Q&A with Elikem Togo, PhD student in Maternal and Child Health & FHI 360 Fellow
We at Research, Innovation and Global Solutions, interviewed Elikem Togo about her professional background prior to Gillings, her PhD program in Maternal and Child Health, her role as an FHI 360 Fellow, and what global health means to her.
What was your background before enrolling in the PhD program at Gillings?
Before starting my PhD, I was at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, completing my MPH in Community Health and Prevention. During my MPH program, I worked on a large social media and health project, some Philadelphia-based maternal and child health projects, and completed a practicum as a Title V intern with the state of Wisconsin.
Can you tell us about your PhD program in Maternal and Child Health?
My first year in the MCH PhD program has been both rewarding and challenging. From writing my first systematic review, working on a manuscript, and learning how to code in SAS, I have learned so much and have been able to work with incredible professors and researchers along the way. I look forward to continuing my research and course work in my second year.
Will you tell us more about your FHI 360 Fellowship?
As an FHI 360 Fellow, I am working on the Research for Scalable Solutions (R4S) project and a few projects in the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (RMNCH) division. R4S is a multi-national family planning implementation science project based in Africa and Asia, and the RMNCH projects are also family planning projects, with one based in Zimbabwe and another based in Ethiopia. Each project consists of different tasks, but so far I have done some qualitative data analysis, helped with a manuscript, created dissemination materials for global stakeholders, and have even done some French translation.
What is your favorite part of working with your team within FHI 360?
One of my favorite parts of working at FHI 360 is my colleagues. They are incredibly knowledgeable and kind and have created a collaborative environment for me to work and learn in. My second favorite part of working at FHI 360 has been the opportunity to work on a variety of global family planning projects. Improving access to family planning is my main research interest, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the field through my Fellowship.
What does “global health” mean to you?
Global health to me means leveraging each community’s existing assets and exchanging knowledge and ideas to achieve health for all. Each community has valuable knowledge to share.
What drew you to the Gillings School of Global Public Health?
The ample global health research opportunities, incredible faculty, and vast research network drew me to Gillings.
What is your dream job?
My dream job is to work as a maternal and child health researcher, with a focus on improving access to family planning in both domestic and global settings. I also hope to assist community health organizations in building their research capacity.
What was the last photo you took?
A plate full of oysters from a recent trip to Vancouver, British Columbia!