"I did extensive research on MPH programs around the globe, and FHS caught my attention on their focus on social justice and practical experience. I enjoy the ethnic diversity of the program and the fantastic support that SFU gives to international students."

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Student Profile: Diego Sanchez

March 03, 2022
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master's student in the Faculty of Health Sciences

Hola! My name is Diego Sanchez. I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. I hold a medical degree (M.D.) from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, and currently, I am a second-year Master of Public Health (MPH) student at the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), research assistant at the Department of Cancer Control in BC Cancer, and graduate teaching assistant at FHS. My professional experiences involve research on palliative care and cancer services in Mexico and Canada. Prior to moving to BC, I was a full-time professor and academic coordinator in the International Medical Program of the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara (UAG) School of Medicine. Also, I worked as a research assistant in the Mexican Health Foundation (FUNSALUD), where I did research on improving access to cancer care services in Mexico.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I believe SFU and the FHS match my values and goals. I did extensive research on MPH programs around the globe, and FHS caught my attention on their focus on social justice and practical experience. In Public Health and several areas, social justice plays a fundamental role in achieving equity and equality. Moreover, the idea of moving to Canada to study and get familiarized with the best health care system in America, made me realize I was doing the real call to enhance my knowledge about Universal Health Coverage (UHC). SFU was always my first choice, and I was so excited when I got my acceptance letter!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

My research basically tries to create more efficient ways to deliver healthcare among cancer patients. For example, during my practicum last summer at BC Cancer, I had the honour to work with Dr. Stuart Peacock and Dr. Helen McTaggart-Cowan at BC Cancer. We analyzed patients' data registered on a palliative care program to increase the quality of life and symptom management among new cancer patients. This analysis is quite helpful for the program coordinator to have scientific evidence that the program is actually helping cancer patients. Currently, I am working on a research that tries to evaluate the impact of climate change on cancer services. What is the association? Well, the misfortunate events of last fall floodings and the abnormal heatwave last summer in BC affected the most vulnerable (e.g. cancer patients). Therefore, we want to analyze patients' data to predict how cancer services were and will be affected by these events (e.g. mortality, cancer screening, cancer surgeries), and a call to action to the Canadian Health system to be ready in case of these disasters.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I enjoy the ethnic diversity of the program and the fantastic support that SFU gives to international students. I have high admiration and appreciation for all my peers. It has been a real pleasure to work with them! Moreover, I want to thank Malcolm Steinberg and Kate Carty for all their help and support during my studies at SFU. They have connected me with great advisors and work opportunities.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

I have been awarded the GPS Graduate Fellowship for Fall 2021. It was great financial support for all the expenses I did to come to Canada and also has contributed to paying my tuition.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?

The MPH program is quite competitive and ranked as one of the best MPH programs in Canada and worldwide. It gives room for plenty of work opportunities and enhances your research, program planning, data analysis, and community work skills to become a Public Health leader. The program offers the possibility to take two electives according to your interests. The workload is high, but all professors are undoubtedly experts in the field, and their experience is highly appreciated.

 

Contact : diego_sanchez@sfu.ca

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