The Global Health Hub (.org)

3 02 2013

As a master of public health student, I often find it difficult to try and learn about everything that is going on in the world of public health, although one of the major reasons that I love my field of global health in particular, is that it is continuously and rapidly evolving. I’ve recently discovered a new information platform for keeping up with this busy and ever-changing field: GlobalHealthHub.org

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I learned of this website through their twitter feed, which someone suggested that I follow. I decided to go and check out their actual site and found an amazing array of useful tools and information stored there. [I was also thrilled to discover that I have a master in public health degree in common with the founding editor Sarah Arnquist (@sarnquist), who has her degree from Johns Hopkins University.]

GlobalHealthHub.org is 100% volunteer driven, and provides news updates, guest editorials, links to other global health blogs, job postings, resources, and my personal favourite feature, an open-source global health and development timeline! Be sure to check it out.

– Sarah Topps 2013





Back to Grad School

5 09 2012

As many of you know, these past few months have been hectic as I prepared to leave my full-time job to return to graduate studies. With luck and sweat and tears, I hope to finish a whopping course-load of 6 classes this semester and 4 next semester in order to complete the coursework part of my Master of Public Health degree by April 2013. Following that (and assuming I survive it all) I will be heading abroad to undertake a 14 – 26 week health-related practicum somewhere in the wide world.

Note: I am searching for an amazing practicum experience, so if you have or know of a program/project/organization outside of Canada that would be interested in taking on a master’s student for several months, please feel free to message me. I have several ideas, but I don’t have to choose until December.

The one cool thing about returning to school is that people suddenly seem to think you are interested in “the issues” again, and start adding you to listserves and forwarding interesting articles and websites and book suggestions and thoughts to you. Some of them are useful, many of them are not, but I appreciate feeling included in the discussion again nonetheless.

For those of you looking to get into the health and development field, I give you this week’s interesting and useful website, the new Beta version of Healthy Reads – a collaborative website where users can share and rank health related news much like Reddit or StumbleUpon, but in a newsfeed format. It’s free to join, and as with all social media sites, will become more useful the more people use it. Please join us!





To master or not to master?

18 03 2010

As an honours student at a top university, I have been frequently asked what my post-grad plans are in the months leading up to my graduation. Many of my peers have applied to grad school, and many will succeed, given the competitive push amongst those of us who have lasted through our undergraduate degrees. I thought I would investigate this line of thinking and see how common my choices were…

My top choices currently stand as follows:

1. Masters of Public Health at Simon Fraser University

2.  Travelling to Cameroon to work with Aquacare, a locally-founded organization which is promoting SODIS (solar water disinfection) – the topic of my current thesis

3. Travelling to Angola to work with Karen Henriksen and the Centro Evangelico de Medicina de Lubango (although I would need to learn more Portuguese first)

4. Masters of Public Health at Queen’s University (although more of an Epidemiology focus than SFU)

5. Working as the Morocco consultant for the Rickshaw Travel company located in Brighton, England

6. Working temporarily for Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) – a job I’ve already been interviewed for, that would help me work off my student debt, let me travel and improve my language skills

There are others, but those are the top ones which appeal to me at the moment. Several internships also appeal, although I plan to find out if my applications to grad school are successful before applying.

Being at university, and especially as a B.A. student, I often feel as if everyone and their dog has a university degree these days – which can be seen in both a positive and a negative light. After applying to grad school, I thought about the number of my friends from high school who didn’t go to university, and wondered what the national statistics had to say about the matter.

The answer is surprising – only 19.4% of Canadians (2007) have completed a university degree. This includes all bachelors degrees, masters and PhD’s in the country. If you also include CEGEPS, colleges and technical degrees, diplomas and certificates, the number rises to 46%, which is apparently the highest proportion in the world!

Wow. I feel much smarter now – thanks Google! I have been so immersed in the academic environment for the past 5 years that I haven’t stopped to realize both how lucky and how talented we students are as a group of people in this country, and globally. Having realized this, and knowing that the rate for a master’s program must be that much lower, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for being accepted. I just hope that I have eased someone else’s mind in the process of writing this!

– Sarah Topps








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