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CPHSJ Student & Alumni Q&A Series: Onyekachukwu Anikamadu, MPH, CPH

Recent Saint Louis University Graduate, Onyekachukwu Anikamadu, MPH, CPH, did a Q&A with current second year MPH student and CPHSJ Marketing and Communication graduate assistant, Michael Vega.

Onyekachukwu Anikamadu
Onyekachukwu Anikamadu.

MV: Tell us about your personal and academic background?
OA: “I am Nigerian born and was raised in a northwest suburb of Chicago, called Lake in the Hills. I have three siblings, one older sister, one younger sister, and one younger brother, all who are my best friends. For my undergraduate career, I went to the University of Iowa and received a Bachelor or Arts degree in Health and Human Physiology with a concentration in Health and Human studies in 2018. Then in 2020 I began the Master of Public Health program at Saint Louis University (SLU) in which I concentrated in Global Health and Maternal & Child Health as well. After my graduation in May 2022, I continued with SLU in their PhD program of Public Health Studies with a concentration in Behavioral Science and Health Education.

What sparked your interest in Public Health? 
“During my time at the University of Iowa, I followed a pre-medical track but eventually lost interest in individualized care. It was my father who introduced me to the public-health field and shared that he envisioned me as a public-health professional rather than a medical doctor. One summer I worked at an OB/GYN clinic for Northwestern Medicine where I realized that individualized care is great but I had a lot of questions about the health of women and children at a global level. After completing my MPH degree, I decided that continuing with a PhD was a great way to continue the search and investigation on the health determinants for women and children worldwide.”

What research are you currently involved in?
“I currently do research with Dr. Juliette Iwelunmor. The research is primarily on HIV PrEP use among youth in Nigeria. Through this research opportunity, I was able to travel to Nigeria this summer to work with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research on PrEP and HIV Prevention. I also participated in a four-week PrEP Innovation Bootcamp hosted by ‘4 Youth By Youth,’ in which I helped facilitate locals in designing innovative solutions to encourage PrEP usage and adherence amongst high risk youth aged 14-24 in Nigeria.”

Where do you see yourself five years from now?
“I cannot yet pinpoint a single organization in which I see myself working within 5 years, however I do know I want to be part of an agency or organization that helps women and children in Nigeria to combat mortality rates of children and women during birth.”

What is something your classmates don’t know about you? 
“When I first meet people, I tend to be very shy and introverted. It usually takes a bit for me to open up and become comfortable with new people I meet. ”

Share some of your hobbies, favorite foods, restaurants around St. Louis, music and films?
“I enjoy cooking, online shopping, and braiding hair. One of my favorite television series and movies are ‘Sister Sister’ and ‘Halloween Town.’ In St. Louis, I must admit that I have not found many restaurants that I truly like, but if I had to choose one, it would be Prime 55. My favorite food, on the other hand, is Jollof Rice. When it comes to my favorite artists, it comes down to Michael Jackson or Bob Marley.”

College for Public Health and Social Justice

The Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice is the only academic unit of its kind, studying social, environmental and physical influences that together determine the health and well-being of people and communities. It also is the only accredited school or college of public health among nearly 250 Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States. Guided by a mission of social justice and focus on finding innovative and collaborative solutions for complex health problems, the college offers nationally recognized programs in public health and health administration.