"Your path to a health profession is uniquely yours. Try not to compare your path with others. Take your time...and enjoy the process!"
Ms. Ahazie attended SHPEP in 2018 at Western University of Health Sciences. Today, she a research assistant at the Center for Global Development (CGD) in Washington, DC. She recently completed a master's degree in International Affairs and specializations in Global Security and Global Health from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.
Jubilee Ahazie is a Research Assistant at the Center for Global Development (CGD) headquarters in Washington, D.C. She is a recent graduate from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, with a master’s degree in International Affairs and specializations in Global Security and Global Health. She also holds a B.S. in Global Health with minors in Health Care Studies and Natural Sciences from the University of Southern California. Before joining CGD, Jubilee worked on various issue domains within the health sector, including pandemic preparedness and response, women’s health, and aging-in-place. As a part of the Global Health Policy team, she brings her experience and interests in access to medicines and vaccines, sexual and reproductive health, and geopolitics to support CDG research projects. As an advocate for human rights, she strives to develop health policies on the local and international scale as a physician to improve health inequalities, particularly within the African context. Jubilee attended SHPEP in 2018 at Western University of Health Sciences, then became a Resident Peer Advisor-Teaching Assistant for the program in 2019 and 2020 before joining the SHPEP Alumni Advisory Board in late 2020.
What path did you take when you first started college?
I started off majoring in Human Biology at USC to work in orthopedics, more specifically sports medicine! I love sports and thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the sports medicine program at my high school and USC.
What led to your interest in a health profession?
From a young age, I was fascinated with the sciences. I also really loved helping people, so after deciding that my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut was no longer what I desired, I focused on medicine. As a sophomore in high school, I experienced neonatology, where I assisted nurses in feeding, bathing, and holding neonatal babies until they slept. I got the opportunity to develop relationships with the mothers, who demonstrated overwhelming strength and courage in such traumatizing circumstances. In a sociology class in my freshman year of college, it all clicked. After learning that my native country of descent, Nigeria, has one of the highest maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the world, I realized my purpose. By combining education, medicine, and social justice, I learned I could take my medical background and make a change not only in Nigeria but all around the globe. I learned I could be a voice for women risking death for speaking up, that I could be a part of a team dedicated to saving a tiny human’s life.
What are some of your recent milestones?
- I submitted my master’s dissertation, “Let’s Get into the Thick of It: Geopolitics and COVID-19 Vaccines, a Case Study Analysis of the Nigerian Landscape” this July!
- I started a new job as a Research Assistant at the Center for Global Development in Washington D.C. on the Global Health Policy team!
- I will walk for my master’s graduation in Geneva, Switzerland in September 2022 (which is special because I didn’t get to have a graduation for my undergraduate degree)!
- I am the Chair of the Mentorship Committee for the SHPEP Alumni Advisory Board, after serving on the Board for 2 years!
What makes your story unique?
“My name is Jubilee Nkechinyere Ahazie, and my case is different”. A simple phrase my mom had me repeat when I was young is now the foundation of my life. These words motivated my past actions and encouraged me to reach my future goals. Through my life experiences, I have found that a career in medicine connects my passion for education, science, and social justice– and allows me to create the change I want to see in the world.
Jubilee, meaning a celebration. Nkechinyere, meaning “what God has given”. My mom used to tell me that the lines on my palms are different from anyone else’s, which meant the path for my life was made just for me. That no matter how hard life can be, I have a purpose, and nothing should take away my joy or deter me from following my dreams. That is what makes my story unique: My name is Jubilee Nkechinyere Ahazie, and my case is different.
How did SHPEP influence you?
SHPEP has influenced my life in so many ways. It helped me to gain hands-on experience to prepare for my future career. I learned from amazing professors, and advanced concepts in biology, physiology, and anatomy. I had the opportunity to network, be a professional, and be confident in who I am. While these are all great takeaways from SHPEP, the most special thing SHPEP has given me are genuine friendships. I have several close friends in my SHPEP cohort (and the cohorts after me when I served as Resident Peer Advisor-Teaching Assistant) with whom I am still in close contact today. Two weekends ago, I had brunch with a SHPEP alumna. Last week, I attended the white coat ceremony of another SHPEP alumna. My SHPEP friendships are beautiful and long-lasting. Even if I don’t get the opportunity to talk with all of my SHPEP friends regularly, the love is always there. Once we do connect, it’s like we haven’t missed a beat.
Before joining SHPEP, I heard that you make friends for life during the program. At the time, I thought people were over exaggerating, or being cheesy. But now I know the truth– SHPEP has forever changed my life because of the people I have met through it. So much so, that I decided to commit my time to the program after completing the program, and now I am on the Board to help foster mentorship relationships and improve alumni engagement.
What is the best career advice you have received?
To consistently check in and ensure that what you are doing/where you are working aligns with who you are on the inside. Accolades, rankings, and status are all one thing – but follow where your heart and spirit lies, because that is where you will receive fulfillment!
What advice do you have for students pursuing a health professional career?
Take it day by day on your terms. Your path to a health profession is uniquely yours. Try not to compare your path with others. Take your time if you need it and try to enjoy the process!