Public health-An Alt+C?
Firstly I would like to thank RxPG for this useful forum, the Alt+C. In this forum medicos can express their query, desire, thoughts and plans about a career that is slightly or entirely different from the clinical career.
Many different options have been discussed here in this forum and all of those are welcome as I believe, we are free to change or modify a career if we really feel that the change would be more rewarding in terms of personal liking, money, scope of work etc. I know about a friend of mine who after doing graduation in computer science from the US, did Masters in advanced English literature and later became a university teacher in literature ! Here her personal liking was the key. The story of someone close to me- who even after qualifying in the MBBS and engineering admission tests, against all odds, opted for the Honours in food and nutrition in the assumption that, it would be easier to secure great result there than in MBBS or engineering where competition is much more fierce. Today we wonder about that decision, as due to that revolutionary decision, later on in a short span of time she managed to win three international prestigious scholarships for higher studies in abroad and -a stalwart in public health profession is budding. This was a strategic change/modification of career which is very important in determining the magnitude of career success.
If a change or modification in career is considered, I personally would like to do subtle modification from the existing one rather than taking a distant one, because it is always comforting to build on a foundation. Talking about Public Health as a subject matter- this is not actually alien to medicos, unlike MBA’s or IT’s. In fact this is the preventive health for the population before the clinicians intervene for their part on the individual patient. Community medicine in our MBBS course is a component of Public Health. Today Public Health has a wide array of disciplines- Healthcare delivery, prevention of communicable diseases, Epidemiology and research, Health policy planning and programming, public health nutrition, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive health, Environment and sanitation etc.
There is ample opportunity to work in developing countries as a Public health professional, in the Government, Non-government and even in International organizations with the likes of the World Health Organization ( WHO), UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank and many more in national as well as international level. Deserving professionals can make it at the International level and that is a big job indeed ! The works could be on project/programme development, implementation, evaluation, operational research, health policy & advocacy etc. Research lovers may find here a niche for research and publication.
After MBBS, I think more than 95% of doctors pursue for clinical career (Particularly in Bangladesh and may be in other countries in the subcontinent). This is probably the reason for hectic amount of congestion at the Post graduation level, a clinical PG seat becomes so dear, frustration sets in, many doctors are looking for clinical career in abroad and as we observe now, no less frustration there ! But a fairly related field remains relatively unexplored. The reason could be not knowing much about the Public Health or the original mindset that the medicos are meant only to go pure clinical. But it’s the medicos who can maximize output from public health field as such most of the Public health professionals have medical background.
To switch onto Public Health, in Bangladesh a medico can join work in a relevant organization, usually this is a junior position and s/he can be up in the ladder with time by experience and organizational competency training. By and large, the best way is to take the MPH (Masters in Public Health) or related degree (Usually these are 1 year course) sometime from a recognized organization (Public Health Institute or universities). This degree recognizes one as a true public health professional with prospect of better position in work. I do not know about the process in other countries of the subcontinent. It could be the same as in Bangladesh. Having an MPH or related degree from an overseas university ( Europe/ Australia/ US) might start a successful journey to become a big professional. Doing this degree is pretty expensive, but fortunately scholarships are available for the deserving students of the developing countries. Here the Public Health people have an overwhelming edge over their clinical counterparts. I rarely heard someone got scholarship to study clinical subjects in overseas universities! Usually the big scholarship bodies give scholarship to the bright students of the developing countries generally in the developmental fields targeted for betterment of mass population eg. Public health, Social science, education and in the field of pure basic science eg. Physics, chemistry etc.
From my batch in the medical college out of 150 medicos, 7 of us switched onto Public health. After MBBS, we all took an MPH or a related degree (1 year duration). After 4/5 years in the field by the grace of almighty, all 7 of us are working in different International organizations at this point in time with complete job satisfaction in terms of position and in pay pack compared to most of the clinical peers (Most of them have not completed the PG yet) from our batch, here in Bangladesh. By no means this is a conclusion in favour of Public health- rather a small observation of some facts in Bangladesh. Public health might be a field to explore for the medicos as an alternative to pure clinical career!
Thanks to all for the patient reading.
I have applied for an MPH-Epidemiology program in the US. Although this route was suggested to me only because getting a vise for usmle cs is tough and this seemed like the only other plausible way.
I have heard th job scene for an international MPH grad isnt too great in the US. So wot are my other job prospects both in the India and/or Overseas?
Hi Sybarite ! Scope of work in public health is more in the countries/regions where the health of the mass population is not upto the mark/ needs to be further developed to an desirable level. Henceforth it is the underdeveloped/developing countries where scope/ magnitude of work in public health is maximum.
I dont know specifically in India as I am from Bangladesh, but the nature and extent of work in the subcontinent countries should be more or less same.
Like in Bangladesh, there are many national level NGO's whose work is based on public health eg primary health care delivery. Here a recognized public health professional ( with MPH or related qualification) usually responsible in programme/project management, evaluation and advocacy at the policy level and not in mere service delivery at the field level. There are lot of international (UK, USA, Sweden, Australia etc)organizations working besides. Along with programme, research work is done in large scale in these organizations.
The world health organizations and the UN organizations operate here at large scale. A professinal can work both at national and international level( usually overseas posting) in these organizations.
For A truly focused,hard working and dedicated professional sky is the limit in public health. I know a medico who after internship joined a Public health NGO at the entry level, amid laughter of his clinical friends. 10 years later, while most of his friends were registrar in the medical college hospitals, he reached an unsurmountable height- Head, HIV/AIDS and Nutrition programme, UNICEF ( At the global level) !! A public health professional will consider him very successfull even at 25% of that achievement.
I am Anees Medical graduate from India.I am currently employed with PSI;its a NGO working in the field of Prevention of STI/HIV.
I am highly interested in the field of Public Health.
As you said , doing an MPH will be the best bet.
My Academics are not brilliant, its jus 63 percent overall.So my dream of getting into top bracket public schools in U.S appears dodgey.Moreover they charge exhuberantly.
Actually I am not sure whether I can get admissions in good universities with scholarships as i have low academics.I am yet to take gre.
So , i jus started browsing about other places where they offer this type of course.
Do you think doin a course at National University singapore will have equivalent value as doin from european or american universities?
I would be grateful if u kindly help me choosing the right destination.
Hi Anees ! Its nice to hear that you are interested to build career in public health. You mentioned that your overall academic score is 63%. If it is at the graduation level ie.MBBS, then its really not that much bad !! 65% or above at the graduation level may be considered as a potential scholarship winner !! What you need ideally is to continue your work ( STI/HIV) for at least 2 years before applying for a scholarship to study in a foreign university. Because most scholarship bodies require relevant work experience of atleast 1-2 years, and in some cases experience may compensate for brilliant academic result.
Offcourse doing a post graduate Public health degree from a foreign university adds a better flavour to your academic credential making the job market hungry, but I think that it doesnt matter much from where you have done it -european, australian or US. More important is the relevance and content of the degree you have taken to your future work.
If you have required work experience and age under 35 ( I think it is ! ) you can apply for ADB-JSP, Commonwealth shared scholarshiop schemes which may enable you to study MPH in Universities of Aus, UK, Japan if you can win it !!
Thanks for that prompt reply.I do agree with you entirely .
I congratulate for your admission at LSHTM. Its every public health professional's dream.
I would like to know more about your experiences regarding LSHTM ,the process of getting admitted there,any specific shortlisting criteria (so that i can work upon that) and of courses the most important how to get funds for that course.
As you said the who-japan scholarship,i had looked upon it and they do need people with experince.
I wanted to know are there any realistic chances of getting a scholarship from such bodies ?
Sir,the most important thing for which i mailed in again is to know whether the mph degree at bangkok or the MMED public health national university singapore are treated at par with the western world degrees or not?
I have seen quite a number of doctors from bangladesh doing the course from bangkok,but i dont have any idea about he career prospects after doin the course from there.
Similarily ,it would be gr8 if you kindly enlighten me about the job prospects after doin mmed public health from singapore.
The main problem with me right now is I am concerned about the stature of these two universities and their respective degrees in th world market.
WHat i mean to say is one can do MBA from any college but its the college tag which gets you the right kind of placement and of course future.
DO you think its worth risking doin a degrree there or to wait for a another year and try to get the scholarship and proceed my studies at europe/us.
That s all from my side ,i am sorry to bother you so much.
I wish u all the best for ur start at LSHTM.
Hi Anees, why do you call me “Sir”? Hah Hah…hey man don’t do that again..hah hah. Alright now, thanks to you for wishing me on my conditional admission offer in LSHTM. Yes it’s not easy, particularly in one of the world’s top public health schools like LSHTM. The admission process was straight forward. Write in appropriately the school’s prescribed admission form. Attach 2 recommendation letters ( One academic referee and the other from your employer) also in school’s prescribed form. Have a IELTS score of at least 6.5. Attach academic transcripts & other things and send. If successful, the school will send you the conditional offer letter for admission subject to meeting financial obligations (That’s the most difficult part!). I don’t know about any hard and fast criteria for likelihood for getting admission, but basic things are -
A. Graduation ( Here MBBS) result with first class marks is helpful.
B. 1-2 year work experience relevant to the course you wishing to take eg. As you have working experience in STI/ HIV, admission into MSc in reproductive health and HIV or MSc in STI/HIV research courses would be easier to get than other MPH courses offered in the school ( This school offers galaxy of MPH genre of courses !). This principle may improve one’s chance in scholarship application as well.
C. How well you depicted you in the application based on real facts.
For scholarship at LSHTM, you can apply for Commonwealth shared scholarship schemes. If you get the conditional offer for admission, the school may send you the Commonwealth shared scholarship form. You need to write in and send to the school again.
In my previous post, I mentioned about ADB-JSP programme and not the Worldbank- Japan programme. Yes like most of the scholarship bodies, they require working experience. In fact you should not apply for scholarship for a masters programme unless you have at least 2 years of relevant work experience. Having some research experience at work is an advantage. For your query of realistic chance of getting scholarship from these bodies- yes its much easier to get admission offer in the European and Australian universities ( US universities are tougher in this regard as GRE is pre-requisite for MPH admission) than to win a scholarship because its open to hundreds of good students from the developing countries. Here comes the value of good work experience besides reasonably good academic result. So one should try and try again before it strikes gold. I know a reputed public health professional who succeeded after 4 years of intense effort and thereafter the guy had a steady rise in the career.
Regarding your main question about MPH in Bangkok and MMed public health in Singapore National university you should thoroughly examine the course content and teaching method of the respective degrees in the first hand. A standard public health degree usually comprise of some common items like epidemiology, research methodology, programme planning, implementation and evaluation plus the theme subjects of the respective courses. If that sounds well, then it should be OK. As far as I know National university of Singapore is a leading university of the world and some Thai universities ( eg. The Mahidol university) offer world class MPH course, specially in nutrition.
After all you have to create your own scope proactively in future career, many people obtain good qualification but those who utilize them better win the race.
Now you should take an informed decision. Doing an MPH from a first class country school through scholarship is very good but difficult proposition (Because persuasion doesn’t ensure success). Good academics plus solid work experience may enable that sometime. Again doing the same from the schools of lesser named countries may be much less expensive and may not be a bad idea if financially capable.
My alternative career ( Public health nutrition) getting a boost !- I won scholarship to study post graduation in nutrition in the university of Ghent, Belgium. CHEERS !!
COngrats for your achievement. I wish you all the best for your course at Belgium.
I hope lots of other medicos can take inspiration from your feat and and can possibly give Public Health a serious thought.
I wish more number of people can state their success stories on this forum which will give us courage and belief to go ahead
I am back to rxpgonline after a long time.this thread had been informative for me to pusue for MPH and particularly guidance from dr.shuvo and dr. manoj.Now I have been selected for MPH in PGI chandigarh 2 days back and also I have cleared DNB CET june this year.This information I got only Yesterday and am puzzle now.I want to know which course is good for me?Shud I join MPH in PGI paying Rs.2500 fees per month or shud I opt for DNB in some clinical subject.I am 33 year old and dont want to take wrong step becoz I have very less time to think even.Also I want to know what is the scope of MPH from PGI that is WHO sponsered they said?What is suitable for me? please help.
I request rxpg team to remove my confusion.which is better course DNB or MPH?Esp. for me.
Congrats marvi for the tandem success !! U have to take an informed decision which one u wud opt for...... public health or clinical. The decision shud consider ur overall context. I have informed u at large about scope of Public health. MPH (Here this is from the home country)is the basic qualification in this area, which enable someone to have a sustainable career at least upto some point ( High, lucrative positions may require a foreign qualification)....anyway whatever u decide for, my best wishes with you.
i may have the option of getting diploma public health at kem, nair, sion. please advice me onb its prospects. i wanted clinical all along but now kinda accepted have to make way some where if things not falling in place. coz it will not be totally non clinical. what shud i do. go for it . or not. is a dph enough. will i need some more qualification later. please reply soon.
Dear trutyfruity, some work experience is really helpful. You can inquire to CCT ( cambridge-commonwealth trust), british council as they sponsor some scholarships. Very high grade at the grad level is essential to be considered for scholarship. Development schorships are much limited in number than the other fields, eg basic science, engineering..so there is intense global competition..and to an UK university even harder. Wish you good luck!
Diploma in public health may be a starter..but for today's era of "survival of the fittest"you will need a master qualification for growing your public health career..... and its good to have a diploma as well as a master...yes the number matters.
In my observation at least 65% is necessary to have a realistic chance of clinching scholarship in UK, Aus.For many sponsors 60% is the eligibility to apply...students of other discipline (eg. biochemistry, home science etc) have high score as much as 75%..they are in an advantageous position than the MBBS fellows....And as the work experience, I referred to 1/2 years of experience in the relevent discipline ( e.g. NGO, government project, teaching etc)...just 3 months field experince during internship counts but when it comes to comparson with other candidates with greater experience, it will push you back...remember winning a scholarship in development studies in a first world country is very competitive...only top 1-5% of all the applicants shall win.
Thankyou Shuvo for that information.. Grades wise I qualify for scholarship but I guess I am laging behind when it comes to work ex.. I can work for a few months after my internship but cannot show that since I would have finished applying for course n scholarship:(... Lets see.. Ill give it a shot anyway... I know some people who have gone for MPH in the US on scholarship without ex but I guess its diff when applying for US.
Just one more thing.. While applying for the course is work ex imp.. I mean say if I try without scholarship? I am int in LSHTM. Its written that work ex is prefered but I was wondering if ill be considered anyway?? I have done some field work during my MBBS course also... I mean apart from the curiculum
I dont want to do MPH from US I am interested in UK only... So I dont need GRE scores... Hey thanks for the info... Ill try finding out more about scholarships available
Trutyfruity, You are eyeing on the LSHTM, one of the world's premiere schools for public health training...indeed some solid experience is required even just to get there admitted...and for scholarship, undoubtedly you need more... with 3 years of work experience i managed to get admission offer at LSHTM but it was not enough to secure scholarship. As rajju rightly mentioned if you have validation of your work (during MBBS) its worth to have it on CV. I will advice, to do atleast 1 yr of pertinent work before embarking on to apply to LSHTM (for admission only!); and offcourse your good grades might be handy.....but without scholarship its very difficult to study out there, unless you are rich! 3 yrs ago the estimated cost for a 1 yr course was 26K GBP (13K +13K)..and every year its increasing.
For those who have tried for PG course but not succeded are the diploma courses.
If you heard about a pg course of DCH (DAWN) which is a UGC recognised. it is like the DAWN DGO course. It is available near Mumbai in Ambernath in Ashwani hospital ( Phone 0251-2603388) or 9822000478. If someone is interested in joining the course can contact the Director of the hospital Dr. Maheshwari. This course may become MCI recognised.
Yes, at the LSHTM for admission/scholarship to the MPH courses, general clinical experience might not count, except the desired MPH specifically relates to a particular clinical area. e.g. Master in community eye health offered at the LSHTM. Many ophthalmologists pursue this degree to add a public health dimension on top of their clinical skills.
Re the NIPSOM MPH: Its more important to have this particular qualification in the first place. The question of where do you get it is not very important. At NIPSOM, there are some of the finest teachers engaged in teaching. I have seen some of the NIPSOM graduates are doing very well professionally(This is for information and not for ads). And there are some private universities as well running quality courses.
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