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Marian Orhierhor

Marian Orhierhor | Master of Public Health

Who is Marian?

I’m Marian Orhierhor, a UBC Mastercard Foundation graduate scholar alumna from Delta State Nigeria. In 2019, I decided to move 6,628 miles away from home to study for a graduate degree in Public Health at UBC to pursue my academic interests in infectious disease epidemiology, vaccine-preventable diseases, and knowledge translation. Currently, I am a qualitative researcher at the Vaccine Evaluation Centre of the BC Children Hospital Research Institute, where I provide data management expertise and research support for vaccine hesitancy and Covid-19 policy studies.

Who or what inspires you?

My greatest inspiration is my mum. Over the years, she has incorporated in me the values of being independent and resourceful. She is diligent and tenacious, and through her, I have learnt how to be intentional and persistent about my goals. 

What insights have you gained from your time as an MPH student?

Studying for a graduate degree in public health, I never imagined a pandemic experience would be one of my teachers. As various events have unfolded over the past year, one of my major takeaways has been the importance of transparency and open communication when dealing with stakeholders and the public. The pandemic aggravated already existing health inequities, thus in my work, I am more invested in influencing policies that thrive to achieve health equity and address the social determinants of health. 

Another major highlight of my graduate school experience has been in the classroom environment, where I have learnt from faculty and peers’ knowledge and rich experiences. This has enriched my understanding of how perspectives are shaped by culture, exposure, education, life experiences, and religion, and indeed sometimes there are no wrong answers, just different perspectives.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your field of study?

Public health is a broad field, so it is vital to know your career interests and goals and determine what knowledge, experience and technical skills are needed. This will help you identify your areas of strength, areas where you need improvement, and would guide you in the course of your professional development and seeking opportunities. Equally important is the need to collaborate and build great relationships with mentors, faculty, and peers; you would learn a lot from their expertise and experiences, and these connections may just be the pathway to your dream job.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Outside of academia and medicine, I enjoy volunteering for social causes, visiting new places with friends and taking pictures (I love to be in front of the camera!). I also spend some time networking on social media and watching funny videos on YouTube and Instagram, and other times you can catch me watching science-fiction movies on Netflix.

Where should people go to learn more about your work?

People can learn more about me/my work via LinkedIn: Marian Orhierhor and Twitter: marian_lance. I recently co-authored this article, about public health reimagined in the context of the pandemic, for the Canadian Risk and Hazard network: http://haznet.ca/new-dawn-public-health-one-specialists-thoughts-hopes/


To read more stories, please visit: https://www.spph.ubc.ca/student-profile-miniseries

Published on March 2022.

This interview was coordinated by Ariana Choi.