Lois Dankwa, PhD

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Health Policy and Management

What inspired you to study public health? 

I am committed to understanding the nuance in individual and community needs, to work towards adaptable health care solutions that will work for people when and how they need them. I truly believe that a lack of community resources should not be a barrier to individuals having services that meet their needs. From the time that I’ve spent in public health, I have witnessed and am motivated by systems that truly respond to people’s needs. I continue to be inspired by people who share a similar commitment.

What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far? 

My interest in health policy stems from years of on-the-ground research, where I worked with different stakeholders to identify health needs, causes of disease, and possible health solutions for chronically ill patients. As a naturally curious person, I am drawn to the research process and investigating topics in their fullness. It was this same curiosity that led me to pursue a PhD focusing on health services research and policy, which has been one of the most rewarding and enlightening career experiences that I have had to date. One moment that particularly stands out is my qualitative research – I had the opportunity to conduct 29 interviews to learn from health services and policy leaders from local to national levels to understand barriers to collaboration across clinical and community teams. During this moment, I learned more about how stakeholder perspectives differ around the same topic and how their priorities influence their engagement with each other. Both while completing my dissertation and throughout my studies I have loved talking and learning from as many people as possible to continue to expand my capacity to think outside of the box when it comes to health care solutions.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career? 

In my career, I hope to contribute to care management transformation that will ultimately reduce health disparities and improve overall population health.


Because public health is such a big field, with many subfields, important early advice would have been a reminder to stay focused on how my own strengths can contribute. It can be very easy to overcommit oneself because of a larger commitment to helping people. But it is important to be clear about what area you are most passionate about contributing to, when it comes to public health impact because it can be very easy to become overwhelmed.

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