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Student Spotlight: Dr. Samuel Chinonso Ubechu, MD, MPH ’24 (Social & Behavioral Sciences)

May 10, 2023
by Fran Fried

Why did you choose the Yale School of Public Health?

I chose to attend the Yale School of Public Health over 10 other U.S. universities that offered me admission because of its renowned reputation for providing exceptional training to the next generation of public health leaders. YSPH’s interdisciplinary approach to public health education and research is very impressive, and I was drawn to YSPH’s focus on creating innovative solutions to public health challenges. Additionally, the opportunity to work with world-class faculty members and collaborate with like-minded students from diverse backgrounds is an invaluable experience that I could not pass up. Lastly, YSPH’s commitment to promoting health equity, healthy collaboration, and social justice aligns perfectly with my personal and professional goals, making it an ideal choice for me.

What were you doing before enrolling at YSPH?

Prior to enrolling at YSPH, I worked as a primary care physician in a tertiary healthcare institution in Nigeria. I started there immediately after graduating from medical school. In that role, I delivered comprehensive healthcare services to a diverse patient population, with a focus on preventive care, chronic disease diagnosis, and management. I also participated in community health education programs aimed at encouraging healthy lifestyles and reducing the burden of infectious diseases in rural areas. My work as a physician in Nigeria provided me with firsthand exposure to the challenges facing the healthcare system in a resource-limited setting, which drove my passion to pursue a career in public health.

What are your favorite aspects of the YSPH academic program?

There are many aspects of the YSPH academic program that I appreciate and enjoy. The small class sizes and interactive nature of the courses have allowed me to engage in meaningful discussions and positive debates with my professors and peers, which has

YSPH’s interdisciplinary approach to public health education and research is very impressive, and I was drawn to YSPH’s focus on creating innovative solutions to public health challenges.

Dr. Samuel Chinonso Ubechu, MD

further enriched my learning experience. I have found our faculty members to be very knowledgeable, passionate, and supportive. They have a wealth of experience and expertise in their respective fields, and are always willing to offer guidance and mentorship to students.

Additionally, YSPH offers several opportunities for hands-on training through collaborative research, internships, and field work, which are very valuable. These numerous opportunities allow students to work on research projects and gain practical experience in public health practice, and this helps me to apply the concepts and theories learned in the classroom to real-world situations.

What was your most impactful experience outside of class?

My participation in extracurricular activities has been a defining aspect of my experience at YSPH. My work as a senator in the Yale Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) and as a clinic director at the Yale Neighborhood Health Project (NHP) has had a significant impact.

As a GPSS senator, I serve on the funding committee that appropriates funds for various student events, activities, and projects throughout all of Yale’s graduate and professional schools. This role has provided me with the opportunity to collaborate with other graduate students to allocate resources in a way that reflects the diverse interests and needs of the student body. Through my work with GPSS, I have also gained invaluable experience in leadership, advocacy, and teamwork.

As a clinic director at the NHP, I lead a team of student volunteers in providing health screenings for hypertension and diabetes to underserved populations in the New Haven community. In this role, I have been able to leverage my medical training to deliver high-quality care to patients while also working to reduce health inequities in New Haven. The NHP is a student-run clinic at Yale University, and my role as a clinic director has helped me hone my skills in healthcare management, leadership, and teamwork.

Overall, my involvement in the GPSS and the NHP has been very impactful, both personally and professionally. These roles have provided me with the opportunity to make a positive impact in my immediate community while also developing practical skills that will be invaluable in my future career in public health.

Do you have a favorite Yale place or New Haven food?

When I’m not in class, I’m at the Yale Medical Library, partly because I work as a student library assistant and partly because the historical library gives me the peace and quiet I need to work on my papers and assignments. I love Frank Pepe’s Pizza!

What do you hope to do after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to work and collaborate with international development organizations that focus on improving health outcomes in resource-limited settings. Global organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Food Programme (WFP), the World Bank, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) share my passion for improving access to quality healthcare for underserved and vulnerable populations.

I am particularly interested in working on projects that entail evaluating health and development programs in resource-poor, low- and middle-income country settings. This would involve designing and carrying out qualitative or quantitative research studies to assess the effectiveness of different interventions in improving health outcomes in these settings. I am also interested in working on policy development and implementation projects that have the potential to improve population health outcomes.

Submitted by Fran Fried on April 27, 2023