What does a career in Health Sciences and Public Health look like?

Not sure what an MPH or MHSc degree can do for you and your career? After graduation, students can go on to work as public health consultants, policy analysts, public health nurses, epidemiologists, academics, infectious disease consultants, health promoters, and more!  Below you will find a few examples of former students and their careers in Public Health and Health Sciences.
 

Examples of organizations where Master of Public Health (MPH) students have found employment include:

• The Public Health Agency of Canada
• Health Canada
• The Government of Ontario
• Ontario Public Health Units (Various locations)
• Ontario Public Health Association
• Centre for Mental Health & Addictions (CAMH)
• Health Authorities (Various provinces/locations)


 

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"I completed my undergraduate thesis at McMaster University on bridging the knowledge gap between scientists and undergraduate students, and through this project, I discovered a passion for knowledge translation and science communication. Through the MPH program at Lakehead University, I was able to advance my skills in knowledge translation and learn strategies for improving health literacy in the public. I recently accepted a research position in the Knowledge Translation Department at St. Michael’s Hospital, which was a dream job for me just a year ago. I’m so thankful for the knowledge and connections I have gained at Lakehead University, and I am excited to see how my career in public health develops!"

- Anitha Ithayalingam, Master in Public Health Candidate, 2022

 

 


 

Headshot of student"With my background in research (thanks in huge part to the MPH program!), I wanted to complete a practicum somewhere at the intersection between research and the community, and found BC Healthy Communities. It’s a non-profit that supports health authorities and local government organizations throughout BC with program planning. As I finish up my practicum, I realized my passion lied in working within a health authority where I would be able to affect change right from the start. I applied to a public health leader position with the Vancouver Island Health Authority and with the support of Dr. Møller, I was offered the job! For the first few months, I will be helping with COVID-19 recovery throughout Victoria, BC, and helping restart various initiatives and programs that took a back seat during the pandemic."

- Halley Cote, MPH with Specialization in Indigenous and Northern Health, 2021


 

Harleen Hans, Ekjot Grewal, and Zarin Tasnim (three Master of Public Health with Specialization in Epidemiology graduates) have accepted permanent roles as Policy Analysts after completing their practicum placements with HealthHeadshot of student Canada in 2021.

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                   Harleen Hans                                                                                                                                            Ekjot Grewal

 

Headshot of student“I completed my practicum for the MPH program with the PPE strategy team of Health Canada’s Covid-19 Task Force. I am incredibly excited to have accepted an offer from Health Canada to continue employment with them as an Analyst. 

My practicum experience has quite literally been life changing. Working with the Covid-19 Task Force has been such an enriching, eye opening experience, as I was able to see certain aspects of the federal response for the Covid-19 crisis up close. I had the privilege of working with and learning from some remarkable people, and hope to continue doing so in my journey with Health Canada. 

‘The opportunity will present itself; you just have to be prepared to meet it’ – and I wanted to give my sincere thanks to Lakehead University for helping me prepare for such an amazing opportunity through all the support and learning they provided to me during my time as a student.”

- Zarin Tasnim, MPH with Specialization in Epidemiology, 2021


 

Headshot of student“I am an MPH student specializing in epidemiology (course based, non-thesis option). I chose Lakehead University because it was one of the only MPH programs which allowed me to balance my busy work schedule with post-graduate studies.

I graduated from medical school in 2015 and plan to pursue a residency in Family Medicine. Combining my MPH with a family medicine residency allows me to understand the dynamics of clinical medicine and preventative health. I don't want to just treat disease;  I want to engage in preventative health measures that reduce the occurrence of the disease.

Lakehead University has done a remarkable job helping me understand the various factors that determine health. This provides me with a better context in which to understand my patient's concerns and barriers to achieving optimal health.

My other passions include various community health initiatives. I'm currently one of six women who are in the process of growing 
FemCare, a non-profit organization which aims to provide feminine hygiene products to homeless and marginalized women in Hamilton, Ontario. FemCare was recently featured on CBC newsGlobal news and other notable news organizations. Additionally, this past December 2018 the councilors in the city of Hamilton passed a motion to study the feasibility of funding menstrual products for homeless and low-income women and girls and subsequently announced May 28, 2019, as inaugural menstrual hygiene day.

Lakehead has been a positive force in allowing me to combine my public health education with my clinical experience to positively impact healthcare and women's rights in a global health scenario.” 

  -Vanora D’Sa, MPH with Specialization in Epidemiology, 2021 

Vanora completed her practicum placement at The National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases in Manitoba. 


 

Headshots of studentsAndrea Fortin and Ambili Kariaparambil Rajan presented their poster presentations at the 2018 APHEO (Association of Public Health Epidemiologists in Ontario) Conference & Workshop which was held November 25-27 at Crown Plaza, Niagara Falls. Both completed their theses on cancer patients and multimorbidity in Ontario. Andrea explored the effect of socio-demographic and health system factors on the association between multimorbidity and colorectal cancer survival. Her supervisors were Dr. Anna Kone Pefoyo and Dr. Lindsay Galway. Ambili examined (a) whether the effect of comorbidities on survival in cancer patients is modified by the presence of depression and (b) among cancer patients with depression whether the effect is modified by minimally adequate pharmacotherapy for depression. Her supervisors were Dr. Anna Kone Pefoyo and Dr. Deborah Scharf.

- Ambili Kariaparambil Rajan (2020), and Andrea Fortin (2021), Master of Health Sciences with Specialization in Epidemiology


 

Headshot of student"Completing the Master of Public Health (MPH) practicum at my current place of employment, Ottawa Public Health (OPH), provided new opportunities to work on a different topic....on a different team...and in a different unit. I will be meeting with senior leadership to deliver my final report including my primary and secondary recommendations. Interactions with the senior leadership team can only be positive and foster my career growth as it gives my work and skills exposure to the decision-makers. 
Overall, I was able to apply the knowledge and skills learned in my MPH coursework...Being able to successfully complete the project addressing such a complex public health issue, that for the most part was new to me, has given me confidence in my abilities. This confidence will be applied to new projects as I continue my nursing career with public health and take on more challenging leadership roles."

- Susan Brown-Charbonneau, Master of Public Health, 2020


 

Headshot of student"This past semester I completed my practicum with my employer, Niagara Region Public Health, where I was in charge of the climate change portfolio. My work included: understanding the burden of climate change on vulnerable populations by laying the foundation for a heat vulnerability assessment map, improving knowledge exchange strategies by creating content for a webpage on climate change and human health, assist with climate change policies for the Official Plan, improving stakeholder engagement by connecting various staff in other departments working on climate change to share one unified vision, liaise with municipal climate change advisors to support local bylaw development for adaptation/mitigation, provide data analysis consultation at a partnering university working on climate change and vulnerability, host monthly lunch & learn sessions with regional staff to discuss the impacts climate change will have on their health, compile a list of ways the public health department has mitigated climate change, creating a climate change committee, and to present all of this work to my board of health (TBD). Although continuation of this work after my placement became dramatically halted due to COVID-19, I will revisit the portfolio in the future to continue to work on fighting for climate change in the region.

Overall, I would highly recommend a placement with your employer if the opportunity is there. You get to break out of your own silo and appreciate the amazing work your colleagues do in other divisions/departments as well as make new friends!"
     

- Kaitlyn Irving, Master of Public Health with Specialization in Epidemiology, 2020


 

Headshot of studentThesis: Age and Sex Influences on Health Care Utilization through the Ontario Telemedicine Network

 Why Lakehead Health Sciences?:

"I chose to further my education at Lakehead University as I am interested in directing my education and career paths towards northern health, particularly improving access to specialized health care for those residing in northern, rural communities. The experiences and opportunities I have gained thus far in the MHSc Program have been overwhelmingly positive. I initially entered the program unsure of how I wanted to focus my research. The insight and guidance provided by students and faculty within the department helped focus my interests and ideas, leading to the development of my thesis research exploring virtual health care utilization among Ontario residents."

- Jessica Lowey, Master of Health Sciences with Specialization in Epidemiology, 2019


 

Headshot of student“I am a graduate from Lakehead’s Master of Public Health - Nursing Specialization program. As I look back upon the two years I have dedicated to the advancement of my education, and of the sacrifices my family and I have made to achieve this goal, I am quite certain it was the right decision. 

As a Registered Nurse, I already had a solid understanding of the necessary skills and personal attributes that contribute to the enhancement of health for the patients I was charged to care for. Lakehead’s MPH program however has broadened my understanding of what constitutes health for individuals, communities and populations. This program has challenged me to look deeper into the underlying causes of health and illness, to evaluate fundamental structures in our environment and personal lives that may influence physical and mental wellness, and to challenge the policies of our governments so that they may reflect the needs of its citizens. 

Since the commencement of my final practicum in July of this year, I have begun a new job as a Clinical Nurse Researcher, a job I would have never been qualified for if I had not completed a Masters program. I now spend my time in my new career helping to implement new policies and innovative technologies to help enhance the quality of life for aging Canadians. Going back to school can be a difficult decision, even more challenging after working as a professional for many years. For me it was the best decision. My experience at Lakehead was challenging and rewarding, it was a decision I am certain I will never regret.”

- Lori McDonald, Master of Public Health with Specialization in Epidemiology, 2018


 

Headshot of student"I have had a great experience with the MPH program at Lakehead University. It has allowed me the flexibility of studying from home and while travelling. I appreciate how the professors and instructors truly care about their work and student progress. My most memorable experience of the program was engaging with peers and faculty through online communications and presentations. I am currently completing my practicum placement at the Canadian Public Health Association. Through this experience, I am able to apply all the knowledge and skills from the program in a non-governmental organization which is the national voice and trusted advocate for public health."

- Jennifer Churchill, Master of Public Health, 2018

 

 


 

Headshot of student“The public health program at Lakehead University, with a comprehensive course curriculum, provided me an extensive knowledge and skills to apply in the field to improve the health and well-being of communities. Working as a Graduate Assistant under the supervision of Dr. Helle Moeller provided me with an in-depth knowledge and experience in conducting a research project from start to end. This is helping me a lot in my current work as a Research Analyst. Throughout the MPH program, I had an awesome experience working in groups and learning from classmates with different backgrounds. 

I was fortunate enough to secure a practicum position at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) where I worked on a provincial report regarding the “Gaps in the Use of Health Care Services by Adults with Developmental Disabilities". I also had the opportunity to work with their internal database to review Autism Charts. Upon completion of my practicum I was offered a position as a Research Analyst at CAMH. 

I hope that I will continue to work in this field and apply the knowledge and skills that I have learnt to make a sustainable impact on the health and well-being of communities.”

- Nancy Gupta, Master in Public Health with Specialization in Epidemiology, 2018


Headshot of student"The public health program at Lakehead University stood out to me for its unique course framework of having the flexibility to further my education online and the opportunity to work full-time. The program afforded me with many opportunities to connect with students through collaborative group work and the chance to meet other working professionals in this field.
 
I completed my practicum experience at Toronto Public Health working in the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Department. My role involved creating a Twitter account for the Diabetes Team and completing a literature review on type 2 diabetes prevention methods to help evaluate and inform the current diabetes programs offered through Toronto Public Health. I was fortunate enough to meet many caring and passionate people in different areas of expertise, which shaped my interest and opened my eyes to new ideas, roles, and work being done in the community that I was not even aware of.
 
Having completed my Masters in Public Health, my career goals are to listen and work with communities to empower them to recognize their strengths and understand their problems in order to help them engage with resources to create change. I hope to make a positive impact and improve the well being of populations locally and globally by using the knowledge and experience gained throughout my academic and practicum experience.
 

- Bianca Gabriela Gonzalez, Master of Public Health, 2018


 

Headshot of studentThesis: Exploring Older Adult Male Participation in a Free, Biweekly, Group-based, Indoor Walking Initiative

"Lakehead University has provided me with a great opportunity to apply key tenets of public health and health promotion in an aging context. Having small class sizes allowed you to get to know and build strong connections with your professors and instructors. I learned a lot about the research process and was able to conduct innovative research in an area I was passionate about, with excellent support from experts in the field. The 400-hour practicum requirement was fantastic. I worked on dementia-related projects for the nationally and internationally renowned Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health, where I was able to work with the community as well as academic experts to put evidence into action. Upon completion of my placement, I was employed by CERAH where I am currently involved in the planning and delivery of palliative care education series across Ontario. Graduate studies at Lakehead allowed me to gain valuable academic, research, and real-world knowledge and experience."

- Kassandra Fernandes, Master of Public Health (Thesis), 2018


 

 "The Masters of Public Health program offers lectures, readings and coursework which foster a comprehensive understanding of core health concepts; these are both fascinating and deeply significant, and generally tied to the Social Determinants of Health. 

Specializing in Epidemiology, I became deeply interested in more specific issues associated to Health Literacy; Antimicrobial Resistance, Antimicrobial Stewardship, and infectious diseases more generally. 

The greatest aspect of the MPH program is the practicum placement. I completed mine in Sioux Lookout with an Infectious Disease physician. Here, I was able to match the theoretical knowledge I acquired through my coursework, with the concrete realities of life in northern Indigenous communities. I observed the interplay of infectious disease, health determinants (overcrowded housing and lack of access to safe drinking water), history, cultural and politics, and how all of these influence what we call "Indigenous Health". 

I feel well-equipped for a long career in working to alleviate unnecessary human illness and suffering. I also feel equipped to advocate for health policy change, and to articulate the profound value of our shared Public Health."

- Travis Kirkwood, Master of Public Health with Specialization in Epidemiology, 2018


 

Headshot of student"The Masters in Public Health program offered by Lakehead University was an excellent opportunity to further my education in the healthcare field while working full time as a chartered accountant.

My practicum at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre focused on further analyzing access to healthcare in remote First Nations communities for Indigenous patients by providing relevant research through collaboration with internal and external system partners.  This experience has provided me with valuable insight into furthering a professional career in health policy and management. I am now confident and aware of the endless possibilities a career in public health has for me."

- Jackie Allen, Master of Public Health, 2017

 


 

Headshot of student“The MPH Epidemiology program at Lakehead University, with a comprehensive course curriculum, provided me an extensive knowledge and skills to apply in the field to improve the health and well-being of Canadians. Working with Dr. Vicki Kristman during my directed studies course provided me with in-depth knowledge and experience in conducting epidemiological studies and acquired data analysis skills. I was also fortunate enough to secure a practicum position at the Ottawa Public Health where I worked as a student Epidemiologist with six Epidemiologists who provided me with lot of experience in this field.

Currently, I am working as an Epidemiologist/ Strategic Safety Analyst with Government of Ontario Administrative Authority (Electrical Safety Authority) were I am responsible for leading, managing and publishing Ontario Electrical Safety report, conducting Risk Based Oversight analysis and providing epidemiological consultation and mentoring staff. Prior to working here, I was an Epidemiologist with the Government of Norfolk County in their Health and Social Service department where I conducted an epidemiological analysis of surveillance data, including monitoring trends over time, emerging trends and priority populations, in accordance with Ontario Public Health program standards and protocols and support Social Service department with any data requests.

In addition, I have also worked with Evaluation and Monitoring team/NQuIRE as an Indicator developer at Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) where I provided my epidemiological expertise to the NQuIRE team. During my time at RNAO, I lead, managed and developed nursing sensitive indicators based on the best practice guideline. I also conducted detailed analysis with NQuIRE dataset and also other data holdings as needed.

I hope that I will continue to work in this field and apply the knowledge and skills that I have learnt to make a sustainable impact on the health and well-being of Canadians.”

- Saad Pervez, Master of Public Health with Specialization in Epidemiology, 2017


 

Headshot of student“I was originally going to complete my practicum placement with the Huron County Health Unit near Stratford, Ontario, but was offered a Federal Student Work Program (FSWP) student position with the equity analysis and policy research team of the Public Health Agency of Canada in Ottawa, which would also allow me to complete my practicum requirements. This past summer I was able to look at data gaps using survey data and vital statistics data from the new health inequalities report for small jurisdictions (such as Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon). I created knowledge translation products to visually display this information for provincial stakeholders to use for future priorities and funding. 

The Public Health Agency has kept me on a casual contract as a policy analyst and now I will be transitioning to Health Canada as an epidemiologist.  

I highly encourage applying to the Federal Student Work Program with the Federal Government, as I have been able to apply my epidemiology, health promotion, and data analysis courses to my work here. Practicums are fantastic and it is very exciting to see how your education plays a role into the real world.”

- Jeanette Bourne, Master in Public Health with Specialization in Epidemiology, 2016


Headshot of studentAvril Beaubien graduated from the Master of Public Health (with specialization in Epidemiology) in 2017.  She is now working for the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development as part of a small specialized team focused on workplace guidance related to COVID-19. During the 2020 Alumni Homecoming event, she shared the story of her career journey through an engaging presentation entitled "Well that’s a unique career path… and it turns out you can make an elevator pitch in an elevator".  Avril’s story was inspiring because it demonstrates how a wide diversity of work and education experiences, combined with natural curiosity and a willingness to learn, can contribute to success.


 

Photo of studentAnn-Marie Kungal graduated from Lakehead University's Master of Public Health Program in 2008.  Now a city councillor in Barrie, Ontario, and CEO of her own company that provides health and mediation services, she shares her story and her passion for supporting community well-being in this month's edition of the Lakehead Alumni Newsletter.

Read the full article here.