Motivation, Aspiration, Inspiration of an Inquisitive Mind – Dr. Violina Lozeva-Thomas
Dr. Lozeva-Thomas comes from a family of smart, strong, independent, well-educated women. They helped shape her life (and her inquisitive mind) from an early age. She always knew that she wanted to enter the medical profession in order to help people overcome their illnesses. What she didn’t know was how far that dream would take her — and that the different paths she would follow would lead her to where she is right here, right now.
While she felt well supported in her studies, she was always driven and motivated to prove her worth. She studied and trained both in her native Bulgaria (where she became a medical doctor) and in Finland (where she achieved her PhD in Neuropharmacology) before coming to Canada to do her post-doctoral research.
This led her to her current career as an assessment officer at the Therapeutic Products Directorate of Health Canada, where she puts her vast academic training and knowledge to good use.
Dr. Lozeva-Thomas has the important task of helping to ensure that the drugs that enter the Canadian market are safe and effective. As part of her work, she uses her scientific background and training to review clinical studies and other relevant data submitted by pharmaceutical companies. Ultimately her works provides the necessary context used to recommend the approval or rejection of drugs for the treatment of various diseases. Her extensive background in research and medicine has been crucial to her ability to effectively assess pharmaceutical applications.
In addition to her scientific work, Dr. Lozeva-Thomas is a wife and a mother. Growing up, many of the female role models who helped shape her career demonstrated that you could aspire to a successful scientific career while still having a family.
Like other professional mothers, Dr. Lozeva-Thomas has had to make professional and personal sacrifices. However, her role models and those around her made it easier to endure the most difficult times.
She says, “For any young woman who works hard, the sky is the limit. Just like my mentors encouraged me to believe in myself and to follow my dreams, I try to inspire these young women and to show them that anything is possible.” Through it all, she remained committed to showing her daughter, as well as other aspiring scientists, that with the right motivation it is possible to be successful and have a positive family life.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Lozeva-Thomas is devoted to promoting the role of women in science. She is a member of the steering committee of the science network at her workplace and a member of the National Science Advisory Committee through her union, where she has had the opportunities to organize and participate in activities aimed at empowering other women.
“More support for women such as continuously modernising parental leave policies, supporting mothers after their return from maternity leave, establishing mentorship programs to assist women in science, and providing more research funding geared towards women” as crucial steps to urging more women to join science-focused fields, she notes. Dr. Lozeva-Thomas works hard to further these causes through her tireless volunteer work promoting women in scientific pursuits.
Dr. Lozeva-Thomas believes that the diversity of women in science is an asset, as well as their shared interest in making a difference.
“I am just one of the many women scientists who work at Health Canada. We are different ages, come from different backgrounds, have different religions, ethnicities, family circumstances, we have different levels of education—some have a bachelor’s degree, others have doctorates,” she concludes. “What we all have in common is our dedication to the work we do, and the impact that our work has on the life of Canadians. I am proud of my colleagues, and would like to thank them all for keeping Canadians safe and healthy.”
Let’s draw attention to the incredible work of women in science! This article is part of a month-long series celebrating women in science, from International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11) to International Women’s Day (March 8).
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