Alumni Profile: Dr Cassandra Akinde

Cassandra Akinde

Current job title and organisation:

Clinical Research Coordinator/Research clinician with Henry Jackson Foundation Medical Research International (HJFMRI).

Can you please tell us a bit about your current work/research?

I am currently working on a WRAIR/IAVI Lassa seroprevalence study (EID023), a Nigerian component of the CEPI-funded Phase IIa Lassa Fever Vaccine Efficacy and Prevention for West Africa consortium (LEAP4WA).

I also serve as the Executive Director of The Neo Child Initiative for Africa, a non- profit organisation focused on combatting health disparities in children living in underserved communities in Nigeria by improving access to essential healthcare serves and health education. I develop, design and implement community-based projects and provide health policy-oriented solutions for the underserved communities in Nigeria. Our latest school program “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education Against Diarrhoea, Undernutrition and Pneumonia (WASHED-UP)” is currently being evaluated for its impact by Costello Medical on a pro bono basis.

What course and year did you study at LSHTM?

I studied MSc in Tropical Medicine and International Health in 2019/2020.

Why did you choose to study with LSHTM?

I chose LSHTM because it offered me the opportunity to sharpen my quantitative research, study design and data analysis skills in addition to providing me with formal training on epidemiology and control of infectious diseases.

Did you have to overcome any challenges to study with us?       

Yes, I had to quickly adjust to virtual learning and complete my dissertation during the surge of COVID-19 pandemic.

What were your favourite memories from your studies with us?

I had an incredible time at LSHTM. I enjoyed forming vital professional networks and personal relationships with my DTM&H, TMIH classmates, schoolmates, alumni and professors. I am glad to have invested myself fully into building my capacity as a global health advocate and acquiring expertise and foundational knowledge to combat health inequities globally. My favourite memories would be attending global health lectures where I got the chance to meet and engage seasoned field experts.

How has your LSHTM degree helped you in your career?

It has helped me immensely by creating limitless research opportunities through volunteering jobs, mentorship platforms and leveraging on the extensive network of global health experts to upskill my capacity.

What would you like to achieve in future?         

My next career goal would be to pursue a doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) program. By taking a DrPH, I intend to gain more robust research skills in practical setting and superior skills in data analysis and interpretation. This will serve as an opportunity to do some concentrated and rigorous study of how to develop, manage, and evaluate public health interventions in the settings I am interested in. It is my hope to use the skills I gained in this program to expand my impact on child health promotion and health services evaluation at the field level, through a deeper involvement with policy development, production of guidelines, and training protocols.

Do you have any advice for students/recent graduates?

Yes of course. My advice would be to maximize the opportunities LSHTM has to offer and investing in creating and maintaining professional relationships with peers, academic and non-academic staff.

Other comments:

I still volunteer with LSHTM as an Alumni Ambassador.

Do you have any social handles (Twitter/Facebook Usernames) you would like us to use?