Jonah Musa obtained a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation from Northwestern in 2009 with support from the Northwestern University AIDS International Training and Research Program (NU-AITRP). His desire to have a deeper and broader view of issues affecting poor health outcomes was the major attraction for enrolling into the Health Sciences Integrated PhD program.




Where is your hometown?

I’m a Nigerian, born and raised in Kaduna, northern Nigeria.

What are your research interests?


I focus on epidemiology and health services research to better understand factors associated with prevention and early detection of cervical cancer in low-resource settings, particularly among HIV infected populations.

What exciting projects are you working on?

I’m part of the research team collaboration between the Northwestern Center for Global Health and the University of Jos, Nigeria, on HIV-associated malignancies.

Being a clinician from Nigeria, with prior clinical research experience on cervical cancer prevention among HIV infected population, I’m now focusing on developing and utilizing health services research methodologies to understand how health care delivery factors inter-play with social, environmental, economic and patient-related factors in cancer prevention and treatment outcomes in Nigeria.

What attracted you to the PhD program?

My previous training experience at Feinberg was an eye-opener to the critical role of capacity building for research as the ultimate investment that holds promise for curing the myriad of health problems around the world.

It was a shocking and fascinating epiphany to discover that health problems could be solved based on asking the right questions, designing appropriate methodologies to find the correct answers and in turn taking the appropriate actions. The experience at the masters level gave me a bird’s-eye view of the enormous opportunities and possibilities that can make a positive impact on health care systems and that could lead to improvement in individual and population health.

My desire to have a deeper and broader view of issues affecting poor health outcomes was the major attraction for enrolling into the PhD program at Northwestern. Indeed, I’m beginning to see things more deeply and widely now. I’ve started to understand how personal, community, economic, clinical and public policy variables interact to shape health systems and the various levels at which we can intervene to improve the health outcomes of individuals, populations in a global landscape.

What has been your best experience at Feinberg?

Discovering the dynamism in science and the need to keep searching for “the truth.” Learning that “good science and research takes us closer to the truth” gives me inspiration and joy!

How would you describe the faculty at Feinberg?

Fabulous! Very experienced and dedicated faculty, always willing to help students understand, discover and realize their great potentials in research and academia. Many of the faculty have stimulated my interest in very difficult research areas such as “decision analysis” in medicine. I love their commitment, team science and the interdisciplinary approach to solving research problems.

What do you do in your free time?

I have a lovely wife and two little kids who are always competing for my free time! It’s always fun to be with them, either at home, recreational parks, restaurants or visiting friends.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I want to be a successful academic and independent investigator in epidemiology and health services research and contribute to the understanding of effective, cost-saving interventions for improving cancer outcomes in low-resource settings.