SER Member Insight – Ejakuwa Abubakar

website builder What sparked your decision to become an epidemiologist?
I was working as a HIV doctor in Nigeria, in a rural area with HIV prevalence of 10%, where the epidemic was primarily driven by mother to child transmission of the virus. Through a combination of targeted, data driven public healthcare and improved community participation in healthcare, my team and I saw HIV prevalence in the community drop from 10% to 4.7% within 4 years and massive improvement in the overall health of the community. This was the start of my journey in public health and epidemiology, and an interest in all the ways data could be used to address health inequities and improve the health of populations.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing epidemiologists in the next five years?
The public’s distrust of all things public health, and a lack of understanding of what epidemiology is, and how our processes work

Do you have any pets?
No pets now, unfortunately.

Why did you join SER? What keeps you coming back?
I love the sense of community and oneness SER fosters among its members, as well as the opportunities provided for growth as an epidemiologist.

What advice do you give students who want to become epidemiologists?
Know that you can absolutely change the world through epidemiology, that every piece of data you work on, could be key to improving health outcomes for marginalized and underrepresented communities. Keep working on improving your skills, take every opportunity to learn something new, and keep hope alive.

Outside of epidemiology what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy reading, hiking, and experimenting with traditional food recipes from around the world.

What is something that not many people know about you?
Not many people know that I enjoy martial arts and trained in Taekwondo, Muay Thai and Kickboxing.