Global Health Major Conducts Research in Australia

AUGUST 29, 2017 – Tijesunimi Oni (NHS’18) is a senior at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, where she has cultivated her interests in health equity as a global health major.

Each fall, the school’s Department of International Health sends seniors to sites around the globe for a 12-credit research practicum experience.

As a part of this immersion experience, Oni is currently developing her research project in Australia with the James Cook University Division of Tropical Medicine and the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Services.

Maternal and Child Health

Oni says she is conducting “. . . research on antenatal syphilis screening among pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.”

She is working with a maternal and child health clinic at TAIHS called “Mums and Bubs.”

“Because of recent syphilis outbreaks in north Queensland and a few still births as a result of congenital syphilis, I will be looking at medical records of women who received antenatal care at TAIHS to assess if antenatal syphilis screening is occurring according to the recommended guidelines,” she says. “I will also provide recommendations to help attain more comprehensive screening in my final research project.”

‘Woman for Others’

Her Georgetown experience “. . . has truly been one of growth,” Oni says. “In my time here, I have discovered so much about myself and my passions for being a woman for others,” she says. “The Global Health Program has provided opportunities that have really enriched my educational experience.”

She highlights the major’s 3-credit community internship, which takes place during the spring semester of junior year. Oni worked at HIPS, a community health organization that serves commercial sex workers and drug users. She provided behavioral and sexual health counseling, learned HIV and hepatitis C testing, and exchanged needles.

“I truly valued this experience because it was an opportunity to get out of the Georgetown community and work with some of the District’s most marginalized groups to advocate for more equitable, accessible, and non-judgmental services to improve people’s health and overall lives,” Oni says.

Involved Student

Oni is very active on campus, serving as an orientation advisor during New Student Orientation and a resident assistant in Village A. “I have worked with amazing students,” she says.

She is proud of her work with the African Society of Georgetown, of which she is currently president. “I have worked with ASG since my freshman year to put on wonderful programs to share the diversity of African culture with the campus community,” she says.

Additionally, Oni is co-chair of the Minority Health Initiative Council at NHS and previously served on the board of the GU Minority Association of Pre-Health Students. “I have been able to provide mentorship to other pre-health students like myself, as well as educate on health disparities in D.C. and the nation,” she says.

‘Passion for Health Equity’

When asked about her future plans, Oni joked, “There is no life after Georgetown.” In reality, she hopes to pursue her interests in promoting health equity.

“Georgetown has helped me realize my passion for health equity and improving health outcomes, especially among minority groups,” she says. “So after graduation, I hope to further my education by going to medical school and pursuing a dual MD-MPH degree to become a physician and public health specialist.”

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