Ceri Jones is in the enviable position of being able to say that he has two master’s degrees to his name. His first one was in Preventative Cardiology and the second is in Public Health, obtained from the University of Manchester in 2018. Now in the midst of a PhD, Ceri discusses the MPH distance learning programme and looks at how it has helped him in his role as a Senior Clinical Perfusion Scientist…
I decided to study an MPH because I had developed a real interest in this field, following my first Masters degree in Preventive Cardiology. A lot of the modules were concerned with risk factors of cardiovascular disease and therefore had a strong public health emphasis. The next natural step appeared to be studying public health.
In my daily job as a Senior Clinical Perfusion Scientist, I was starting to feel like just another cog in the system. I was also getting frustrated by the patients who were arriving for open heart surgery in my hospital as a lot of them were still smoking and eating a poor diet. I wanted to change this and prevent patients getting to the point where the disease had set in and showed symptoms.
When i enrolled I hoped to gain skills that would allow me to make an impact on the population and provide me with a more rounded approach to medicine. What I mean by this, is that I currently work in hospital medicine and at the time had very little knowledge about primary health care and public health. I had hoped that it would also be a platform that would allow me to make a real difference.
In terms of the course content, I enjoyed the communicable diseases, epidemiology and international public health modules. These were a great accompaniment to my public health internship in Ghana during the Ebola Outbreak in 2015. I was able to work in a public health department in a district hospital for 3 weeks, which allowed me to get involved in child vaccination, antenatal clinics, home visits and antimalarial research. The modules also helped me on a Nepal charity trip in 2017. Here, they provided me with the skills to talk in detail to the country’s ministers of health in Kathmandu, regarding reducing the burden of countrywide cardiovascular disease.
I found the distance learning element of the course really useful as it allowed me to carry on working with the course fitting around my regular working hours. The only downside to it is that it can sometimes be difficult if you are struggling with understanding concepts and there is no one available to speak with. However, the tutors on the course were all excellent with answering any queries that I had about the course content.
On the whole, the course provided me with the foundations to undertake a PhD in Health Data Science at The University of Manchester. It has also made me view public health issues differently, especially the current Coronavirus pandemic.
Now that I have enrolled onto a PhD after completing my MPH, I would still like to be involved in this field and hope my future path will cross from clinical medicine back into the public health medicine arena. I would also like to do more charity missions related to public health.
My advice to any students who are considering this course would be to embrace the subject, be prepared to read a lot and reflect upon all aspects. These are the tools that will allow you to make an impact upon your communities and further afield. This subject affects us all and deserves a huge amount of respect. Gandhi once stated that “It is health that is real wealth and not gold and silver”. I think this is a very poignant reminder that if people have their health they have everything, instead of material possessions.