health courses, she began to develop stronger interests in public health because she could relate what she was learning to the real world.
“I could practically relate to children and aged people dying because they were unaware that having a clean environment, using mosquito nets, or simply taking anti-malaria drugs could have prevented their ailments,” says Etinosa.
Experiences at the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory and the National Youth Service Corps program in Ekiti State, Nigeria, along with interactions with public health experts, expanded her knowledge about the public health field and strengthened her belief in health education, awareness, and promotion as the best form of preventive medicine. While at the WHO, Etinosa conducted research focused on making health systems stronger and on access to sexual and reproductive health services among women in low- and middle-income countries.
When considering where to pursue doctoral studies, Etinosa considered factors such as quality of research, strength in maternal and child health, faculty commitment to minority student development, networking opportunities, and post-graduate employment prospects. FIU excelled at all of these factors. Receiving funding via a graduate assistantship award was also an important factor in choosing FIU.
“As an international student from Nigeria, receiving the Graduate Assistantship award in addition to my family support truly influenced my coming to FIU,” says Etinosa, who is in the third year of her doctoral program. “After two years in the Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Department in the Stempel College of Public Health, I can confidently and joyfully say that I made the right decision. FIU is the perfect place for me.”
Since her enrollment into the doctoral program in Fall 2017, Etinosa has participated in two medical mission trips to Haiti and Nigeria with multi-disciplinary teams of medical and healthcare professionals. In Haiti, the teams delivered a sexual and reproductive health education program to approximately 300 women and adolescent girls. In Nigeria, Etinosa helped provide access to free medical care to approximately 1800 people.
“I am very passionate about helping others and deeply committed to international development,” Etinosa says.
Etinosa’s passion for helping others also includes her own community. She volunteers as a trained HIV/AIDS and STI peer educator for the Florida Department of Health. She’s also a volunteer at the Miami Rescue Mission Cover Girls program, where she helps women fleeing from domestic violence, sexual assault, and homelessness.
After completing her doctoral degree, Etinosa will seek a post-doctoral fellowship position where she can continue her research on VVF. After her post-doctoral fellowship, she plans to set up a non-governmental organization with the mission of advocating for the health and well-being of Nigerian girls.
“The NGO will focus on advocating for the educational rights of girls while providing sexual and reproductive health education, healthcare, and job training services,” Etinosa says.