Global health student profiles

Find out more about our students

Dr Katie Conway

Where and when did you originally qualify as a health professional?

I graduated from The University of Wales College of Medicine (UWCM) in 1991.

What are your current professional roles?

I am a GP and an educator with a special interest in women's health.

What inspired you to choose this programme?

I am hoping to get involved in some humanitarian work that makes the most of my skills and provides sustainable support for a community where there is a need for provision of adequate women's health services. This course seemed to have the best mix of academic development and service provision skills for my aims.

Can you tell us what skills this course has helped you develop?

I have, for the first time since medical school, had to participate in academic research. I have learnt a large number of IT, research and referencing skills that I have discovered I love. I have refreshed my knowledge of expedition medicine and survival skills. I last used these skills in the 1990s when I was serving in the army and I feel they are now much more up to date. This gives me confidence to understand what services I am able to provide and also an awareness of the risk of overstretching myself. I have learnt how to develop and put forward a partnership proposal to achieve my aim of working in the global health arena.

What were the biggest challenges or rewards as part of your practical learning?

The biggest hurdle I have had to cross has been developing the referencing skills to write a paper. I have had to engage with citation software which is all very new to me and yet also be aware of its limitations. I would also add that to get the most out of this course requires a significant amount of time in research and writing assignments. For me this has been part of the pleasure but if this was a challenge for you then consider your options carefully and make full use of the academic support available at the university.

What would be your advice for someone interested in the course?

This is the perfect course for someone who is interested in developing the practical skills to provide either expedition medicine or humanitarian aid. There are numerous opportunities to network with other likeminded individuals, both those who have already achieved a career in global health and those who are at the beginning of their journey. For me the biggest strength is the broad cross section of students, from early twenties to mid fifties in age and from F2 doctors, and experienced GPs to anaesthetists and those already working in the British Antarctic Survey. Maintaining an academic base for these experiences is crucial but the focus is on service provision in an appropriate and sustainable manner.

How do you intend to use the MSc in Global Health to shape your future career?

I am hoping to identify a partner and collaborate to build a program providing education about postpartum contraceptive choices to both women and healthcare providers and so reduce maternal mortality which is one of the sustainable development goals.

Tom Bicknell

Where and when did you originally qualify as a health professional?

I studied a BSc in Paramedic Science at Greenwich University and trained with the London Ambulance Service. In June 2020 I qualified as a Paramedic.

What are your current professional roles?

My day job is with the East of England Ambulance Service responding to 999 calls. I'm also a reservist Paramedic with the RAF and a voluntary medical advisor for the Austrian Alpine Club.

What inspired you to choose this programme?

The remote and rural module initially caught my attention. I'm a keen rock climber and mountaineer with an interest in high altitude medicine, so the remote module was exactly what I was looking for. I also understood that to be a good expedition medic, a comprehensive understanding of international healthcare systems and international healthcare provision was necessary. To this end, the global health and leadership modules concluded my decision to apply.

Can you tell us what skills this course has helped you develop?

In addition to my academic development, the course has helped me develop in two areas. Firstly, I am more aware and have a better understanding of the soft skills associated with being an expedition medic. Be it helping the logistics team, or supporting a participant though a stressful event, I now understand the remote medical role to be far more than bandages and drugs. Secondly, I have move away from the exiting shell of 'voluntourism' and now have a much greater interest in providing sustainable healthcare to communities in need. Undoubtably, my change in perspective is the result of an improved understanding of global health.

What were the biggest challenges or rewards as part of your practical learning?

Working full time while studying for a Masters degree is always going to have organisational challenges. However, the faculty have been supportive throughout and learning is so much easier when your classroom is Dartmoor! Furthermore, the practical field work within the remote and rural module really brought the teaching to life and offered the unique opportunity to put theoretical learning straight into practice.

What would be your advice for someone interested in the course?

I'd strongly recommend emailing one of the lectures, researching the course and watching some the YouTube videos posted under 'Global Health, Plymouth University'. The course has an inspiring and friendly culture that one would be assured of as soon as they get in touch.

How do you intend to use the MSc in Global Health to shape your future career?

As I continue to develop in my career as a Paramedic, I intent to use the skills, knowledge and contacts the MSc in Global Health provides to undertake roles in expedition and remote healthcare.

Dr Jenna Plank

Where and when did you originally qualify as a health professional?

University of Southampton 2014

What are your current professional roles?

British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit Doctor for the RRS Sir David Attenborough 2021 -22 season

What inspired you to choose this programme?

Global health is a passion of mine and a big reason I chose to study medicine in the first place. The course is run by a really experienced faculty in expedition medicine and global health. Meeting Lucy at a global health conference was particularly inspiring to do the course.

Can you tell us what skills this course has helped you develop?

Having just completed the remote and rural module, I have spent 3 learning navigation skills, locating and assessing patients in remote locations. We have learnt how to use the experience of the group to get the best out of team and how to use basic things like walking poles to improvise for medical equipment like a splint.

What were the biggest challenges or rewards as part of your practical learning?

For me on this course I don’t see any challenges because this is something that I really want to do, and therefore it has many rewards, the top of which is spending time with and learning from like minded individuals as fellow delegates and a hugely experienced faculty running the modules who are very inspiring.

What would be your advice for someone interested in the course?

Want to find out more about it to see if it is for you- my advice would be if you are considering it then you probably already know the answer to this- so go for it!

How do you intend to use the MSc in Global Health to shape your future career?

In two ways really, firstly to improve my knowledge for deployment on expeditions to make sure I am as useful as possible on any expedition and I form part of the expedition leadership group. Secondly for my global health work to drive for universal health equity and ethical practice wherever I can and choose responsible and ethically sound global health work.

<p>Katie Conway - global health</p>
<p>Tom Bicknell - global health</p>
<p>Jenna Plank - global health</p>