Faridat Raifu completed her Master's in Public Health at Warwick in 2020. We caught up with her to find out what she thought of the course and her advice for applicants.
Why did you decide to study Public Health?
I decided to study Public Health after my degree in Medical and Pharmacological Sciences because I wanted to learn how to combine multiple disciplines within the healthcare field in order to make a difference and help improve health across populations.
What made you choose the University of Warwick?
I chose to study at the University of Warwick because aside from being a top 10 university, it was also the only MPH course at the time that offered a placement module. I really liked the teaching style and the how the modules were taught in blocks, there are many flexible learning options. This meant that I was able to commute from London for the full-time course. I also liked that there is an option to choose a defined pathway for your optional modules depending on your current or future interests and career plans.
What has been your favourite part of the course? Did you have any favourite modules?
My favourite part of the course was being taught by both academic and Public Health professionals that work within the sector, for example, Public Health England and the World Health Organisation. I felt that the teaching was very practical, and we were always given examples and assignments based on of real-life scenarios, preparing us with skills needed for the public health workforce.
I wholeheartedly enjoyed every module I picked. My favourites were Global Health, Public Mental Health and Wellbeing, Pathways to the Public Health Workplace and Social Determinants of Health especially. Explanations for social patterning of health was one of the most intriguing topics that I learnt and informed my final project heavily.
What skills do you think you’ve developed during the course?
The MPH was very stimulating and provided the knowledge and foundation I needed to start my career in public health. Developing skills in SPSS and R was especially important for me as I had limited knowledge on data manipulation and interpretation prior. The epidemiology and statistics module definitely stretched my knowledge and gave me further an insight into key statistical principles and how to analyse and interpret epidemiological studies, which is now an integral part of my current role. I also learnt how to write briefing papers, action plans and press releases, all skills which I have had to use in the workforce. Learning how to conduct a systematic review was especially challenging as I had never conducted extensive evidence-based research prior, but my academic supervisor was extremely assuring and signposted me to other members of staff that could advise me on specific parts of my project.
How do you think the MPH will benefit you in your career moving forwards?
The Pathways to Public Health Workplace module was especially beneficial to me because I had the opportunity to work with a leading United Nations Agency based in Malawi which gave the me chance to experience what it would be like to work on public health issues in a developing country context. I was able to design a study relating to early age brain development and develop an integrated service delivery by utilising key data sources to advance the SDG agenda. I was given the opportunity to lead my project whilst seeking guidance from both my academic and placement mentor who were very supportive and challenged me to utilise all my skills to gain a good understanding of the task.
Both my placement supervisors were fantastic and made my placement incredibly enjoyable despite having to juggle the placement, my other modules and a job. I have found that my placement has been invaluable and has given me a leg up in every interview and work-related meeting I have had thus far. The placement module has been truly beneficial and all the CV and interview advice I was taught, I still use consistently. I have been able to draw on my skills and experiences gained whilst working ASRT and as a direct result I have since worked on the Covid-19 response and more recently gained 2 job offers to work as a policy advisor for government departments.
What advice would you give to someone considering studying Public Health at Warwick?
- Take advantage of your time with the lecturers in your 5-day blocks and ask questions, they are incredibly helpful and will offer you a lot of support.
- Get a diary to get yourself organised because time management is important during the year.
- Pick modules that you are really interested in and take the pathways to placement module if you can. It has provided me with work experience that has been invaluable that has directly led me to amazing roles at reputable organisations.
- If you are struggling with anything speak to someone!
- Enjoy it as much as you can.