Advocating for the health of racial, ethnic and LGBTQ+ groups

Minority groups in society often have their healthcare concerns overlooked, leading to further marginalisation. Nyasha Makoni believes that a truly effective healthcare system ensures that every member of society is well taken care of. Read on to find out more about her work and what she likes to do in her spare time.

Name: Nyasha Makoni

Currently living in: New York

Education: B.A. French Language & Literature (Michigan State University) | B.Sc. Human Biology (Michigan State University) | M.P.H Health Policy and Management with Global Health (Columbia University)

Job Title: Clinical Research Coordinator

Your first two degrees were in French and Human Biology at Michigan State University. Why did you choose these majors and how have they helped you in your career in Global Healthcare today?

So, I had always planned to go to med school so the Human Biology track covered most of my premed requirements. French was something I had always enjoyed in high school but because of the way subjects were chosen in the last two years there, I had to drop it. As more time passed in college, I realised I had pretty much taken enough credits for me to complete it as another degree. Global Health was a no lingering idea and by chance, I now I had two degrees that could take me on that path. Having these two meant that I could work with diverse communities without communication being a barrier. I would still have to adapt culturally for health projects but I’m more flexible when it comes to working with other francophone people. Plus, many international health organisations prefer candidates that speak another language other than English.

What exactly does a Clinical Research Coordinator do?

In the simplest terms, we coordinate research 😂 Just kidding! CRCs are responsible for a project’s creation, how it’s implemented and how information from that project can improve the way we approach and deliver health for our future projects and for others as well. From creating surveys for studies to going into communities providing disease screenings to writing research papers, being a CRC means you do a bit of everything. The role may differ from place to place (more admin here, more fieldwork there) but it’s a great experience where I’m at right now!

One of your areas of interest is advocating for the health rights of minority groups. What drew you this particular area and what are the main concerns?

Many people believe that if the majority is fine, everyone is fine. However, a true measure of success if those on the margins of society are also content because chances are the majority is also covered. Minority groups are diverse in themselves and many of us find ourselves at intersections with many of them. In the US, I am a Black immigrant woman from Zimbabwe so some of my health concerns may be overlooked by a predominantly white male healthcare system. Advocating for racial, ethnic, LGBTQ+ groups and more means we’re improving the health for everyone. We become more effective in delivering sustainable long-term care when we acknowledge minority groups as well. Who wouldn’t want that?

What does a typical day look like for you?

I try to head to the gym first thing in the morning, get ready and be at work at 9:30-10 am. Mornings, I usually answer some emails first, then get into some admin (calling the lab for results, checking the budget, calling participants for studies). In the afternoons, I may visit partner sites or community sites for Hepatitis B and C screening. I clock out at 6 pm and once I’m home, I grab something to eat, call my family, study and/or watch TV. (No need to make food because I meal prep on the weekends). Get ready for bed and lights out by 11:30 pm.

Here at, we like to promote a healthy balance. What do you like to do outside of work that helps you recharge?

I love to paint and sketch as well and alter clothes. I can also do my own acrylic nails. Anything DIY or creative where I can experiment is a yes from me. I enjoy hanging with my friends so a great brunch or a night out is always a yes.

Photo by Steve Johnson

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hmmm. Ten years is far! I see myself working in Zimbabwe and the US as a leader in global health policy and advocacy.

Finally, what advice do you have for young women still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives?

My favourite saying for the past few years is “all will be well in due time.” Your journey is yours so you can decide how fast or slow you want it to be. Enjoy every stage and flesh out what you need to at your own pace, not that of your peers. You’ll be able to listen to what you want better and work accordingly. Be open to what life can bring, don’t put yourself in a tiny box and surround yourself with people who can inspire you, love you and who can sometimes challenge you too!

Three Things About Nyasha…

Last book you read - Difficult Women by Roxane Gay/ Watchmen graphic novel by Alan Moore

Currently, binge-watching – Love is Blind (this show is wild!)

Dream holiday destination - Home (Zim- I just really miss my family)

© 2018 by nnyasha.

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