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Saturday 4/16/2016 School of Public Health

Saturday 6/8/2013 Selected Alumni Profiles



PhD student in Epidemiology from Ethiopia

Habteyes Hailu Tola

I would like to appreciate TUMS for giving me opportunity to pursue both my MSc and PhD in this school. Indeed, I have no wonderful word to appreciate the contribution of TUMS in my scientific career as individual, and as a whole for my country.

When I come to the point, before I joined the School of Public Health (SPH), I was working as an assistant researcher and laboratory personnel in national research institute, Ethiopian public Health Institute. I was interested to the field of Epidemiology/Biostatistics because I believed this field of science is a center of medical, biological and public health sciences. I belief without Epidemiology and Biostatistics medicine and public health are empty houses without necessary goods.

Biostatistics is a language of science, particularly a language of bio-medical research. Without it, nobody can speak or write the science in a clear and conceptual manner. Thus, the skills I obtained from biostatistics course in SPH are numerous. I am now completely different person from before. Now, I can analyze different data to answer different research questions for myself and others. Moreover, I can use different sophisticated statistical packages to analyze research data. In general, I feel as I am full researcher, and I hope I will develop this practical and theoretical knowledge I have got from these field of science. By using this chance, I would like to acknowledge my outstanding professors and fellow students who shared with me their valuable experience in this field. I belief, all programs of Epidemiology and Biostatistics department in SPH are interesting. All courses contained detail theoretical and practical subject matters. The most part of this department which I like is the content of the curriculum and way of teaching. Although I don’t know the curriculum of many countries I belief this curriculum is the most perfect.

  My favorite memories in SPH Biostatistics are numerous. To mention few of them: reading with high interest through the day, solving different difficult mathematical problems, peppering three minute presentation for every class (Unforgettable), working with different students in a group, opportunity to get recent reading materials (books), motivation to publish scientific article on peer reviewed journal etc.      

For prospective student, I would like to say; SPH, department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics is a place you are reborn in scientific knowledge and critical thinking. If your mind becoming retired, it is the place of your mind renewal. SPH, department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics is the place in which future scientists are sharpen with distinguished professor. When I indicate the department as this, someone may consider it as exaggerative. However, it is the realty and I am the life witness on my scientific reasoning knowledge before and after I joined the department.       

Currently, I am associate researcher in Ethiopian Public Health Research Institute, formerly known as Pasteur Institute De’Ethiopie, and fourth semester PhD student at TUMS, SPH, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Before, I came to SPH, TUMS I have no a single article on peer reviewed journal. However, since I came to SPH, TUMS, I have published five articles on prestigious peer reviewed journals. Interested person who want to know my current scientific career can search my publication from Google and take her/his evaluation.    

My day to day life is very simple. By nature I like to read, write and solve mathematics problems. Thus my main day to day life is reading, writing and solving mathematical problems. In addition, I like practicing advanced data analysis using different statistical package. Sometimes, I like to visit park and chatting with friends.   

The most satisfying job experience I have obtained using biostatistics is analyzing research data in high quality and publishing article on prestigious peer reviewed journal. Also, I satisfy by helping friends on data analyzing and interpretation.  

My big experience at SPH is reading and consulting with professors on the subject I don’t understand. In addition, the experience I got is reading through the day and night to change my scientific thinking. Therefore, I advise others to read all their time and consult with professors on the subject they don’t understand. There are a lot of wonders in books, those who search for wonders found wonders in books!

In fact I have no numerous accomplishments. However, I was awarded 7, 000 USA dollar research grant for my MSc thesis project from KNC TB foundation Netherland based NGO and 2, 000 USA dollar from Ethiopian Public Health Institute. In addition, I have published two articles on high impact factor and three on moderate impact factor journals from my MSc thesis.

Finally, once again I would like to acknowledge TUMS for giving me two chances to peruse my both MSc and PhD digress, and I appreciate you for giving me this chance to speak about my heartfelt opinion about Epidemiology and Biostatistics.





PhD student in Epidemiology from Pakistan

Owais Raza


 Owais Raza is currently pursuing his PhD in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatics at SPH.

"I, as an MBBS student at the Ziauddin University, Karachi, Pakistan, was pretty much interested in an idea of halting disease transmission and holistic approach for controlling diseases in the community setting, and that made me pursue public health instead of clinical medicine. Thereafter, I was exposed to the field work in one of the low socioeconomic community adjacent to the University. At that time I was also an instructor in the department of Community Health Sciences at Ziauddin University. These two experiences were the foundation of my love to epidemiology.

The Ph.D. program in epidemiology at this school prepares us to conceptualize a public health problem, design epidemiological studies, collect and analyze data, and interpret and disseminate results to a broad range of public health constituents. We have covered advanced coursework in both quantitative and qualitative epidemiological methods, social epidemiology, and demography. In my opinion, there is two strong aspect of this program; firstly, we had a close interaction with the faculty members and secondly, each course had a practical assessment. 

Tehran University of Medical Sciences has one of the top-rated epidemiology programs in the country. The coursework was difficult and therefore, interested students should make an informed decision. My first and most important advice for prospective students is to take some time off before pursuing Ph.D. I think it would be a great help if a student has field experiences. Although, a medical (i.e. MBBS/MD/DDS/DVM) and mathematical background isn't the stringent criterion, but having such courses in undergraduate and/or master's degree will definitely give an edge in understanding epidemiological concepts. Well finally, I would advise them to reach out to the current students (International students of TUMS are actively communicating on social media with each other and with prospective students). We can discuss regarding what is the course load like? What opportunities are available to improve academic and research skills? What kind of interaction do students have with their advisers? What resources are available for supplement funding? And most importantly, what is the social aspect of our department and School of Public Health.

 All faculty members at SPH are very friendly, academically rich, experts in their fields, and most importantly, they are very cool to interact. I’ve been to lunches, hiking, and shopping with faculty members in a very informal atmosphere.

At the moment, I'm preparing my results and striving to complete my thesis, therefore my primary responsibility is to focus on my thesis. Beside this, I am also involved in assisting MPH students. Regarding career opportunities in Epidemiology, there are two major pathways of career (these can be overlapped); a) teaching and b) research. Once you have a Ph.D. in epidemiology, you can comfortably be successful in both the domains. Skills that one will learn during this program (i.e. critical thinking, understanding biological and statistical concepts, data analysis, proficiency with statistical software) will provide placement in variety of jobs, including – but not limited to – university faculty member, epidemiologist in ministry of health, veterinary epidemiologist, pharmaceutical epidemiologist, molecular epidemiologist, infection control epidemiologist, field epidemiologist.

 I have had many favorite memories at SPH as well, to begin with, community assessment is my best experience. I have visited two cities (Kazeron and Bandar Abbas) during several rounds of community assessments. During my visits, I toured various healthcare facilities and interviewed health workers and community members, and I must tell you that Persian people are very friendly and welcoming even to strangers, and they would love to invite us (foreigner students) into their home. In short, these visits were full of the learning experience and entertainment as well.