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Student profile: Saran Shantikumar

ssSaran Shantikumar

Can you tell us about your career path before embarking on the MPH?

I qualified as a medical doctor and worked in general surgery for a few years before doing a PhD in molecular biology. I realised I was interested in research, but wanted to work in a field with greater applicability to the wider population, hence my decision to move into public health. The only problem was I didn't really know much about the theory and practice of public health!

Why did you choose to study MPH rather than any other Masters?

Whilst there are other Masters programmes that cover some of the core areas of relevance to public health (such as epidemiology), an MPH provides more coverage of the broad range of other topics that are crucial to working public health, such as communicable disease and sociology.

Why did you choose to study at WMS?

Warwick Medical School has a fantastic reputation! But metrics aside, the structure of the WMS MPH course provides a great range of optional modules, so you can choose your areas of interest. Also, having the modules taught in 1-week blocks means you can fit your learning more easily around other commitments (be it part-time work or family).

Please tell me something of your experiences on the course. What did you enjoy most?

Each module was led and taught by experts - practicing public health practitioners and active researchers, both from within WMS and from other institutions - so you knew you were being provided with high-quality teaching and up-to-date information.

I particularly enjoyed working with other students from a variety of backgrounds (recent graduates, other health professionals, international students and even a maths teacher!). We had ample opportunity to learn with and from each other in group work activities.

What do you feel you gained from it?

Other than the MPH post-nomials (!) I feel I've learned a lot about the theory of public health and how it is used in practice. Through the range of assignments (group work, presentations and written work), I've developed the confidence to use the knowledge and techniques in the real world.

How will you use what you have learnt going forward?

I am now on an NHS Public Health training scheme in the West Midlands, and have the opportunity to use what I learned on the MPH in my daily work. I also used the knowledge gained to pass the written component (Part A) of the Membership of the Faculty of Public Health exam.

Would you recommend it to other people and if so why would you advise them to go for it?

The MPH programme at WMS will give you the confidence to become a competent and valuable public health practitioner. It is geared towards giving you the exposure you need in the broad scope of practical and academic public health, as well as placing you in an excellent position to pass the Faculty of Public Health professional exams (should you wish to do so), all in a supportive and administratively smooth environment.

So if you're interested in working in public health in the real world, you should definitely go for it!