SARS Epidemic in Hong Kong, Public Health Personal Statement of Purpose, Indian MPH Applicant

I hope very much to attend graduate school in Public Health at XXXX University for a variety of reasons including the location and the academic excellence of your program. I also very much appreciate the fact that XU is one of the most diverse campuses in the USA. I thrive on multiculturalism and diversity, especially since I was fortunate to have parents who lived in and visited numerous countries around the world during my childhood for some of my most formative years. I witnessed acute public health situations such as the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong where I was constantly required to wear face masks outdoors, or the Southeast Asian haze crises in Singapore which triggered frequent asthmatic illnesses.

My principal research interest, however, is our native India, particularly the squalid slums that ring major cities, where open defecation remains the norm and there are few if any resources made available to even study the problem, much less resolve it. India is in enormous need of help in the area of public health infrastructure, organization, and resources. I have conducted fieldwork in refugee camps in India and worked as an economist at Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International where I learned to analyze respondents’ behaviors for disease treatments attributes. These experiences kindled my interest in public health focusing, in particular, on disease epidemics, health in conflict zones, and health among especially vulnerable populations such as indigenous people and refugees.

I feel that I am an especially good fit with your MPH Program at XXXX University because of the fact that you offer certificate studies program in the areas in which I hope to distinguish myself in particular, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Infectious Diseases. I look forward to very much broadening and deepening my quantitative research skills. At XU, I will have the invaluable opportunity to apply my skills in a professional setting through the practicum, and help me to make an impact in people’s lives by working in applied research at a major, public health research institute or non-governmental organization. As a student at BU, I will be able to begin to make a concrete, meaningful difference as an advocate for public health interventions. I am confident that I would be an asset to your program at XU and I very much look forward to also learning from my peers from all over the world, especially those from the Developing World who are familiar with the grave problems that afflict India as well.

My passion to pursue a career in public health was further cultivated by my internship in India with Universal Just Action Society (UJAS), an organization that assists Hindu refugees fleeing Pakistan. I gathered data by interviewing refugees and collecting water samples, culminating in a water, sanitation, and hygiene assessment. I recommended a variety of initiatives such as providing water disinfectant powder and mosquito nets. I also recommended advocacy for Indian citizenship in my report as it would help them to acquire property rights, which would help them to install toilets in their homes. This experience taught me the importance of preparing realistic goals for future interventions and building strong and lasting ties with those who you are trying to help.

In my next professional position, I learned a great deal about how to elicit stakeholders’ behaviors for treatment attributes such as side effects and efficacy, critical for framing any intervention. I developed skills such as statistical programming in Stata, SAS, and Nlogit, and utilizing methodologies such as discrete-choice experiments and mixed-logit models. Furthermore, I applied these skills to projects across various disease areas including lupus, endometriosis, and multiple myeloma. My involvement multitasking in numerous projects helped me identify key areas for improvement in my soft skills such as ensuring quality detail in deliverables and communication with team members.

The exposure I have gained through my internship with UJAS and my work with RTI has provided a solid platform for preparation for the MPH program and a career in public health. The MPH Program at XU would provide me an opportunity to advance my skills and help meet my learning goals of better articulating my results to diverse audiences, enhancing my knowledge in my fields of interests, and being able to identify how research findings could lead to possible interventions. These goals would be met by taking extensive coursework in the program, having the opportunity to work with professors who share similar interests such as Dr XXXX and Dr. Matthew XXXX, learning research skills, engaging with proposals and analyses through the certificate programs’ integrative learning experiences, and being able to apply my skills through the practicum. The prospect of working in collaborate environments with my classmates from all over the world appeals to me greatly.

I thank you for considering my application to Public Health at XXXX University.

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