Western University’s MPH Candidates are helping to shape the health of communities worldwide

From influencing health outcomes for people and wildlife in Rwanda to helping to understand the impact of a unique health promotion project in the Irish Prison Service, Western University’s Master of Public Health (MPH) candidates are shaping the health of communities around the globe.

The 42 MPH candidates, who will graduate from the program this fall, have just completed a three-month practicum in the field, and will share the results of their projects on August 25 as part of the MPH Practicum Showcase and Casebook Unveiling at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

“I enjoyed learning about health and disease on a large scale and looking at how to create change for entire communities, not just for an individual,” said MPH candidate Elyse Burt, whose work in Musanze, Rwanda will be featured in a poster presentation as part of the showcase.

During her practicum she developed an implementation plan for training nurses in health clinics to address inadequacies in health care delivery in the area. Her work with Gorilla Doctors and Docs4GreatApes aimed to create healthier communities in order to have a positive impact on the overall health and development of the area, but also decrease the health risk for the endangered mountain gorilla populations. “I think being on the ground and having the opportunity to build relationships with the local stakeholders was critical in gathering the information we needed to make sure that our initiative will be community-based and efficacious,” she said.

For MPH candidate Alison Green, her work with the Irish Red Cross and the Irish Prison Service evaluated the success of a program that trains inmates as special status Red Cross volunteers. The goal is to teach them about community health and first aid so that they may implement health promotion projects and promote the health of the prison community. “I discovered how much of our health is influenced by social factors,” she said of her decision to pursue an education in public health. “I wanted to learn about the upstream solutions needed to address the health disparities that result from social inequities.”

The Western Public Health Casebook 2016 furthers the MPH Program’s vision of a world with equitable health care achieved by transforming health care policies and health services delivery.
Dr. Amardeep Thind, Director, Schulich Interfaculty Program in Public Health, said continuing to showcase the work these students are involved in and making the casebook widely available at no cost is part of the School’s social responsibility. “The work that our students are doing is not only shaping the health of the communities that they worked in, but also has the potential through knowledge translation to influence health and health policy on a wider scale.”

Date: August 25, 2016, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine, Rm. 1150
Formal remarks and official casebook unveiling by Dr. Christopher Mackie, Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer at the Middlesex-London Health Unit, will take place at approximately 1:10 p.m.

MEDIA CONTACT: Crystal Mackay, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, t. 519.661.2111 ext. 80387, c. 519.933.5944, crystal.mackay@schulich.uwo.ca @CrystalMackay

Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.

The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University is one of Canada’s preeminent medical and dental schools. Established in 1881, it was one of the founding schools of Western University and is known for being the birthplace of family medicine in Canada. For more than 130 years, the School has demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence and a passion for scientific discovery.