MPH students from the course, Health Promotion in Practice: The Canadian Context (HSCI 855), with lecturer Paola Ardiles and guest speaker Stephen Smith.

Reflecting on transformational learning in the MPH program

January 12, 2017
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By Sadeem Fayed

I’m only half-way through my Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, but I cannot believe how much I have already learned. Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Immunology, along with some work experience in the business sector, I entered the program with limited knowledge about public health and the social sciences. But course by course and class by class, I am steadily growing into an emerging public health practitioner. I recently presented my work from a Fall 2016 course, Health Promotion in Practice: The Canadian Context (HSCI 855), at a public health conference. It was a proud moment for me!

I often find myself marveling at how quickly this professional transformation took place. I believe that the MPH program has a winning combination of unique features which makes this possible. The program constitutes a sound curriculum, innovative course design, amazing instructors and a practicum component.

One of my favorite aspects of the program is the inspirational practice engagement opportunities it offers. In fact, I have had a number of them in a single course this term alone! In addition to being invited to participate in ongoing public health practice activities, HSCI 855 students had the opportunity to connect with public health practice veterans who attended class as weekly guest speakers. We engaged in interesting conversations with these professionals about their practice and current public health issues. The opportunity to connect with them brought me close to public health practice, as it offered us firsthand insights into the field.

We had many memorable guest speakers including Ann Pederson; Director of Population Health Promotion at the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, Leslie Bonshor; Executive Advisor for Aboriginal Health at Vancouver Coastal Health, Dan Reist, Assistant Director at the Centre for Addictions Research of BC, University of Victoria and Stephen Smith; Director Social/Emotional Health & Resiliency at Population & Public Health Division, Ministry of Health.

Some of the discussions we had with our guests had an impact on my journey as an MPH student. This speaks to the transformative learning power of this program and the valuable courses offered. Check out the picture of the HSCI855 students posing with Stephen Smith. See if you can spot me!

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