The flexibility of studying a distance learning course at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has given Sandy - a pharmacist in Vancouver - the opportunity to gain a deeper knowledge of her areas of interest
Why did you choose this institution and course?
I chose to study the MSc Public Health (distance learning) at LSHTM because it is renowned for its public health programmes, its work on infectious diseases such as Ebola and HIV, and its globalised teaching approach. LSHTM offers blended learning (studying a module in London), which is something that I planned to do from the very start. Teaching staff and students come from all over the world and they bring a wealth of knowledge to the courses.
In terms of how the Public Health programme is taught, the curriculum matches my interest in health promotion and infectious diseases, and the distance learning option allows me the flexibility to work while I study it. It's the perfect opportunity to apply the knowledge I am learning into my pharmacological practice.
What does the course involve?
The MSc Public Health offers lots of variety. Aside from the core modules that are required, there are a number of electives that will be useful for my work in the future, for example, 'Sexual Health'. I have enjoyed learning about health issues and policies in various countries from my classmates from all over the world - because I live in Canada, I have previously only been exposed to public health issues in middle or high-income countries. It wasn't until I started my programme that I gradually picked up on wider global health issues.
For my London-based module, I found it hard to choose between all the modules available to me such as 'Sexual Health', 'Non-communicable Diseases' and 'Applied Communicable Diseases'. I settled on 'Epidemiology & Control of Communicable Diseases' because my focus at work has been on infectious diseases, so I thought it might be helpful for the near future.
The course also involves lots of practicals, which are really hands-on, and you get to ask the tutors lots of questions and interact with other students as well. Everyone comes from diverse backgrounds and has different expertise, and I have learned a lot from them.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I am currently a pharmacist in Vancouver practising in a primary health care clinic, so this programme will help me gain insight into the prevention and management of disease outbreaks within the community that I work, as well as to work in practice guidelines and clinical policies. I hope to use my knowledge to collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide better care, addressing public health issues such as health equity.
What advice would you give to those considering the course?
If you can, take the blended learning option in London. It is something I would recommend that all students consider. The experience you have through coming to LSHTM is invaluable. I am enjoying doing the distance learning too - I have a really good work-life-school balance - and I am also able to travel after my exams are over. I am learning so much about myself and also from my fellow classmates. I also get the chance to live in London, a beautiful city with so much culture and history. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience.