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Department ofModern Languages and Literatures


Jasmine Matory James

How French & Francophone Studies at Santa Clara Has Supported the Development of My Career in Global Public Health


Jasmine at the Ministry of Health with her boss, the Director of Maternal Health

I pursued the double major in French and Francophone Studies and Political Science with the knowledge that I wanted to be involved in international work at the systems level. Because French is recognized as an official language for international organizations such as the UN and spoken around the world, I knew that this language in particular would be of use in a variety of professional level settings. The fact that Santa Clara included an emphasis on ‘Francophone’ studies was additionally appealing to me because it takes into consideration the rich and diverse cultural histories interacting with this language globally.


I am pursuing a Master’s in Public Health program at the University of Illinois, Chicago which has allowed me to include a global health concentration and continue to study health issues on a global scale. As a part of this program I have been involved in programming in Haiti and Cameroon, experiences in both countries has allowed me to further strengthen my French language skills and gain exposure to Francophone culture in settings that are directly linked to my field.


This past summer in Cameroon, I worked with the Ministry of Health on an initiative to strengthen community mobilization efforts as a way to reduce the high maternal mortality in this country. I worked on strategic planning initiatives at the Ministry’s Department of Family Health as well as efforts with an NGO, Building Capacities for better Health Africa to understand how governmental efforts translate to the community level. Both of these initiatives took place in Francophone health districts, so it was important for me to be able to communicate effectively.

Taking in some Haitian history, culture and art last spring in Jacmel, Haiti