While completing a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of British Columbia in 2011, Nicola Gailits travelled to Paris to study International Relations at Sciences Po University.
“I’ve always had a passion for health and travel,” says Gailits, who explains that, “as my world view expanded, I realized I wanted to look at problems beyond my own borders.”
In 2014, she graduated from UBC and spent the year living and working in Buenos Aires, exploring Argentinian culture. Returning to Canada, she says she was drawn to McMaster’s transdisciplinary Master of Science in Global Health program.
“The program is a perfect fit because it allows me to continue pursuing many multi-faceted interests, simultaneously,” she says, adding: “I believe that innovation and invention occur at the boundaries between disciplines – the place where ideas and fields collide as they cross the limits of what was previously thought possible.”
Gailits says she is fascinated by global mental health, as well as culture and ethics, and plans to complete a thesis that intertwines all three of these fields of interest, before embarking on a PhD.
“In our globalized world, how can we decide what ethical research in the Global South looks like, given the multitude of cultural differences?” Gailits muses. “ And how can we examine the global burden of mental illness, while ensuring that the practices and traditions of local communities are sufficiently incorporated?” These are some of the issues she hopes to tackle.
Elected by her peers as a member of the Global Health program’s Advisory Committee, Gailits says she is excited about the opportunity to provide leadership and advocacy to ensure the program is offering high quality learning and a supportive environment.