Damilola Jolayemi, MSc is the Program Coordinator for the Combination Prevention Core at UCLA CHIPTS. Her interest in HIV began while she was pursuing her Master of Science in Global Health at Northwestern University. Damilola, an American of Nigerian origin, was motivated to study global health because she was interested in addressing and alleviating the multiple burden of diseases, including HIV, in Africa. Her education and experience over the years made her aware that the disparities that exist in her native country were also present in US.
At the end of her master’s program, Damilola worked with OMNI Med, an organization in Uganda focused on improving health outcomes through community health education and workers’ training in the interior region of Central Uganda. As part of her practicum project, Damilola developed an HIV training curriculum for community health workers and community members, aimed at increasing their knowledge around HIV testing, identification, treatment and prevention.
During her one month in Uganda, Damilola also conducted focus groups with community health workers to understand and dispel myths and beliefs surrounding HIV. She also spent time at the local hospital’s ART clinic, HIV testing and counseling center, immunization center, maternity ward, and pharmacy to witness the medical care and experiences of people living with HIV. Through this experience, she made strong connections with health providers and local HIV organizations that gave her insight into the challenges of healthcare access within the region. Given her observations, experience and intrinsic desire to improve health outcomes in resource poor settings, Damilola hopes to further her path in research and work towards a career in infectious diseases prevention.
As a new member of CHIPTS, Damilola is excited to learn more about HIV/AIDS, engage with community members, and plan programs within CHIPTS. Prior to joining CHIPTS, Damilola was an elementary school educator and taught computer science literacy. She loves traveling, hiking, painting landscapes and photography.
Each month, we’re featuring a member of our CHIPTS family and their work! To see past spotlights, check them out on the spotlights tag and make sure to check back to see who we feature next!