“I’m excited to be back at such an authentic and accomplished institution,” says Melissa Janssen, who has returned to McMaster University to complete her graduate studies in Global Health.
Janssen obtained her Honours B. Arts Sc. in McMaster’s innovative Arts & Science program, where she benefited from the curriculum’s focus on self-directed, interdisciplinary learning. “My undergraduate opportunities, both at McMaster and the University of Ghent in Belgium, introduced me to the powerful, sustainable solutions that are possible when unique and complementary minds work in unison,” explains Janssen, who credits these experiences with igniting her passion for culture, diversity and global wellness.
Though her previous research at St. Joseph’s Hospital has had a strong, clinical focus on diabetic nephropathy, she is excited to “put down the pipettes and venture beyond the lab bench” to pursue her current interests in health equity, and how health and health access can be adequately addressed in the age of globalization and development.
Her interests in these issues were cultivated during three months spent in Angola, Africa, shadowing McMaster’s associate clinical professor, Dr. Stephen Foster. Janssen explains: “What began as daily clinical observation transformed into a passionate inquiry into the systems, structures and policies that governed Angolan healthcare” – an inquiry that ultimately brought her back to McMaster.
In her graduate studies, Janssen looks forward to exploring “the dialogue between politico-humanitarian matters and hard science,” and believes the Global Health program offers the perfect platform.
“I feel very lucky to be learning learn from the brilliant Global Health faculty,” says Janssen, “and I’m most excited working with my classmates towards sustainable, lasting change in a global health context.”
As a member of the Global Health Students' Advisory Committee, she is thankful to be in daily conversation with such inspiring individuals, and has high hopes for her “compassionate and determined class.”