By Keisha Jefferies, Dalhousie School of Nursing
For me, winning the global health award goes beyond the recognition of my global health contributions. Since beginning my academic/ professional journey, I have worked extremely hard to overcome various obstacles and challenges. To be recognized as an upcoming leader, especially in global health, shows that determination, hard work and support truly are keys to success. Receiving the Dr. Ronald Stewart Student Award reminds me that I have an amazing support system in the School of Nursing (SON), the Global Health Office (GHO) as well as the amazing individuals from the African Nova Scotian (ANS) community. I would not have been able to achieve even a fraction of what I have thus far without the unrelenting support of these individuals.
My interest in global health stems from my background as a neonatal intensive care nurse and a member of the ANS community. After completing my BScN, I worked at the IWK Health Centre with a diverse care team and patient population. This is where I gained both the knowledge and inspiration to pursue studies in maternal and child newborn health. As an ANS woman, I have first hand experience regarding the systemic and institutional barriers that contribute to inequities amongst marginalized groups. This is why I am inspired to share knowledge and experiences related to the ANS circumstance. Moreover, in recognizing my own opportunities and good fortune, I would like to use my platform as a way to motivate and empower individuals in my community.
Going forward, I will continue to be involved in global health work through my PhD research project as well as local and international collaborations. For my PhD, I will focus on the ANS experience in nursing and leadership. I will also continue to strengthen international relationships and partnerships that I have been fortunate to build over the last year.
In accepting this award, I would like to acknowledge many people who helped me achieve my goals over the last few years. These include members from my home community and the ANS community in Halifax, Drs. Megan Aston and Gail Tomblin Murphy, the SON and GHO, my colleagues, classmates and professors throughout my Masters program, and finally my close friends and family.