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Belated graduation news

1 Nov

So (a little more than) a year has passed since I started my MPH course. I’ve been taught a lot of information, some of which will stay with me forever (and some of which I’ve already forgotten). I really enjoyed this year and I got a lot out of it, thanks to a lot of investment of time on my behalf but also a lot of excellent teaching and dedication on the course organisers’ part. Imperial postgraduates graduate in May for some reason so I won’t be donning a gown til then, but I hope to keep writing on this blog and keep up to date with the world of public health! Oh, and I got a job so the course can’t be that bad! 😛

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Guess what time it is….

17 Apr

Exam time! Woke up today with what I can only describe as a massively overdue sense of panic and doom. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up the slack before the exam which is in two weeks, and let’s try not to think about the not-so-mini-project which I have yet to start. EEEK.

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Dissertation stress…

20 Jan

As term 2 flies by, it is clear that nabbing a dissertation topic has become priority. I’m not looking forward to making the decision, partly because I’m worried I’ll strike unlucky with the project or supervisor, and because I am super indecisive. We are given 4 months for the project over summer, and having had a bad experience with unmotivated supervisors during my undergrad, I’m keen to invest time into making the right decision. We’ve been given an extensive list of project titles to consider, and although I have managed to whittle this down to less than 10 titles, I am still far from having made a decision. My research interests are shamefully broad and unspecific, although at this stage in my career I’m definitely sure that policy analysis would be over my head. I am also pretty confident that systematic reviews will not keep me interested for four months – having started a module purely on systematic reviews I can confirm that they do not excite me greatly, although admittedly they are more interesting than I thought. Otherwise, after a term and a bit’s worth, I know that I’d like to research something in the field of primary care; in the context of health systems it is undoubtedly the most widely utilised by the majority of the population. We all know the oft-repeated public health statement of “prevention not treatment” but the importance of primary health care goes beyond prevention. The shift in focus from specialist treatment to primary health care in recent years has been alongside a move away from the paternalistic approach to medicine. I think this is not pure coincidence; by emphasising primary services, health professionals have had greater opportunity to empower patients and increase their participation in treatments and care. Additionally, doctors are increasingly working on a more level playing field with patients with the rise in the burden of chronic diseases which often require the patient’s input as well as medical intervention. Primary health care presents great value for money which in today’s climate of economic turbulence can only be a good thing.

That’s enough poorly articulated arguments about primary care, now back to the actual project selection: I’m planning on meeting each supervisor armed with what is probably considered an inappropriate number of questions to grill them with. These are on their expectations of the project and of me, the nature of the data source and whether I could use it remotely, the scheduled time scale of things, etc. I’m hoping the answers to these questions as well as meeting the supervisors in person to judge the extent of personality concordance will help me decide! If anyone has any further advice on how to choose a dissertation, it would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

New module: Health Economics

16 Jan

Today we started the health economics module organised by the business school. It was a pretty brief introduction that took the first steps into the deep deep waters of health economics… I had been looking forward to this module and simultaneously dreading it as I have no knowledge of any economics whatsoever. The lunch afterwards provided a great opportunity to start getting to know the students from the International Health Management course, who we will be sharing lectures and coursework with. First impressions of both the course and the new students were good, most seem to be clueless about economics too which is reassuring! Will keep you posted on how it goes!

Pre-exam activity

7 Jan

So it’s the last day of revision before my first masters level exam tomorrow and what do I do? That’s right. Get back to the public health blog I’ve been neglecting and post my first entry of 2013. I’d go on about new year’s resolutions and reflections (amid the revision) about what I’ve managed to squeeze into my brain cells during the past 3 months but I simply don’t have the time.  Just read the following posts of “revision” and you’ll understand why. Or perhaps you won’t, but please pretend.

A week into Public Health…

13 Oct

So the first week of proper teaching is over. What a week! We cover a different module every day, so the week’s learning feels broad and in-depth at the same time. The diversity of the class is also proving to be very interesting; I think we are mostly students who have just completed an undergraduate degree but there are many people who already hold masters and even someone with a PhD! Also there are around 5 medics who are on this course as part of their training to become public health consultants. Because we are studying public health, it is also interesting to see the perspectives of the many American and Canadian students who are not familiar with the NHS and have very different experiences of healthcare at a personal level. The wealth of knowledge that the class has due to the different walks of life everyone has come from has made conversations between (and in) classes very interesting. It’s a little daunting as someone with no public health experience and only a BSc to boot, but I’m hoping this means I’ve got more potential to learn more over the next 12 months or so!