Growing up in Nigeria, Omonefe “Nefe” Omofuma studied pharmacy as an undergraduate at Olabisi Onabanjo University. It was during her internship at a federal teaching hospital that she observed the complexities and peculiarities that influenced survival outcomes for patients battling cancer.
“The huge gap in the diagnosis and survival of certain types of cancer between different groups of people became more apparent to me,” Omofuma says. “Among many other reasons, this spurred my interest and decision to pursue a degree in epidemiology focusing on cancer and other chronic diseases.”
In 2012, after four years working in pharmaceutical research and program management, she moved to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in pharmacy administration. Then she began researching doctoral programs and chose the Ph.D. in Epidemiology program at UofSC due to the university’s top-ranking public health programs. The Arnold School also offered opportunities to be involved in cancer disparities research through the Cancer Prevention and Control Program and to work alongside professor of epidemiology Susan Steck, whose research interests overlapped with Omofuma’s.