As an international relations major at Connecticut college, classes that relate to public health and global health were not on my radar for a long time. I have recently become interested in the subject, and realized that as senior year was coming to a close, I had few ideas about what a job in the global health industry would look like. When I had the opportunity to attend Yale’s “Women in Innovation: Leading Yale Women in Social and Healthcare Startups” panel discussion I was eager to go. All three panelists, Barbara Bush, YC ’04, founder of Global Health Corps; Jennifer Staple-Clark, YC ‘03, founder of Unite for Sight; and Laura Niklason PhD, MD Yale faculty and co-founder of Humacyte explained origin of their respective organizations and how they ended up at the forefront of the global health community.
I was curious to hear how people who do not have any sort of health or medical background can still be involved in a global health project. When Ms. Bush spoke about her time at Yale as an architect student and Ms. Staples-Clark talked about the importance of removing barriers to care, I realized that global health is an inherently interdisciplinary undertaking. Scientific work by people like Professor Niklason, whose research into regenerative tissue and arterial implants is breaking new ground, will always be needed. But, we also need people who are experts in logistics who can get new medicines and technologies around the globe, and advocates to keep up pressure on public figures to respond to global health crises. I used to ask myself, “Should I have majored in IR? I love it, but I don’t want any of those traditional government or finance jobs!” Now, I see that instead I should be asking myself, “How can I take what I’ve learned and apply it to a complex and intriguing field like global health?” In today’s interconnected world, it’s not just what you know, but how you apply it creatively, that matters.