I now have 3 extra letters after my name!

22 10 2014

Since June 2014, I can officially sign as: Sarah Topps, MPH

This has been a strange year for me, with a lot of ups and downs. There have been a number of major life changes which have somewhat interrupted the frequency of my online writing. I hope to change this in the coming months, despite still being busy! I have been really fortunate to be working on a number of interesting projects and teams, so let me give you the latest for each one.

1) Working at the University of Calgary on a project called Healthy Child Uganda.

Excitingly, our new website just went up! HCU is an amazing team, and I love my work with them. Check it out here: http://www.healthychilduganda.org/ 

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2) Surprise work trips to South America!

In September, I was also honoured to be offered the opportunity to travel with Dr. Marc Poulin (University of Calgary) to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) for their Safety Week Conference, focusing on the health impacts of working at high altitude. I would like to share the Impact Report that I wrote for the visit with you – particularly since this one has attracted quite a few compliments from my superiors, and as a Global Health alumnus, I found it so challenging to find good examples of this kind of documentation that we need to learn when I was a student. I hope it helps someone learn:
Impact Report – ALMA Safety Week Conference Sept 23 – 25 – FINAL © Sarah Topps 2014

chile sunset Sept 2014

Having dinner with world-class physicists every night is pretty cool. The sunsets were pretty spectacular too…This was taken literally from outside of my hotel room at ALMA. – Sarah Topps 2014

3) Speaking at Global Health Conferences and Events

We have also been making good progress with the new Student Executive arm of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research. I am excited to announce that I will be speaking about Mentorship at the 21st Canadian Conference on Global Health, along with several of my esteemed colleagues from the CCGHR, the CCGHR Student Executive and the CSIH Mentornet program.

You can view the program here:
http://www.ccgh-csih.ca/assets/Programclean_oct10.pdf

CCGH 2014 Partnerships for GH


Workshop #1 – Governor General 1 (< this is where to go if you are hoping to join us!)
Building a toolkit for success in global health: The many faces of mentorship
Sarah Topps, MPH (Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research)
At the end of the session, participants will:

  • Develop a 5-year roadmap for the next steps to take in their careers.
  • Identify pathways to finding a mentor and why this is important.
  • Strengthen their peer networks by connecting with others in global health.

I will also be co-presenting with those teams on the same topic at the now sold out Students and Young Professionals Global Health Summit on November 1st in Ottawa. Hope to see some of you there!

SYP

4) Promoting water workshops and networking events for students and young professionals.

My other appointment with the Canadian Water Network’s Students and Young Professionals Committee. My team has been doing amazing work pulling together several cool workshops across the country, which YOU can attend for free!
Check ’em out here: http://www.cwn-rce.ca/young-professionals/workshops/upcoming/

Moncton-banner_SYP-workshop

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We will also be announcing more information about our upcoming bi-annual water conference in March 2015. Stay tuned!
CWR2015-Banner

5) Expanding my horizons and donating to a good cause.

Newly interested in another project at the University of Calgary – Project SHINE – which is working with Maasai pastoralists in Tanzania to empower youth to educate themselves and others about sanitation and hygiene. Most recently I have been promoting their drive to collect used digital cameras or used smart phones to document the World’s First Sanitation Science Fair. I donated one of my old digital cameras, and I am very excited to be receiving a Foldscope (a working origami microscope!) in return for my donation.
 If anyone is interested in donating, Sheri is still looking for donations. See the poster below for details.

SHINE poster for donations

Sarah Topps, MPH © October 2014

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Using Everyday Objects for Healthy Portion Sizes

23 04 2014

Hello readers!

April has been a whirlwind of activity as I finish up my Master of Public Health degree! Earlier this month, I was invited to give a short ten-minute presentation on the subject of Nutritional Wellness.

hand guide for food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using my adult learning training, I chose to use the BOPPPS model to construct my 10-minute presentation. I have decided to upload my lesson plan for anyone to look at and use for educational purposes:

 Healthy Portion Sizes Lesson Plan – Sarah Topps 2014 

I have also uploaded the powerpoint presentation that I created to deliver this lesson:

Using Everyday Objects for Healthy Portion Sizes – Lesson 

 Short post today, but I hope it is useful for those of you who are:

  • aspiring public health professionals
  • current public health professionals looking for some new material
  • anyone looking for a BOPPPS lesson plan in its final form
  • health educators or health promotion managers

IMPORTANT: Please give credit where credit is due –
Do not pass this off as your own work!

Feel free to use it under the Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca/
(Full Creative Commons License description here)

Thanks for reading, and feel free to post any questions below!

– Sarah Topps 2014





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

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 8.31.24 PM

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





Free Global Health Courses!

19 12 2012

Phew! Finally finished my crazy semester… to put things in perspective, a full time graduate studies course load is 2 classes (3-4 credits each), and 3 classes is considered to be a 100% course load. Most of my fellow students took between 2 and 3 classes this term, with a few hard workers doing 4 (not counting not-for-credit seminars and lectures). Since I was working full time for the first year of my MPH degree, I was somewhat behind my cohort, leaving me with the option to either graduate later than most, or take on an insane course load this year. Of course, being a go-getter, I chose the latter and nearly killed myself with work this term doing… not 5… but SIX classes! (i.e. a 200% courseload, but hey… who’s counting?)

The grades are still coming back, but so far I’ve still got a pretty solid GPA. It looks good…

As a result of this crazy workload, I have become used to spending several hours a day just learning new things, and it seems that after 4 months of this, my brain actually can’t deal with just doing nothing. I took several weeks off to travel (I’m still travelling, in Reykjavik currently – more updates on that soon!) and after about 5 days, I needed to leeaarrnnnn (picture this in a zombie accent), and thus I discovered the incredible Global Health eLearning Center. I am now completely addicted.

The Global Health eLearning Center is a completely free online resource put together by USAID Bureau of Global Health that allows you to take free online courses and receive a certificate of completion for each one from USAID and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health! There are even certificate programs in certain areas such as Child Health and Health Systems.

Certificate example

The courses are free to access and straightforward to use, not to mention a great way to update your skills and knowledge in a variety of global health areas – go check it out!

– Sarah Topps 2012





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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