“I’ve always been moved by the need to help people,” says Master of Science in Global Health student Natalia Arias.
Originally from Colombia, Arias was educated as a medical doctor in Spain, and has since gained experience in the global health field as a student, intern, volunteer, researcher and NGO collaborator. She has spent time in various countries including Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Poland, Thailand, Kurdistan, Germany, and Canada, and, as a result, has witnessed first-hand some of the differences between health systems around the world.
“I have seen, the ways in which health is influenced by factors such as culture, environment, educational system, political conflict, economics and religion,” explains Arias. “These experiences have ignited a deep desire in me to become an instrument for positive change in communities around the world.”
In addition to performing clinical work in public hospitals, Arias has been involved in several projects related to global health, focusing on issues including health promotion, human rights, pediatric services, and approaches to health determinants.
“I chose McMaster’s Global Health program because I am seeking tools to assess population health, learn about health management and health policy, and solve problems from multidisciplinary perspectives", says Arias.
With a passion for different cultures, Arias notes she is “looking forward to making connections, exploring approaches to health that go beyond the absence of disease, and finding effective ways to enable communities to flourish.”
Recently Arias was selected to represent the MSc GH program as a Graduate Student Ambassador, a role she is excited to take on. “This program offers amazing opportunities for students to expand their knowledge and experience in a global context,” says Arias. “I’m thrilled to be involved in promoting it.”