Alumni profiles - Shamil Haroon

Masters in Public Health (MPH), 2010

Specialist Registrar in Public Health and PhD Student (Clinical Research Fellow) at the University of Birmingham

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Studying the MPH really changed my perception of the distribution and determinants of population health, which greatly helped develop my practice of public health in the NHS."

How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

Completing the MPH at the University of Birmingham helped prepare me for my training as a specialist registrar in public health. It particularly helped me to prepare for the Faculty of Public Health membership exams and to apply for and successfully acquire a research fellowship at the University of Birmingham through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

What is the best thing about the job you are doing now?

Discovering something new that could have a real impact on patient care. Clinical epidemiology is a really fascinating field which has made great strides in improving population health. I’m really grateful to be given the opportunity to work with academic experts who have enabled me to become an epidemiologist.

Why did you originally apply to do your chosen course at Birmingham?

I started training in public health in 2009 after completing three years of hospital-based training as a junior doctor. An MPH is a requirement for the first year of public health specialist training and most trainees in the West Midlands are allocated to the University of Birmingham.

What did you think were the best points of the course and the University?

Epidemiology, biostatistics and research methods were taught particularly well. The teaching staff are extremely knowledgeable and also approachable. The course has both the required breadth and depth to get a solid foundation on the theory of public health.

What advice would you give to current students studying on the course?

Choose a dissertation that really interests you and aim to get it published – this is good for the research community and for your career! Make use of the plentiful expertise available, particularly in epidemiology, biostatistics and research methods. Also try to attend the wide variety of seminars that take place in the University every day, not just those on your course – there is so much going on here with national and international experts from a huge range of disciplines.

How did you grow as a person by studying at University? Did it change your life in any way?

Studying the MPH really changed my perception of the distribution and determinants of population health, which greatly helped develop my practice of public health in the NHS. During and after the MPH I definitely became more useful to my public health department and was enabled to undertake projects that I simply didn’t have the expertise to do before I embarked on my studies. My dissertation and supervisors directly influenced my decision to apply for an NIHR doctoral fellowship which has been one of the best decisions of my professional career.