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The Singular Joy of Public Health

Since I began drafting Personal Statements or Statements of Purpose 20 years ago, in all disciplines, nothing has brought us as much singular joy as I have found helping applicants with their essays for admission to graduate programs in public health. One applicant from Nigeria mentioned in her rough draft that in some rural areas of her country, parents set the feet and legs of their children on fire because they are convinced that this is the only way to ward off evil spirits. Need I say more? It is the most profound honor imaginable for me to have the privilege of helping applicants in this field from all over the Developing World, public health professionals the vast majority of whom will return at some point in their career to help design and implement new generations of public health initiatives in their countries of origin in Asia, Africa, Latin America, etc.   I am especially pleased to know that by helping you to join state-of-the-art programs in public health throughout the English-speaking world I am insuring my own immortality in the most meaningful way possible, that my own labors will not have been in vain.

MPH student helps improve women's health in Uganda. With a passion for international health, Lauren Baur traveled to Uganda this past summer to complete an internship as part of her Master of Public Health degree.

Sample Statement of Research Objective for the MPH Degree.

I hope to earn a Master of Public Health with a concentration in the area of health care management, public policy development, and education; and I plan to also develop a concurrent focus on crisis and disaster management. I look forward to a lifetime of creative research in the search for ways to better implement intervention policies that are able to provide the population with direct access to primary health care--even in the face of emergencies—due to public health preparedness education and strategic planning, even in a Third World country such as my own, Pakistan, that is prone to natural disasters as well as plagued by political violence

Three months ago I had the chance of meeting Dr XXXX, a practicing pulmonologist in Farmington, Connecticut, United States. We got into a discussion concerning the primary health care structure in Pakistan, what it is lacking, and why the system is failing. The basic health unit (BHU), the first medical contact available to villagers, is generally found without a doctor and all too often with a lock on the door and no help to be found at all. In order for the BHUs to be functional we need to provide incentives for doctors to work in rural areas and ensure an authority is responsible to ensure that quality of service is maintained and checked regularly. I was especially excited by an example that Dr. Burki told me about of a module in the US where a team of attending physicians rotates into a rural areas for one week out of each month, greatly enhancing the coverage and quality of care in those rural areas that are most in need of that care. Completing my MPH program will provide me with the opportunity to explore a wide range of health care delivery models and creative ideas for bringing health care to rural areas, especially in the Developing World.

I look forward to working on medical education and awareness especially in much neglected parts of the interior, in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab. My project of diarrhea awareness and basic preventive measure in ‘Mithi’ Thar Parkar helped me to become acutely aware of the deadly consequences of our vast health care delivery disparities between our rural and urban populations. I would continue to do parallel projects with ‘Akhuwat’ and ‘Rotary Foundation’ and align my health awareness programs with welfare projects that are already in place.

One of the highlights of my career so far was going to India as part of an intellectual exchange conference where I had the opportunity to meet fellow members of the Rotary Foundation, who had successfully improved their health care systems through the use of primary health care campaigns in rural areas. We face special challenges in my country because Pakistan has been facing one natural disaster after the other or as long as I can remember. Every year, we face floods and every year we realize how utterly unprepared we are. Command structures break down and information delivery systems fail to function; all in the absence of adequate plans of action for what few emergency response resources do exist.

Once I earn the MPH Degree in America, I hope to work with our National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to address the most salient structural weaknesses that result in our in ability to respond to natural disasters with medical assistance to the victims.

Combining Public Health Intervention and Research in Nigerian Women. Video showing how we linked public health intervention with research into cervical cancer and HPV in Nigeria.

"Every day, millions of people living in the WHO African Region face threats to their health and livelihoods as a result of disease outbreaks, natural and man made disasters."

"These incidents are often associated with high number of deaths as well as destruction of health facilities. Natural disasters such as floods, cyclones and droughts displace communities making them vulnerable to diseases. In 2008 alone, eleven countries of West Africa, 9 countries in Southern Africa and at least four countries in the Nile valley recorded floods that displaced over half a million people with 160,000 in Mozambique alone."

"Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation, prolonged rainy or dry seasons, and displacement of populations associated with natural and man-made disasters contribute to the frequency and severity of disease outbreaks. The already weak health systems of some countries in the Region suffer when financial, human and logistical resources are diverted to epidemic response."

The African Public Health Emergency Fund

The Modern Slave Trade: Public Health Impacts. A global scourge, human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that traps millions of people in lives of forced labor and sexual exploitation.

Sample 1st Paragraph MPH, Applicant with MSW

Earning my MSW last year, 2014, at the University of XXXX was a crowning achievement; nevertheless, I find myself still thirsty for additional academic preparation. As career professional with Child Protective Services in the Twin Cities with 20 years experience, earning the MSW helped me to become much better in my service to the community in every way, more sensitive, effective, etc. In fact, my MSW has helped me to see more clearly the broader picture of a whole range of issues that are involved with questions of child protection—most of all, health issues, particularly mental health and addictions. As a result, I feel very strongly that earning my MPH Degree at the University of XXXX would enable me to continue to advance in novel and creative directions what would summon my maximum professional contribution to health care in our inner city. Health concerns are especially evident in the cases that I have dealt with for the past two decades working with Spanish-speaking clients. Raised for several formative years in Puerto Rico as a child, I have always been part of this community and I hope to continue to work with and study our primarily Spanish-speaking population and their relationship with our social services for the balance of my personal as well as professional life.