My desire to address health inequity and research practices stem from a long academic history of varying fields of study and interest. I began my undergraduate degree majoring in biochemistry. Initially, I set out to utilize my major as a method to lead me to the field of medicine, however I quickly took an interest with research. Following this interest, I had many opportunities to work with talented professors within the community of health research on projects that ranged from examining the bioactive and antioxidant component of canola oil and impacts on the cardiovascular system, to nutrigenomics and vitamin transporter genes. While these areas of research were very valuable and extremely interesting, I soon noticed that a large portion of the progress in these areas of research relied heavily on the economic viability of the results. I began questioning then who would benefit from the research that was being conducted in my field of interest and whether this research was actually being done to address the root issues found within the existing global community in terms of health inequality. As Nelson Mandela famously stated: “Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times – times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry, and wealth accumulation – and they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.”
I have been involved with organizations like UNICEF, Save the Children, Amnesty International and Doctors without Borders very early on in my life. Through my volunteer experience, I was introduced to a world in which an individual’s geographic location at birth directly influenced rates of both survival and disease. Children and particularly young children are the most vulnerable to environmental health hazards. Through the desire to be a part of producing sustainable solutions to these issues, I changed directions in my education and pursued a BSc majoring in Human Nutritional Sciences with minors in psychology and chemistry.
My belief is that every child has the right to grow up with the resources to live with full potential and that ending inequality’s “lottery at birth” reality should be one of the biggest priorities for the future. Particularly, my interest falls with examining how children’s health and development are affected by inequities like food insecurity, poor housing conditions, exposure to toxins and trauma. As such, I plan to continue on to graduate studies in the area of public health, to explore this issue.