Previous Degrees: MBBS, MHSc, MSc
Program and Year: PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics 1st year
Area of Research: Global Health (Health services research in Fragile countries)
Name of Supervisor: Dr. Amardeep Thind
Awards and Publications:
What led you to choose Epidemiology and Biostatistics?
As a medical student in Pakistan, I realized that research drives our understanding of the clinical course and implications of disease and also guides the entire health care system. I set out to learn more about research and was fortunate to have the guidance of some amazing professors in medical school who helped me in designing my first independent research project on anxiety and depression in medical students living in dormitories.
Later on I moved to Egypt and Sudan, where I was exposed to discussions about impact of health research on local communities and collaborated with research scholars from Egypt, Sudan and Pakistan to promote community participation in health research ethics. ‘Beyond research ethics committees, acceptance by investigators and involvement of the community’ was presented at the Global forum for health in Cairo in 2006 and published in 2009 in the Middle Eastern Fertility Journal.
As part of the ‘Middle Eastern Research Ethics Training Initiative’ MERETI by the University of Maryland, I collaborated with universities in Sudan, Egypt and Pakistan to train researchers in health research ethics focusing on confidentiality, informed consent especially for stored tissue materials, and community collaboration in health research ethics. I was driven to the field of Epidemiology to understand methodology and how decisions impact the health sector. With a curiosity toward understanding the big picture, I sought out advanced learning in Research Methodology and pursued Master’s in Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
What is your favourite memory, so far, in studying Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western University?
Coming back to pursue my doctorate has brought back many wonderful memories of doing my Masters at Western. I remember long nights and hours of group study and the wonderful feeling of completing and defending the thesis. Most of all, I have great memories of constant support of the staff and faculty who are accessible and available on campus and impromptu discussions about the field.
What is an interesting fact about Epidemiology or Biostatistics that you can share with us?
Something interesting that I keep on discovering is the scope of the field of Epidemiology itself. You can choose to pursue any direction that you have interest in. From clinical medicine to global health, health systems research, mental health, cancer or genetic epidemiology, health economics and policy evaluation; Epidemiology and Biostatistics has a role in many different disciplines.
What are your goals for your current or future Epidemiology and Biostatistics research?
My goal is to attain a better understanding of how health systems operate in fragile countries. These are countries around the world with socio-political unrest, and I want to learn about the factors that impact the health care systems in these countries and possible ideas to improve health care delivery.
What advice would you give to students considering studying Epidemiology and Biostatistics?
Epidemiology and Biostatistics is a great field for anyone curious and passionate about health care. It is empowering to focus on issues that directly or indirectly affect millions of people. You can pursue any topic related to health care that you are passionate about and make meaningful contribution to the field of medicine and health care at the same time.