Danta Bien-Aimé, RN, BSN Gonaives, Haiti MMSc-GHD Class of 2020
When she's not in the MMSc-GHD program, Danta Bien-Aimé is the Clinic Director of a Cervical Cancer Prevention Clinic in Gonaives, Haiti. She is also a volunteer in mobile clinics and local associations in Haiti that deliver healthcare in Haiti’s countryside where access to healthcare is limited. Because of her aspiration to help under-served women in Haiti by addressing biological, social and economic factors associated with cervical cancer, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship. The MMSc-GHD program sat down with Danta to find out more about her experience with the Fulbright Program.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and how your found out about the Fulbright scholarship for international student.
Born in northern Haiti, Gonaives, I always aspired to higher education, yet the education system in Haiti did not offer me too many options. In 2014, I graduated with my BSN degree. Then I started working in a pediatrics and surgical units in a hospital in Haiti, before going back to my hometown to serve a three-year term as director of a cervical cancer screening clinic implemented by the Women’s Global Cancer Alliance. This is where my desire to pursue a master’s degree got reinforced. It was fueled by a strong willingness to address the challenges I was confronted with daily at the clinic in Gonaives and to reverse the narrative of death resulting from cervical cancer, a preventable disease. I started looking for scholarship opportunities online, and that is how I discovered the Fulbright scholarship on Facebook.
What would you say you’ve enjoyed most about being a Fulbright scholar?
I am very humbled to be the recipient of the Fulbright scholarship, administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the United States government. The Fulbright program is a life-changing experience for me. The most amazing aspect of Fulbright is the “unity through diversity.” Wherever we go and meet a Fulbrighter, we feel like we are family and behave that way. For example, [when I arrived to the States] I liked how some Fulbrighters were open to host other Fulbrighters in their house; even if they have never met before. I also enjoyed interacting with other scholars coming from all over the world, with different background, different cultures, different opinions, different languages, different religions. Because of the Fulbright program, my cultural awareness and my tolerance have increased. I see many things differently, and I am less judgmental on others.
On a personal level, the Fulbright program is also a social capital to its scholars. It is always a privilege to have one’s name associated with this prestigious scholarship. For me personally, as the first nurse of my generation in Haiti being selected for this scholarship, I enjoy the great opportunity to study abroad and I feel privileged to have this occasion to represent Haiti in the United States.
Another aspect of the program that I like is the great networking opportunity. Although I haven’t had the chance yet to participate in the big networking seminars organized every year by IIE for Fulbright scholars, I went to most of the events organized by the Fulbright Massachusetts chapter. The peer support is priceless.
What advice would you give to those hoping to become Fulbright scholars themselves?
Overall, the Fulbright program is a wonderful award. To any student who wants to apply for the scholarship, I would send my big encouragements. I advise any prospective applicant to take the application process seriously because it is worth it. I would recommend them to talk to Fulbright alumni who can guide them through the process. I would also recommend them to make sure that the program selected fit in their past experiences, their career goals as well as their passion. Finally, I would advise anyone who wants to apply for the Fulbright scholarship to make sure to fulfill the entire goal of the program, which is to promote cultural exchange, leadership and community engagement through international education.
How has Fulbright benefited your education in the Master of Medical Sciences in Global Health Delivery program?
As a student in MMSc-GHD program with a Fulbright scholarship, I am thrilled to currently conduct my research on the barriers and drivers of cervical cancer screening among women in Haiti. My immediate aim when I go back to my home country is to shift the cervical cancer programs towards a more comprehensive and equitable model for greater outcomes. I look forward to what the future holds for me.
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