Jo Brown speaks on studying Masters of Public Health at the University of Derby in the UK.
Public Health is a high priority for world leaders and governments. Jo Brown, Programme Leader of Master of Public Health course at the University of Derby, provides an insight into the issues and themes of Public Health and how studying a course at the University of Derby can equip you to investigate them.
Health and well being is recognised as a major indicator of a country’s growth and sustainability. The United Nations published 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. These highlight that individual countries need to be united internally in order to manage and promote the health of the nation and the environment. The UN are demonstrating progress on these goals such as, Goal 1, No poverty where they are for example, training individuals in Georgia to have sustainable incomes by growing their own food and selling at farmers markets. However, Goal 4 Quality education, which saw Norway providing 48 million dollars to fund schools in Syria and surrounding countries, between 2016-2018 will not meet the targets. This is due to political instability and individuals fleeing violence and bombing to move to refugee camps and reinforces how fragile the aspirations are.
Today’s issues in Public Health
Public Health is a fluid issue, changing in response to disease outbreaks, terrorism and ongoing health issues such as obesity and its links to diabetes.
In the UK, we have experienced an upsurge in the number of non-communicable diseases, s e as uch as coronary heart disease, and a decrease in communicable diseases, such as the eradication of polio. We are seeing this replicated within developing countries that are becoming more westernised and are developing similar disease profiles despite the emergence of new communicable diseases such as Ebola.
This replication of disease profiles raises some questions, such as, why is the knowledge of the consequences of a westernised diet and lifestyle not shared with developing countries? Do we know that it is not shared? Within Public Health, we are faced with numerous ethical dilemmas and challenges and this is one of many that you may cover on our course.
Ask yourself the questions
Public health is not a one-dimensional topic, meaning that the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at Derby is not either, it encourages you to bring your life experiences, your opinions and analytical mind-set to debate with your lecturers and peers.
As a lecturer and a previous MPH student, I recognise that we all enter in to public health for different reasons. Mine was from the perspective of trying to understand the psychology of people. Why are some people disciplined with their health while others are not? Is it that simple or, as suggested previously, more complex than that? How do we understand these complexities and educate people on how to live a long and healthy life? Does a functioning health service aid or prevent us from taking responsibility for our own health? By questioning, we learn – this gives an overview of the type of conversations you will be involved in on the MPH programme.
Other issues to consider
Does a government accept investment from other countries in order to develop and ensure the wellbeing of their citizens both financially and mentally? The consequence of accepting investment could lead to further health issues due to changes in lifestyle.
Due to deforestation, the UN and developed countries have stepped in to assist the maintenance of forests in developing countries by providing revenue and support. This has been considered as a controversial move as it is unclear how long this support will be available and how the UN are determining progress of the initiative, i.e. whether deforestation is actually decreasing.
How does this impact on public health? Individuals in these areas are reliant on the rainforest not only for the biodiversity it creates as a source to keep soil fertile for growing and maintaining the eco structure. But also for the climate control as trees filter the levels of carbon dioxide in the air and are required to prevent the continuing rise in temperature in areas such as Brazil. All of these elements have health implications both to the individuals living in those areas and internationally as global warming knows no barriers.
Who studies on our course?
Our programme boasts students who are both international and from the UK. Some choose to study due to personal experiences that have driven them to explore how to make a difference to public health policies in their own country. Others see this as a natural progression of their current occupation and their interest in public health. While some work in public health and the programme helps validate their work.
While most people join the course from a health background, some do not. For example, geography students who have undertaken epidemiological studies are also eligible to apply, as they often explore similar themes, such as the health of children who live close to rubbish dumps and how this affects their development. Studying geography prior to MPH can have added benefits as you’ll be familiar with modules such as those delivered by specialist environmental lecturers.
Why choose to study MPH at Derby?
We pride ourselves on being a friendly University. The lecturers on the course are accessible and allocate time in every taught session for you to ask questions or seek help. The support we offer does not stop there, you will have access to study skills and bespoke sessions, you’ll also have a personal tutor who will be there to help every step of the way. If you are coming from another country, you will be delighted to know that we have an international department that is focused on helping you feel included in University life, easing your transition to the UK.
Close links with local government public health departments ensures you have access to learning and teaching opportunities such as insight visits. We have specialist guest speakers from Public Health England and various other industries to help provide key, contemporary insights.
We listen to our students’ experiences in order to further develop our programme and build upon the elements that they felt were effective in their learning.
Studying Master of Public Health is a shared experience with your peers, lecturers and the new community you are joining. Every one of these elements is important to enable you to achieve your goal. We are with you every step of the way to assist you to get there.
We’re central – in the heart of the UK, by studying at the University of Derby you’ll benefit from a location that’s perfectly placed between city life and the rural peak district.
Acclaimed– we are in the top 30 in The Guardian University Guide 2019 which sees the University climb 25 places .
Gold rated – in the Teaching Excellence Framework 2017 we were rated gold which is the highest rating within the framework.
State-of-the-art – we have invested over £200 million in the last ten years to ensure that our facilities are one of the best in the UK.
Employable – 96% of University of Derby graduates are in employment or undertaking further study six months after graduation (2016/17 HESA).
It’s global –you’ll study various issues and topics to gain a truly international perspective and if you’re an international student you’ll also have the opportunity to study topics that are relevant to your native country.
We have experience – our teaching team include public health specialists, environmental health practitioners, biomedical scientists and psychologists which will provide you with a broad view of public health.
Based in practice – this course has a focus on case studies, scenarios and practice in the community and is run in partnership with the public health team at Derby City Council.
Contemporary – the degree is mapped against professional organisations meaning that your studies will be based in real-life issues and topics.
Facilities – you’ll have the opportunity to use our state-of-the-art facilities to analyse data, interpret results and practically apply the theory for the course.
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