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Meet Our Alumni: Titilola Falasinnu, PhD

Mar 05, 2018 |
  • At A Glance: Titilola’s Career Path – hover here

    What did the PhD give you?

    My research toolkit became more sophisticated because of the training I got in this program.


    What advice to you have for current students and recent graduates?

    Take advantage of funding opportunities that allow travel to other institutions.


    Interesting Fact


    I used to work as an epidemiologist for the Department of Health in Washington D.C.

Titilola Falasinnu gets up every morning thinking about the women in her life who have been affected by lupus.

Working as a post-doctoral fellow in health research and policy at Stanford University, Dr. Falasinnu says the death of her friend Jojo and the diagnosis of another friend and a relative has fueled a need to help in the understanding of the disease, which occurs more frequently in women and racial minorities.

“We live in an age where research funding is scarce and every time I feel discouraged, I remember these women and it gives me a renewed sense of obligation and ultimately motivates me.”
PhD alumna Dr. Titilola Falasinnu

Prior to completing her PhD at the School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) in 2015, Dr. Falasinnu studied for a Master’s degree in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins and worked as an epidemiologist for the Department of Health in Washington DC for around four years. Here, she was responsible for developing epidemiological reports about HIV/AIDS and STI prevalence for the city.

Health research and policy is important because of its translational aspect, Dr. Falasinnu says: her work in lupus aims to ultimately understand the role race and social context play in the disease mechanisms and outcomes.

“My research toolkit became more sophisticated because of the training I got in this program.”
PhD alumna Dr. Titilola Falasinnu

An average day at work for Dr. Falasinnu is spent writing and conducting analyses in statistical software, including writing abstracts for conferences, manuscripts, and working on grant proposals, she says. The doctoral program at SPPH broadened her quantitative skills and she received “world class training” in qualitative research, social epidemiology, and critical appraisal skills.

“I have found the multidisciplinary training I got at SPPH is a bit rare in the job market…this often translates to me becoming a different kind of job candidate – more interesting and often more well-rounded.”
PhD alumna Dr. Titilola Falasinnu

Dr. Falasinnu says she first enrolled at SPPH to take advantage of the strong collaboration between the School and the BC Center for Disease Control, as well as to work with Dr. Jean Shoveller. She made life-long friends during her time at the School, and her supervisors were “some of the kindest people I have ever met.” She found the most useful course was Applied Epidemiology Methods (SPPH 504), which walked her through the process of developing a research idea to writing a research protocol to the product of a manuscript.

“I’m grateful for the life-long friends that I have made at SPPH…Every day I hung out with these people was an adventure and some form of mischief and hilarity always ensued.”
PhD alumna Dr. Titilola Falasinnu

Dr. Falasinnu’s advice for current doctoral students is to take advantage of funding opportunities that allow travel to other institutions for training courses or internships so that they can explore future employment opportunities at these institutions and seek out collaborations, and seek out dissertation work with affiliated institutions. “These organizations are a rich source of potentially ground-breaking translational work.”

With a career goal of becoming well-established in the field of rheumatology, especially in the epidemiology of lupus, Dr. Falasinnu aims to be tenured or in a tenure track position in the next 10 years.

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