Spotlight on Candace Beoku-Betts

Hello, I’m Candace.  I’m a doctor training in obstetrics and gynaecology in London, with a master’s in Global Health and development. I’m excited to be diving into the world of research. My topic of interest is looking at how aspirin could be used to prevent preeclampsia in Sierra Leone. The possibility of contributing to the massive effort to save the lives of Sierra Leonean mothers and babies is an incredible privilege.

Role in CRIBS

I am currently sharing a role with the wonderful Alice Hurrell, trying to fill the very big shoes of Alex Ridout as CRIBS coordinator while she is on maternity leave. We have a number of joint roles and responsibilities such as acting as liaisons between KCL, Welbodi Partnership, and USL. We are responsible for financial reporting to the NIHR and budget review, administration of key meetings, capacity-building work, and overall program coordination. I am currently working on developing activity plans for our district research officers, supervising research assistants, providing updates to the team, monitoring data quality, and temporarily filling in the role of project manager.

My CRIBS experience

My ultimate aspiration is to make a tangible difference in the lives of women, especially here in Sierra Leone, the country of my birth – where despite the recent progress, so many women and their babies continue to die unnecessarily. Being part of the phenomenal wider NIHR CRIBs team, surrounded by intelligent, creative, passionate, proactive, and all-around incredible individuals with the same goal, is an absolute honour. I really do feel like I am part of a team with a mission to change lives and empower women in such remarkable ways.

During my interview, Prof Shennan posed a question: Where did I see myself at his age? Honestly, the nerves got the best of me, and my answer remains a blur. But one thing I know for certain is that I will always serve women. I hope to continue to look forward to working with the same level of excitement as I do since being here in Sierra Leone, despite the imposter syndrome battle. I know I will always gravitate to roles in which I am challenged in both research and obstetrics.

Something personal

Baking and rugby are my ultimate therapy sessions. There’s something magically joyous about the aroma of freshly baked bread. Then there is rugby: the adrenaline, camaraderie, and sheer excitement of the game, make it the perfect way to blow off some steam. Whilst I haven’t coached rugby in a while, seeing little ones gain friendships, confidence and resilience is so inspiring.

Children bring me immense joy, so much so I’ve become the go-to babysitter. It’s also meant that over the years, in addition to my wonderful niece and nephews, I’ve accumulated a delightful bunch of godchildren, whose laughter and adventures always make my day so much brighter.

Now, let’s talk about my latest adventure: running. Surrounded by KCL marathon runners, I’ve made it my personal goal to conquer the Makeni half marathon next year. By declaring it here, I’m putting myself under the ultimate pressure to make it happen. So, go ahead and ask me how my running is going—I’ll be grateful for the extra motivation!

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