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I watched my grandmother take care of our family and community...

Despite growing up in the colonial era with its attempts to erase identity and ancestral roots, my grandmother cherished ancestral knowledge. She was dedicated to passing it on to other generations. She used this knowledge to care for the community with compassion and humility.

Her commitment to our culture and protective health practices taught me the value of community knowledge and its role in preserving health and well-being...  

Soon after graduating from college, I started working with a non-profit on a project to promote healthy nutrition in a school setting. One of the project’s goals was to assess the impact of providing healthy foods at school on nutrition outcomes and school performance. While I appreciated the project’s purpose, I started questioning its sustainability and exploring ways to co-create a much more sustainable approach by centering parents and communities around the school.

There was a great need to move from what we could do for the community to learning what the community was already doing and how they were using the resources and knowledge they had to promote healthy nutrition.


With this approach, parents, grandparents, and other community members were the experts and shared knowledge and resources with their peers. I also started thinking about ways to involve local leaders and ensure policies were put in place to support the community’s efforts.

Although many other facts shaped my research interest, this particular partnership with the community ignited my passion for understanding the intersection between culture and health and community-engaged research.


My Education

PhD, Nursing, University of Massachusetts – Amherst

M.Sc., Nursing, University of Cape Town - Cape Town, South Africa

B.Sc., Nursing, University of Rwanda - Kigali, Rwanda

Professional Diploma, Nursing and Midwifery,

Ecole des Sciences Infirmières Sainte Elisabeth - Kabgayi, Rwanda 

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