Makayla Gomes: Passionate about public health

By Victoria Kanaga

Makayla's hometown: Kitchener, Ontario

Raised in a soccer-loving family, first-year MHIS student Makayla Gomes watches soccer whenever she can.


Makayla Gomes is fuelled by her passion for public health. From a young age, Makayla wanted to pursue a career in science.

But it wasn’t until her undergraduate studies in Health Sciences at Western that her calling became clear to her.

“In my undergrad, we talked a lot about health inequalities and how there are multiple layers that exist within many different avenues, particularly, social determinants of health,” says Makayla. “I originally thought I wanted to pursue health science, but then I was exposed to so many different things and so many ideas that I just never considered before.”

That was when Makayla discovered she could merge her background of science and her newly discovered passion for public health through the Master of Health Information Science program in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western. Makayla enrolled and began classes in September 2020.

Eager to get involved with her peers, Makayla joined the Graduate Health Information Science Student Association (GHISSA). As a member of GHISSA, she is the Faculty of Health Science (FHS) Council Representative and a Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) Council member where she attends meetings to advocate for both graduate and doctoral HIS students.

Makayla also got involved with undergraduate students from both Health Sciences and Information & Media Studies as a Teaching Assistant for a cross-listed course called Media and Mental Health during her first term in the MHIS program.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to teach students in hopes of helping them realize the insight and inspiration that my undergraduate career provided me,” she says.

To further her own insight, Makayla began volunteering at hearing aid clinics and sport medicine clinics, which exposed her to audiology and physiotherapy clinics and their patients. She quickly learned how policy works in practice and saw firsthand how social determinants of health impact people, which reflected the material in her course work.

Fun Fact

If Makayla could have one superpower, it would be teleporting.

Up next for Makayla? Working on an evaluation of the recent City Symposium series, which was an initiative in London geared toward knowledge translation. Each event featured four speakers and created a space for people to learn from one another, ask questions and encounter new perspectives. Makayla hopes to continue working in this area, creating awareness about how the social determinants of public health affect people.

Within a few years, Makayla hopes to have her education completed and have a career working in community health and health policy.

“Mainly, I am looking to do something meaningful in my life pertaining to health as I believe it to be a fundamental human right.”

Profiles in the Meet Our Students section are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.