Master of Science in Global Health Policy and Management

Kelly Akuffo, MS GHPM’22

Kelly Akuffo, MS GHPM'22Recipient of the Heller Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship

Kelly Akuffo, MS GHPM’22, spent a portion of her childhood in Ghana before her family moved to Worcester, Mass., where she became interested in the health sciences during high school.

Akuffo studied medical laboratory science at UMass Lowell, and after graduation she began working at UMass Memorial HealthAlliance Clinton Hospital in Leominster. As a medical technologist, she works as a generalist in different departments of the lab such as chemistry, hematology, microbiology and blood bank.

“I really enjoy it,” she says. “I like working on the bench because I feel like a scientist, but I also feel like I’m missing the people aspect of health care.”

She began looking into different graduate programs that would build off her science background and broaden her health policy knowledge. She says the global health policy and management program at Heller appealed to her because it is policy focused and incorporates STEM courses in health economics and data analysis that will help hone her analytical skills.

Akuffo, who is a recipient of the Heller Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship, says that curriculum material is especially relevant with the many challenges highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What I like about the classes is that the professors challenge us to become change-makers. The curriculum encourages innovative solutions to many issues in the health system, from improving performance to eliminating access barriers for consumers,” she says.

Akuffo says the program gives her a lot of different career options related to public health. After graduation, she hopes to use what she has learned to better improve access to health care both in the U.S. and internationally.

“I would like to work on different projects and policies that make healthcare more accessible in rural areas, and I would like to do some work back home [in Ghana] and serve that community,” she says.

Akuffo’s advisor, Donald Shepard, has worked with health ministries in Africa, and she is excited to learn from him as well as other faculty and researchers. 

“I feel like everything I’m learning is going to help me to achieve my goals,” she says. “While choosing my electives, I felt like a kid in a candy store.”