Women in STEM: Introducing Matida Bojang: Healthcare Advocacy and Empowerment Beyond Borders

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Matida Bojang

By: Awa Conteh 

Welcome to this week’s episode of Women in STEM, where we celebrate the remarkable achievements of women making significant impacts in STEM locally and globally. Today, we are honored to feature Matida Bojang, a medical student who advocates for access to healthcare. Matida’s journey from her childhood dreams of a medical career to her pivotal role in healthcare advocacy and community initiatives in the United States exemplifies resilience, dedication, and a profound commitment to health equity. Join us as we delve into her inspiring story, her contributions to the Mbama Care Foundation, and her vision for a future where marginalized communities can access the healthcare they deserve.

Matida Bojang was born and raised in Sukuta, Gambia, and immigrated to the United States at 12. She attended middle and high school in Madison, WI, before moving to Milwaukee for her undergraduate studies. She is a rising fourth-year medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Growing up in a country with limited access to healthcare, Matida witnessed the struggles of individuals who lacked proper medical attention. These experiences profoundly influenced her decision to pursue a career in medicine. Upon moving to the United States, she was determined to equip herself with the necessary knowledge and skills to make a meaningful impact in healthcare. She pursued her education diligently, earning a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry before starting medical school.

Throughout her academic journey, Matilda actively sought opportunities to engage in research and community outreach. These experiences further solidified her commitment to improving healthcare outcomes, especially for underserved populations.

Matida Bojang always knew she wanted a healthcare career. At one point, she considered becoming a pharmacist. Still, a trip to Gambia in 2018 made her realize she could make a more significant impact as a physician. Her career aspirations revolve around advocating for healthcare equity and addressing disparities in access to medical care, particularly for women and marginalized communities.

“My inspiration stems from my upbringing in Gambia. Witnessing the challenges faced by Gambian women during childbirth fueled my passion for medicine,” Matida told The Alkamba Times.

One research project that significantly impacted Matida Bojang involved interviewing patients and providers at the Uganda Cancer Institute during the COVID-19 pandemic. This experience taught her the importance of resilience and adaptability in challenging times. It highlighted the need for equitable access to healthcare resources. It reinforced her commitment to advocating for health equity and employing multidisciplinary approaches to tackle global health challenges.

As the co-founder and president of the Mbama Care Foundation, Matida Bojang is deeply involved in initiatives to improve women’s health in The Gambia. The foundation was born from her deep-rooted desire to address women’s healthcare disparities in her home country. Matida was inspired to start this foundation after witnessing the challenges Gambian women face in accessing quality healthcare.

The long-term goal of the Mbama Care Foundation is to establish sustainable programs that provide essential medical care and empower women to take control of their health and well-being. Through initiatives focused on maternal and reproductive health, the foundation aims to make a lasting impact on the lives of women and families in underserved communities. Matida is committed to creating a future where all women in The Gambia have the resources and support they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

In her leadership roles within various student organizations, such as the Student National Medical Association and the Minority Association of Pre-medical Students, Matida Bojang has implemented effective strategies for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in academic and professional settings. By fostering a supportive environment where all students feel valued and empowered to succeed, Matida aims to ensure that diversity is celebrated and everyone has equal opportunities for success in their academic and professional endeavors.

“Through organizations like the Student National Medical Association and the Minority Association of Pre-medical Students, we implement initiatives that support underrepresented minority students, such as mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and volunteering,” she said.

Matida Bojang acknowledges that conducting research in diverse settings necessitates cultural sensitivity and adaptability. She navigates these differences by prioritizing establishing trusting relationships with local communities, engaging in open communication, and respecting local customs and traditions.

Despite these efforts, challenges can emerge, ranging from language barriers to differing research methodologies. However, Matida addresses these obstacles by closely collaborating with local researchers and stakeholders. Through this collaboration, she ensures that the research remains culturally relevant and ethically sound. Matida’s approach emphasizes fostering mutual respect and understanding across cultural boundaries to conduct impactful and respectful research in diverse settings.

Another key obstacle Matida encounters on her academic and professional journey is balancing her responsibilities with her interests. She struggles to prioritize self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance while working on advocacy and community initiatives.

However, Matida tackled this challenge through introspection and self-reflection. Recognizing the importance of setting boundaries and practicing self-care, she implemented effective time management strategies. Matida prioritized activities that brought her joy and relaxation, ensuring she could maintain her well-being while fulfilling her commitments.

“I realized the importance of setting boundaries and practicing self-care. By implementing effective time management strategies and prioritizing activities that bring me joy and relaxation, I overcame this challenge and maintained my well-being,” Matida said.

As a leader in student organizations and community initiatives, Matida Bojang emphasizes the importance of listening to the community’s needs and creating inclusive spaces where everyone feels valued and heard. Matida believes in collaborating with diverse stakeholders and leveraging one’s platform to effect positive change. She reminds aspiring leaders that leadership is not about titles or accolades but about making a difference in the lives of others. By building genuine connections and empowering those around them, Matida exemplifies how authentic leadership is measured by the positive impact one has on their community.

Looking ahead, Matida Bojang’s aspirations revolve around continuing to make a difference in the lives of others through her work in medicine, research, advocacy, and community initiatives. She plans to pursue a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, which aligns with her commitment to improving women’s health.

In addition to her medical career, Matida is dedicated to expanding the reach of the Mbama Care Foundation. She aims to scale the foundation’s initiatives to empower more women and families in underserved communities. Ultimately, she seeks to empower marginalized communities and promote global health equity. Through these efforts, Matida intends to impact the health and well-being of those who need it most, ensuring that everyone has access to quality healthcare and the opportunity to lead a healthy life.

As we conclude this episode of Women in STEM, Matida Bojang’s story leaves us with a powerful message about the importance of empathy, dedication, and advocacy in driving meaningful change. From her early experiences in the Gambia to her current endeavors in the United States, Matilda continues to exemplify what it means to be a true leader. Her work through the Mbama Care Foundation and her commitment to promoting health equity inspire us all.

We look forward to seeing how Matida’s journey will continue to unfold, and we are confident that her efforts will lead to a brighter, healthier future for many. Thank you for joining us, and stay tuned for more inspiring stories on Women in STEM. 

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