Q&A with Janet Okraku-Mantey, MD, MPH Candidate
Morghen Philippi, MPH global health concentration student and graduate research assistant for Research, Innovation and Global Solutions, interviewed Janet Okraku-Mantey, MD, about her summer practicum at Kybele, her experiences at Gillings, and her plans for post-graduation.
What was your background before enrolling in the MPH program at Gillings?
Will you tell use more about your summer practicum with Kybele?
My summer practicum was divided into 2 products: a literature review and a quantitative data analysis. The project was assessing patient satisfaction and perceived quality of care in maternal health unit of four regional hospitals in Ghana. The literature review entailed looking through various search engines for studies and methodologies on assessing patient satisfaction focusing on maternal health, including various instruments or tools in low-income settings. The aim was to make comparisons between our project and similar research and investigate the impact of larger sample sizes on results. Additionally, we also looked at other tools utilized within similar studies for future research on maternal health and patient satisfaction.
The opportunity to work with Kybele was very fulfilling for me because the area of focus was my home country, Ghana and I was familiar with the hospitals in question. As a physician, I had a clear mental picture of the issues that came up because I could relate my past experiences working in the Ghanaian healthcare system to the study’s observations. On the other hand, my experiences blinded me. I was surprised with some of the results the study produced. For example, patients described the quality of care as excellent when providers introduced themselves, even more than when their pain was managed well during labor. This showed me that the patient’s perception is very crucial in assessing quality of care and very contrary to what some providers may think.
What does “global health” mean to you?
Global health to me means a myriad of things, ranging from population health in the global setting to ensuring that there is equitable, safe health care beyond borders. All patients should be treated with the utmost care, and this can be done by understanding the environment and culture we find ourselves in when providing care for our patients.
What has been a highlight of your time at Gillings?
My proudest public health accomplishment to date is being accepted into the Gillings School of Public Health. This marked the beginning of my public health journey and opened the door to numerous public health opportunities for me. To be more specific, I would say the highlight of my time at Gillings would be during the SPHG 713 [Gillings MPH Core Course] white paper presentation where everyone set up their projects that they had worked on during the semester and we got to move around and get a taste of everything. It was amazing!
What are your plans for post-graduation?
My long-term public health goal is to become a global health public health practitioner. After graduation, I plan on specializing in pediatrics and merge it with my knowledge from public health to implement the aforementioned goal. Ultimately, my experiences and knowledge will assist me in practicing HIV care for the pediatric population in developing nations. This ultimately has and will continue to be largely influenced by my interdisciplinary pursuit of knowledge, skills and frameworks in dealing with public health issues. Overall, I foresee myself contributing to the improvement of the health of women, children and families in my medical home, Ghana and possibly across the African continent.
What are you looking forward to over winter break?
Taking a break and possibly working on my master’s paper. But, I am looking forward to spending time with family and friends. I haven’t had the opportunity to communicate and enjoy the little things with them because of school so, I am excited to play catchup with everyone.