It can be a long, winding road to achievement, but for many, it’s worth the journey.

Just ask Dr. Tolu Olateju, who has spanned three continents over three decades to get to where she is – and she’s not done yet.

The Master of Health Services Management (MHSM) student, who is an Edmonton-based endocrinologist and assistant clinical professor at the University of Alberta, is no stranger to hard work and success.

Dr. Olateju started her journey in Nigeria, where she graduated from the College of Medicine at the University of Lagos before moving to the United Kingdom for postgraduate studies.

After completing her basic and higher specialist training in General Internal Medicine and Endocrinology in the UK, including two years of clinical research, she moved to Canada in 2014 to undertake a two-year fellowship in Islet Cell Transplantation at the Clinical Islet Transplant Program at the University of Alberta.

Now she’s set her sights on an MHSM to gain business knowledge, acquire organizational and management skills, understand policy development analysis, and learn more about health services design and social marketing.

“I was interested in a degree in Health Services Management because, among other skills, I wanted to learn evaluation skills needed to lead and innovate in public and popular health sectors, and to navigate different and complex health care systems,” says Dr. Olateju, adding that she’s also keen to increase her professional network, while building the leadership and communication skills necessary for effective teamwork and cultural awareness.

“I hope the knowledge and skills I gain by taking this degree will prepare me for higher health management roles and I will be better placed to avail myself of opportunities that may come in leadership, advocacy and policy influencing role,” she says.

It’s with these newfound skills that Dr. Olateju is hoping to pursue opportunities within provincial or federal government agencies and health care systems.

“I’d like to influence policies and facilitate change that will ultimately result in improvement of population health.”

And while Dr. Olateju has extensive training and experience in her field, the MHSM program has offered her an entirely different perspective of health care.

“My creativity has been tested and stretched. A whole new world of knowledge has opened to me.”

Balancing work, family and academic life hasn’t been easy, and Dr. Olateju says to get the most out of the program takes a significant time commitment, but one she says is worth it.

“I have enjoyed engaging with my colleagues and professors and learning from them, as well as all the courses, learning new things and the fact that I am back in a classroom after almost 25 years, albeit a virtual one for now.”

The Master of Health Services Management (MHSM) is a cohort-based, part-time program that is offered at the University of Lethbridge’s Calgary campus. It is jointly offered by the Dhillon School of Business and the Faculty of Health Sciences.