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Graeme Higgins, MPH'14: Impacting the health of his patients

Graeme Higgins, MPH’14, hasn’t taken what you would call a “traditional” path.

Originally from Scarborough, Ontario, Higgins completed his undergraduate degree in kinesiology at Dalhousie University, and then moved back to his hometown to work as a Kinesiologist in a private rehabilitation clinic.

While working, he quickly became aware of the systematic influences that impacted the health of his patients, and often came frustrated by how certain circumstances affected his ability to improve his patients’ health. For example, the nutrition counseling he offered was impacted by his patients’ ability to afford healthy food.

Higgins wanted to learn more about the field of public health so he could have a greater impact on his community. Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Master of Public Health program stood out to him for a number of reasons.

“The condensed program would allow me to continue advancing my career quickly, and the case-based method of learning seemed like the most practical way to prepare myself for real-world scenarios that I would encounter in my future career,” he said

Higgins said the MPH program helped him develop transferable skills such as communication, leadership and teamwork. He also learned how to approach problems.

“In a field where new problems are constantly emerging as the world changes, knowing how to analyze these problems will always be essential,” he explained.

Higgins is currently completing his undergraduate medical degree at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton. While he can’t say for certain, he feels that his MPH degree gave him an edge over other applicants.

“The MPH program helped me to understand the complexity of health issues, and to look at problems from perspectives that most applicants would not consider,” he said. “I believe that carrying a public health perspective in my future career will help me become a good practitioner and benefit my patients.”