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GSBS PhD candidate balances school and motherhood during pandemic

Oluwabunmi Emidio is among 56 GSBS students to be honored at Qualifying Exam Recognition Ceremony Sept. 14

By Kylee Denesha

UMass Medical School Communications

September 11, 2020
Oluwabunmi Emidio, MD, MPH

Oluwabunmi Emidio, MD, MPH, is a PhD candidate in the Clinical and Population Health Research Program, and a postdoctoral fellow in a National Cancer Institute-funded training program Prevention and Control Cancer: Postdoctoral Training in Implementation Science (PRACCTIS). Dr. Emidio wears many hats: doctor, scientist and mother.

“My ultimate goal as a public health physician is to bridge the gap between research and practice. This is what brought me to UMass Medical School,” said the mother of three. “When I decided that I wanted to broaden my skills and add to my knowledge on implementation science, the GSBS stood out to me for their highly credentialed faculty and adaptable programs.”

Emidio is one of 56 students in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences who will be recognized on Monday, Sept. 14, at 3 p.m. for successfully completing the qualifying exam. The event will be broadcast on Zoom and Facebook Live.

Emidio left her home in Nigeria, where she earned her MD, to come to the United States in 2014. She earned her master’s of public health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 2015, before matriculating at UMMS. Now in her third year of the PhD program, Emidio said she was able to concurrently do a postdoctoral fellowship due to the fact that she has her MD.

“It’s more of a specialty training at this stage in my career, which I am so grateful to be able to do. Through this advancement in my education, I am striving to look deeper into the uptake, adaptation and sustainability of empirically supported interventions, innovations and policies in practice,” she said.

Emidio just passed her qualifying exam and looks forward to celebrating with her peers virtually.

“Just like my experiences so far, I had lots of support and encouragement from my mentor, Dr. Stephenie Lemon; my committee; and the department,” she said.

Home with her children every day, she finds the balance between spending time with her family and focusing on her rigorous—and virtual—research work.

“The pandemic has certainly changed all of our lives, requiring us to adapt and accept,” she said. “While it has been an adjustment, I have never felt more supported. The faculty and staff at UMass Medical School know us beyond our academic performance; they know our challenges. They know our strengths and weaknesses. This is what has helped my tenacity, my determination and my resilience as a researcher.”

“The transition to remote learning has been seamless,” Emidio said. “As we get ready for our lectures, I feel we have the tools to succeed, even while home. Although work and home life are now united, I enjoy spending more time with my children. There is a silver lining despite the unprecedented situation.”