Are you looking to find out more about a career in the rewarding public health sector? Brunel University London recently held a webinar with their Course Director Dr Nana Anokye to discuss the online Public Health and Health Promotion MSc. Prior to the webinar, we had a chat with Nana to ask him some more about the public health sector, and what type of students this master’s degree would be ideal for.
Dr Nana Anokye is the Director of Research at the Department of Clinical Sciences at Brunel. Nana's work on the Economics of Physical Activity has been used by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to create three important national public health guidelines on exercise referral schemes, and develop advice for adults in primary care.
Nana’s interests within public health are wide-ranging - from looking at how primary care can improve health outcomes, and whether financial incentives improve maternal and child health, to investigating whether physical activity was any more independent from sedentary behaviour.
What are the key detrimental factors in public health today which the programme addresses?
The course is structured to be dynamic and keep abreast with the changes and challenges facing global public health. This is made possible through our wide engagement with policy makers, and our faculty being world-leading experts in public health, who conduct methodologically-sound policy-relevant research.
So for example, the Global Public Health module helps students to develop a critical knowledge of about 10 threats, identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO), that global health will face in 2019. Key among which include non-communicable diseases (which accounts for 70% of mortality cases worldwide), air pollution, HIV, and high threat pathogens like Ebola.
How does the course help students develop a critical understanding of global public health policies?
We do this from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. The Implementing Change and Health Promotion modules, for instance, provide both theoretical and practical understanding about conceptual underpinnings behind global public health policies, and how the effectiveness of these policies and interventions can be evaluated.
We recognise, however, that examining only the effectiveness does not present the complete picture. Therefore, we have the Health Economics module, and we are pleased to say that we are one of the very few public health courses to offer this module. The essence of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the methods used to measure costs and value health outcomes associated with public health programmes. And most importantly, the ability to critically appraise evidence related to effectiveness and cost effectiveness of public health programmes.
What is the typical student profile for this programme and what undergraduate areas have applicants typically progressed from?
We have a very diverse student population. Our students come from all parts of the world - Africa, Asia, North and Latin America, and Europe. They include professionals working in health and social care, local government, education and the voluntary sector. Students tend to hold first degrees from a wide range of disciplines including health, social sciences, biosciences, biomedicine, and business studies to mention but a few.
Could you tell us a little about the dissertation phase of the programme and what is expected of students in order to graduate successfully?
At the latter stages of the course lasting about 15 weeks, students are expected to undertake an empirical research project. This project is a culmination of all the intellectual achievements on the course, and presents a significant learning experience. To complete this, students are expected to develop a research question, apply for ethics approval, collect and analyse data (could be primary or secondary or mixed), and most importantly reflect on policy implications of the findings.
Students are guided throughout this process by academic staff with rich and wide experience in research. In addition, we provide a Research Methods and Ethics modules, which are specifically designed to provide students opportunities to develop knowledge about the theory of research, and its application in practice in public health and health promotion.
Could you tell us about some graduate success stories and in which fields recent Brunel alumni are currently working?
Our graduates do very well upon completion, as we are passionate about supporting the employability of our students. Students have access to information and advice from a careers consultant. A few examples of our recent success stories are our alumni who currently hold positions such as Professor in Public Health, Director of Healthcare Management Services, Associate Directors of Public Health at local government level, and Research and Development Coordinators.
If you’d like to hear more from Dr Nana Anokye about global public health issues, and what’s it like to study the Public Health and Health Promotion MSc online with Brunel University London, then you can sign up and watch the full webinar here.
Public Health and Health Promotion MSc online
Gain advanced skills and multidisciplinary knowledge to push your career in public health forward with one of the longest-established MSc courses in the UK.