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Orphée Tamba

Orphée Tamba | PhD Student

Who is Orphée Tamba?

My name is Orphée Lusakumunu Tamba. I was born and raised in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I am a medical doctor by training (University of Kinshasa / DR Congo). I have a Master’s degree in Public Health (concentration: Maternal and Child Health) from the University of Nebraska Medical center / USA). Currently, I am 2nd year Ph.D. student and a Graduate Research Assistant at the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) in the School of Population and Public Health.

I am interested in understanding the impact of social determinants of health on early childhood development and how they shape health and socioeconomic trajectories later in life.

Who or what inspires you?

My interest in early childhood development has grown over time, and many people have influenced me—first, my late father. He was a neonatal pediatrician and often shared his experience with newborns. Second, I think a bit about my own story. I spent most of my childhood and adolescence in a poor district of Kinshasa (Mbanza-Lemba). I still remember one of my childhood friends with whom we played soccer and did acrobatics together. He ended up doing petty business in front of the Faculty of Medicine where I was studying. Our lives have taken different trajectories because of the factors I seek to understand today, although in a different context. Finally, I met Dr. Abbie Raikes during my master’s program. Her supervision allowed me to identify better what I wanted to do.

How did you learn about the Ph.D. program at SPPH?

During my studies in the United States, a classmate wanted to know my plan after my master’s program. I told her about my interest in pursuing a Ph.D. program in Canada. She suggested I come to UBC, where she did her undergrad. I visited the UBC in 2018, and I loved the city. I even video recorded my journey from the airport to UBC since I fell in love with Vancouver, and here I am today.

What projects are you currently working on?

Currently, I am working on two projects. The first is to study how social determinants of health affect the activities and experiences of children aged 12 to 24 months in British Columbia.

The second one studies the association between living with a mother who has already lost a child and the development outcomes of children aged 36 to 59 months. I also collaborate on several other exciting projects.

Can you identify any other areas of study that you want to explore?

I have a growing interest in population-level data linkages and analysis. This is an area I want to explore further.

What are you most proud of about your time as a Ph.D. student?

Being part of a prestigious University like UBC as a Ph.D. student is a great pride. Still, I feel like sharing what I am grateful for. I am thankful for the opportunities I receive from my supervisor, Martin Guhn, our research team, and the Human Early Learning Partnership support. I am also grateful for the hospitality from the Musqueam territory, where I learn and live with my wife and two sons.

How do you define success?

Success is about identifying one’s reason for living and using it to make other people better and happy.

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

The current pandemic has taught us more about the crucial role of population and public health in our society. If anyone is passionate about public health -beyond all the program requirements- my advice would be to have an observant eye because public health is everywhere. You only have to open your eyes. I, therefore, encourage anyone who wants to pursue a career in public health not to hesitate.

Where can people go to learn more about your work?

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/orphee-tamba-md-mph-a6927369/ 


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.