Public Health graduates Grace Kaplan and Kerensa Hodge have been featured in this month's Royal Society of Public Health member spotlight. Read about what attracted them to study public health at Wolverhampton and the exciting things they are doing now
Emaan Syed, MPH student
Emaan Syed had never studied at university before, but when she moved to Walsall and left her full-time job to pursue the Master of Public Health, she chose the University of Wolverhampton, particularly as the course was offered as a 1-year programme.
“I had never been in a university before, and my first impressions of the University of Wolverhampton were very good. I was invited to an induction before the course commenced which was very useful. We also had an opportunity to meet the lecturers and have a look around the University. I was impressed with the facilities and the modern, but friendly feel to the University. I also noticed many mature students like myself so I felt I would not be out of place.”
“The course was well structured and we were informed of the course plan and deadlines at the outset. I enjoyed how the modules were spaced and though the course was very intense there was a lot of support available from the lecturers. Even though I was very nervous about attending a university I never had a problem making friends or approaching staff. I was so well settled that the University became my second home during my studies.”
Emaan was particularly impressed with the ease of access and quality of the facilities offered.
“I really enjoyed the Learning Centre. The décor and the set up were well suited to all ages. There were places you could just sit and chill out as well as study in strict quiet locations. The long hour access really helped and even though I would study until midnight on most days I was never afraid to walk back to my car.”
Like many students, Emaan encountered unexpected difficulties during her studies, and found that the support services available to her made a real difference in enabling her to continue with, and successfully complete her studies. “The most important thing for me whilst at the University was the support I was offered when I became ill during my studies. It was this support from staff that made me feel I have to persevere and complete the course.”
“I believe there is a good support structure in place for students who want to complete their qualification and staff members are very understanding to individual needs and circumstances. Even though the course is intense and difficult, it is well designed with support in place for students.”
Sani Baraya Wamakko, MPH student
Sani Baraya Wamakko, from Nigeria, is one of many international students enjoying his course and impressed with the quality of teaching, activities and opportunities offered at the University of Wolverhampton.
As a medical laboratory scientist, Sani chose to study the Master of Public Health (MPH) at Wolverhampton to progress his career. “I had been serving with the government hospital as head of the medical laboratory department on various public health issues, working with international NGOs like the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Family Health International and various HIV/TB integrated activities. This was where I first developed an interest to study MPH at the University of Wolverhampton.
Sani is very pleased with the knowledge and teaching of the staff, and felt welcomed and accepted by fellow students. “The University’s staff are friendly, caring, efficient and skill-minded to their respective disciplines of work. Students are co-operative, disciplined and courageous to penetrate knowledge from both lecturers and colleagues through learning, questions and group discussions.”
He has thoroughly enjoyed his course, including the modules, structure and management of the classes, as well as the additional facilities. “I enjoy the Harrison Learning Centre’s academic guides and workshops. The modules are very interesting compared to the current public health strategies and the lecturers are very good: able, dedicated and experts in their academic field. They enable students’ understanding and ability to assimilate information effectively. I like all the modules and as a public health practitioner will use the knowledge I gained to exhibit the quality of my University both academically and professionally.”
Sani feels he has gained many skills and the course has helped him achieve his aims. “I can make epidemiological studies: adopting different models, approaches, skills, techniques and theories in public health, epidemiology and statistics.” The course has allowed him to develop advanced research skills, as well as project management skills in leading transformation and change.
Sani graduates in 2014 and would definitely recommend the course, which has taught him about assessing the health needs of a population, health policies and social perspective. “I recommend students intending to study public health to come to the University of Wolverhampton to distinguish them from other university MPH graduates.”
Dr Ogbonna Amanze, MPH graduate 2013
Choosing my course
The community experience in my medical education at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria crystallized my interest in public health. Preventive and social paediatrics fascinated me. However, it was not until 2011, while working as a Resident Doctor in paediatrics in the Middle East, that I took the decision to quit clinical practice in order to follow my passion for public health practice – I made a decision to go for a MPH programme in the United Kingdom.
It was while searching for a UK university offering MPH programmes suitable to the public health challenges confronting developing countries (like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria etc.), that a doctor colleague and friend sold the idea of realising my quality MPH dream at the University of Wolverhampton, as they had done.
I spent time each day going through the School of Health and Wellbeing webpages. As I read of the course content of the MPH programme and about life generally in Wolverhampton, my interest to come to Wolverhampton to pursue my MPH dream grew stronger!
A warm welcome
I finally came down to Wolverhampton in 2012. From the very first day I stepped into the university, I was welcomed by a pleasantly lovely and friendly team of non-academic and academic staff. I was hospitably guided through the registration formalities and induction programmes – some of which were organized by the Students’ Union, and well-tailored to meet the expectations of an international student like me.
I found the university environment very conducive to learning, with a well-equipped library (Harrison Learning Centre), staffed by highly supportive and courteous staff, who are ever ready to assist callers at the library!
The MPH programme modules were well designed to meet the yearnings of students like me- who wanted to get the requisite technical and leadership skills and competence to become key players and stakeholders in contemporary global public health practice. The academic staff were personally committed to rendering quality teaching and intellectual grooming to students, which went a long way in imbuing in me the confidence I now have to stand my ground in the comity of global public health practitioners.
My qualification in action
On completion of my MPH programme, I returned to Nigeria in November 2013. On December 20, 2013, my MPH certificate from University of Wolverhampton secured for me a top job in the Presidency at Abuja, Nigeria, as a Chief Programme Officer, under an agency that coordinates Nigeria’s national HIV/AIDS response, which enjoys great political will and close supervision of Nigeria’s President, His Excellency Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
Gaining the MPH from University of Wolverhampton and my current job are dreams come true. They have offered me a durable platform and wider latitude to play a proactive and critical role in mitigating the public health challenges facing my country, sub-Saharan Africa and the international community.