The COVID-19 pandemic brought global public health to the forefront of everyone’s minds. For Dr Janice Lovi (MPP 2021), however, these two areas were already at the forefront of her work.
“I’ve spent most of the past ten years since graduating from medical school practising medicine in my home country, Ghana. Being on the ground in medical practice, you really come to appreciate the importance of public health and preventative medicine. I was treating many patients with complications stemming from easily preventable health conditions, such as strokes due to hypertension.”
Throughout the pandemic, Janice witnessed how important it was to invest in strengthening healthcare systems globally as “no one is safe unless everyone is safe’. During this time, she also worked at the World Health Organization supporting HIV programme implementation in Ghana. This experience taught her the importance of engaging with policymakers and collaborating with other public health stakeholders to achieve health goals.
Janice’s collective experience in clinical medicine and public health made her keen to pursue further study in a discipline that would give her a generalised understanding of how policy is made across different areas and how to overcome the obstacles many policymakers face when trying to enact change.
“I chose to study public policy because health policy is so interrelated with other policy areas, so I wanted to pursue a course with a broad overview. The Blavatnik School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) programme is among the best in the world, so it was an obvious choice. Another appeal was that the case study approach to policy challenges meant that there was the opportunity to consolidate learning beyond theory to practice.”
When Janice received her offer, she was thrilled, but the journey was not yet over. She had applied for many scholarships, and her top choice was the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship. The extensive, global alumni community of more than 30,000 former Commonwealth scholars was a particular draw for her when thinking about her future.
“One of the good things about having such a strong alumni community is that you can reach out for advice to people from your country, your continent, and your field. Being able to speak with people in your field who are a few steps ahead of you is a real benefit. In addition, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission has several networking activities and leadership training programmes throughout the academic year, which greatly enriches the scholar’s experience.”
Janice was successful in receiving a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship to pursue the MPP and joins the next round of talented individuals committed to enacting sustainable change.
Since arriving at the School, Janice has been enjoying the opportunity to explore topics outside of her comfort zone of expertise. From politics and economics to international law, the MPP has been expanding her horizons and understanding of how to implement policy effectively. Seizing every opportunity to get to know her classmates has been another priority of her time at Oxford: “Every little moment at the Blavatnik School is really unique – I learn something out of every interaction with my classmates; everybody has a really remarkable story that brought them here.”
Janice also spends her time as a Global Leadership Initiative fellow at the Oxford Character Project, a programme for Oxford master’s students focused on character and leadership training. Another highlight for her has been taking part in the Oxford Town and Gown 10k race, a charity race to support people with debilitating muscular diseases. “This is the first time I have ever run a race, and it pushed me to challenge myself and achieve something incredibly hard.”
Janice sees her future in global health policy, and she hopes to pursue opportunities in international health organisations working in this field post-graduation. For now, she hopes to enjoy her remaining time in Oxford and make the most of the rich opportunities on offer across the city.