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Department Profile: Master of Public Health - New team fueled by one philosophy

It can often take some time for new teams to learn how to work well together. But for the Master of Public Health (MPH) program’s administrative team, their common goals and overall philosophy made this transition easy.

The team is made up of five members: Amardeep Thind, director; Diana Lee, manager; Courtney Hambides, program coordinator; Lisa Metselaar, career development coordinator and Judith Thomas, administrative assistant. Thind explained that while he would describe the team as “compact”, each member brings a unique set of skills to the table and plays a specific role.

“The overall philosophy of the team comes back to what the goal of public health is: to create the conditions in which people can be healthy,” Thind said. “That’s what we strive to do here as a program — we want to give our students the tools, education and abilities that will give them the opportunity to be successful.”

Now into its second year, the MPH program was designed to fill a novel niche at the intersection of leadership, sustainability and policy within the Canadian health care system, as well as globally. The 12-month program is an interfaculty program, so it is not only run by Schulich Medicine & Dentistry faculty, but also faculty who are cross-appointed to other departments.

“For MPH, a lot of emphasis is being laid on case-based and experiential learning,” he said. “We are moving away from the professor at a podium with a PowerPoint presentation, as it’s a lot more group work, more interactive, and more team-based.”

While Thind was not part of the original team who worked to develop the MPH program, he has worked to carry on what they began.

Thind admitted that even though launching and developing a brand new program can be scary or intimidating at times, the students they are doing this work for make the job worthwhile.

“It’s absolutely a lot of work, as we have to create a curriculum, hire faculty members, arrange student practicum placements, and more,” he said. “However, it’s also fun and rewarding to see the joy and the happiness in the students’ eyes.”

“It’s exciting to know that we are training the next generation of public health professionals who will hopefully make a change in this world,” he added.