Written by Janeen Gabison, Policy Implementation Consultant
As an implementation consultant at the Ministry of Health, I develop and implement programs and policies to improve the health care system in Ontario.
I graduated with a degree in molecular biology hoping to pursue a career in pharmacy or medicine. In my third year, I realized that pathway wasn’t for me. After taking a health policy course as an elective in university, I fell in love with the idea of improving health care delivery from a policy perspective. I didn’t know what jobs were out there in the healthy policy field nor did I know how to get a job in that field. While volunteering for a pharmaceutical company, my colleague told me about post-graduate certificate college programs that are designed to equip students who have a degree with hands-on skills and experience to get their foot into the workplace. I looked into those programs and found a research analyst program that would help me get into policy research. I took the program and learned skills in research design, project management, data collection/analysis and program evaluation. These skills helped me land an internship at the Ministry of Education where I conducted policy research for secondary schools. From there, I networked with colleagues and attended conferences/workshops to enhance my professional development. After a few months, I landed my first job at the Ministry of Health. I work with a team of individuals who are all women of colour and have worked in health care (either in government or as a clinician) for many years. They come from different backgrounds in public health and nursing, and bring an array of knowledge and skills to the table. We learn from each other every single day, whether it’s them teaching me about the health care system or me teaching them how to use Microsoft Project. We support each other as colleagues, friends and most importantly as women. Although I don’t have a master’s degree in public policy or public administration (which many of my colleagues have), I am constantly learning on the job.
I’ve learned that it is my skills and experience that have helped me bring my best foot forward, not my level of education.