Studying French through the Canadian Studies Center will directly impact my growth as a leader in global public health and add significant value to my work in implementation science to ensure all people have access to quality care and environments which promote their wellbeing. The opportunity to collaborate with Canadian NGOs and expand my understanding of the Canadian health system will provide unique insights in designing effective interventions and research studies to support the health and wellbeing of francophone communities globally, including migrant and refugee communities primarily from West Africa in both Canada and the US. Moreover, learning French will help me build strong relationships across agencies, NGOs, CBOs, and ministries of health in North America and francophone Africa, a vital step in conducting effective, equitable, and sustainable research. These relationships and French skills will facilitate the application of community-based participatory research (CBPR) approaches to identify and implement community-driven solutions, a key priority when designing my dissertation. Additionally, these connections can help to facilitate knowledge exchange and partnership opportunities between the US, Canada, and other francophone countries.
Following completion of my PhD, I would like to work either within an international NGO or local community-based organization leading implementation science projects to inform the scale-up of effective health interventions and adaptations to different contexts. I aim to implement rigorous mixed-methods study designs to evaluate and optimize social behavior change interventions and policies which address the complex intersections across HIV prevention, gender-based violence prevention and response, and mental health programing among youth populations globally. Following this work within the NGO setting, I envision transitioning to a larger international agency and working to incorporate principles of CBPR into priority setting and guidance/policy-making processes related to these health topics.