STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

We would like to introduce you to Omarwalid, new member of the Newsletter Team!

Why are you in the MPH?
What if people lived healthier lives, practiced preventive medicine, and took precautions against illness and disease? My days in the physical therapy department often made me think about the prevention of diseases, injuries and other health related issues. Although I love the science of it and helping people, the lack of variety within the field and its limited options for growth bothered me. I needed a career that helped a large number of people, emphasized on health promotion, prevention and primary care rather than tertiary care, and would continually challenge and motivate me to improve. Knowing that I really did not want to pursue my specialization as I originally planned right after graduation from Kabul Medical University, my thoughts wandered to the area of public health.

Hence, there are several reasons why I am interested in getting a Master of Public Health. The main reason why I am getting my master’s in Public health is that, Afghanistan lags behind other countries in terms of research, training on research and scientific research culture among health professionals. Medical universities, teaching hospitals and institutions lack qualified researchers and fail to follow the trend towards integrated multidisciplinary approaches in research, resulting in acutely poor research portfolio. Therefore, external institutions conduct most of research activities and trainings. There is a need for local research dynamics. From my point of view it is the most important priority to focus on presently in Afghanistan. Consequently, the people would get better health services, which is their right to have, through better management of health systems, identifying the health problems of a population, analyses of the resources needed to contribute to preserving and improving health conditions, and taking decision related to public health.

Tell us about your background.
I have a background in medicine – graduated from Kabul Medical University with MD degree. Besides I hold the diploma in Business administration (DBA), clinical research and Sexual & Reproductive Health Research. I have been awarded two scholarships; one semester in Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands, where I was a medical exchange student and the SAARC where I represented Afghanistan among 19 other students from all over Afghanistan in India.

Tell us about your work experience.
Well, not much work experience. I was working as student Representative of my class for 6 years and in the last year as Student Representative of all Kabul Medical University students. On the top of that I have been an English language instructor in Hilal Educational Center (HEC) and at the same time a translator at International Medical Corps (IMC) for 2 years.
In addition I was volunteering in the research department of Afghanistan National Public Institute (ANPHI), before joining the MPH program.

Why do you want to write articles for the newsletter?
Due to the fact that I love writing and it’s really enjoyable for me when I put my thoughts in letters and words. Likewise, to my way of thinking “writing” is a good tool and strategy because it makes one “read and search” more and more leading to increase of knowledge and understanding of wide range of subjects.

What are your favorite things about Paris?
The most loved things for me in Paris are Promenading around Eiffel Tower during dusk and nightfall’s, fixing my gaze from the hill of Montmartre overlooking the city, eating lunch or dinner on the weekends in different restaurants of Saint Michel vicinity, taking a ride on a Bateaux Mouche to get a different perspective of landmarks and taking some great photos at the same time, cycling alongside the Seine at the crack of dawn, participating in different culture and language exchange programs held in Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris and last but not the least SHOPPING!!!

Where do you see yourself in 15 years?
I will be 41 years old at that time. I hope to have found my soul mate and have a nice family and my Mom and Dad would be having a nice time with their grandchildren. I am a family guy and for me the love of family is the life’s greatest blessing. On the other hand I wish to have found a nice job and serve for the humanity -regardless of race, ethnicity and religious boundaries. Moreover, I dream about teaching in one of the universities in the world (preferably Afghanistan) where I would be able to better coordinate health research efforts and more systematically fill workforce and information gaps that can be addressed through epidemiologic studies and researches.

What is your favorite food?
Afghani traditional food -Qabeli Palau and Oh yes anything cooked by my MOM .

What do you do in your spare time?
My passion is sports; I go to the gym every other day, go swimming once in a week, and play billiard, table tennis and football and … once in a while. Besides I enjoy reading books, watching movies. Besides I enjoy rambling and visiting different landmarks on the weekends with my friends. Likewise I am fond of traveling around the world and experiencing how it feels practicing global citizenship.

What do you like/hate about the MPH so far?
I really appreciate the contents of its curriculum, covering wide range of subjects, related to public health by many international guest speakers coming from all over the world- sharing their knowledge and experience they gained throughout their career. Besides what I really like is the multi-cultural kaleidoscopic arrangement of the program. We learn more not only about different cultures but also experiences of our classmates.
On the other hand what has been bothering me is the amount of face to face contact hours and lectures we have been having- every day from 9:00 to 5:00 that for me has been something new and difficult to adapt to at the beginning. It would have been better to have more time for self-study than merely listening to presentations the whole day.

Which Disney character would you want to be?
Hercules 🙂 with taking into consideration that a true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the size of his heart.

What would you do with a million euros?
I always dream bigger when it comes about dreaming! So I would say Millions…I will definitely divide it into three equal parts; I will built a good living for myself and family, Share it with poor and homeless people living in my neighborhood that can hardly make ends meet, and the last one third on building a cancer hospital for children to be treated for free and on building vocational institute for orphans.

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