Leadership is fascinating. From the way movements are formed by a single individual to how that single individual is able to inspire change amongst others. Undoubtedly, we can argue that leadership is very important in public health.
In the context of public health, a definition of leadership can be found in the Core Competencies for public health in Canada document:
“In the field of public health [leadership] relates to the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of their community and/or the organization in which they work. It involves inspiring people to craft and achieve a vision and goals. Leaders provide mentoring, coaching, and recognition. They encourage empowerment, allowing other leaders to emerge.” -PHAC (2007)
In thinking about how we, as public health practitioners, can ensure that leadership is a skill that we constantly think about building, PH SPOT is having conversations with peers so that we can not only be reminded of our roles as leaders, but also to learn from and be inspired by them.
In this episode, Sujani speaks with Dr. Nadia Akseer, an Epidemiologist-Biostatistician who has spent over 10 years leading research and analyses of clinical and population health datasets in the areas of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, as well as nutrition in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ethiopia and other low- and middle-income countries.
In 2018, Nadia was identified as a Canadian Women Leader in Global Health, and in March 2019, she was awarded the 2019 Emerging Public Health Leader Alumni Award from the Public Health Alumni Association of the University of Toronto.
We speak about the leadership drive Nadia possesses, when she decided she wanted to become a leader in her space, and whether you need to be in a management position to be a leader, amongst other topics. And of course, I couldn’t let her go without asking about her multiple meetings with Bill Gates, to present and collaborate on some of her work.
- The leadership drive, and what it is
- What leadership means to Nadia
- How and when Nadia decided that she wanted to become a leader in this space she was passionate about
- Whether one needs to be in a management position to be a leader (hint: absolutely not)
- Natural born leaders versus people given the right opportunities to become a leader
- How Nadia goes about seeking new opportunities (as she is someone who thrives on being challenged and stimulated)
- A glimpse into the career path she took: from Biostatician at SickKids, to Global Health Research at SickKids, then to Harvard, and now at Gates Ventures
- How her view of leadership has changed over time
- Verbal Communication and its importance in good leadership
- A leader Nadia looks up to: Dr. Zulfiqar Butta
- Reflections from her meetings with Bill Gates to present her research and work together on countries that have managed to reduce child stunting
Dr. Nadia Akseer (MSc, PhD) is an Epidemiologist-Biostatistician with 10+ years experience leading research and analyses of clinical and population health datasets. Dr. Akseer’s research interests and publications generally span reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) and nutrition in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ethiopia and other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). She has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers, with the majority in high profile medical journals such as The Lancet, The Lancet Global Health, The BMJ, JAMA, and the Annals of the New York Academy of Science. In 2018, Dr. Akseer was identified as a Canadian Women Leader in Global Health jointly by The Lancet, Government of Canada and Canadian Society for International Health. In March 2019, she was awarded the 2019 Emerging Public Health Leader Alumni Award from the Public Health Alumni Association of the University of Toronto. Dr. Akseer finished her Masters in Science (Biostatistics and Epidemiology) from Brock University (St. Catharines, Canada) and her PhD in Epidemiology from University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada).
- Read more about Nadia Akseer in her University of Toronto Alumni Feature
- See Nadia’s feature in the Canadian Women Leaders in Global Health 2018 List (see page 6 for Nadia)
- Readings around leadership in public health:
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