-by Dominik Beiter
More than 80 students from five Swedish Universities assembled at Umeå University from the 18th to 19thNovember 2016 for this year’s SNIH Conference. The two-day conference aimed at bringing together master’s students in Public Health and scholars from all over Sweden for an intensive exchange of ideas under the theme “Thinking Forward: A Career in Public Health”.
Ideas, opinions and
personal experiences on possible career pathways in public health were discussed during the lively panel discussions with several alumni and public health professionals working in the private sector, academia, NGOs, international organisations, and many other areas in the field of public health. The following questions were discussed (among many others): What are the benefits of working in big international organisations? How good are the chances to get a job in the public/private sector? How much work experience is needed?
Students were also presented with sharing and networking platforms during the fika breaks.
Among the several guest speakers, Professor Peter Friberg from University of Gothenburg shared his idea for a future Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation (SIGHT), a collaboration platform that shall aim to strengthen Sweden’s overall engagement in the field of global health and contribute to the development of a future Swedish national strategy on Global Health. To accomplish this, Friberg proposed the formation of interdisciplinary health working groups within and beyond the health sciences sector with actors from scientific fields such as Economics, Engineering, and Political science. All Swedish Universities teaching Public Health have internalized multidisciplinary approaches in their study plans. Yet this lecture also showed again how important it is for future public health professionals to understand the need for sustainable multidisciplinary solutions and exchange in global public health.
Professor Nawi Ng (Umeå University) provided valuable insights into the researcher’s life and explained the keys to successfully publishing scientific articles in prestigious Scientific Journals. One extremely helpful advice was to already get involved in peer reviewing activities during study time as an initial step towards a future academic career as PhD candidate and researcher.
Reflecting on his personal experience, John Kinsman, Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Umeå Centre for Global Health Research shared some useful tips on how to overcome future challenges and become successful on the job market. These included getting good field experience, making the right contacts, standing out and getting an unexpected slant in your job interviews, being reliable and passionate at your job and not necessarily do a lot of planning ahead. The lecture was also a great inspiration for many students to reflect on their own educational and career paths, which were subsequently discussed with the other participants.
Other noteworthy events during the two days were presentations given by Susanne Waldau on priority setting and management in health care, Maria Lind from ‘Quantify’ on Real World Evidence analytics, and the non-profit venture Gapminder on the simple ways to educate about global health with a fact-based world view that everyone understands.
In line with some of the messages about cross-disciplinary research and linking scholars of different academic and professional backgrounds, the conference offered an opportunity for the participating students, to build relationships with fellow scholars from numerous countries and educational backgrounds.