If you dream of a career in healthcare, head to the Boston University School of Public Health, says Sudesna Ghosh
Ranked consistently among the top 20 public health schools in the United States, Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) is a popular place for students from all over the world.
Located in the city of Boston, the school offers several opportunities for internships as well as jobs, with numerous international health organisations situated in the area. BUSPH offers undergraduate programmes in public health and postgraduate programmes in biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, health law, bioethics and human rights and international health, among others.
As the importance of public health as a profession grows, Indian students are taking interest in the subject. But why BUSPH? “The department of international health and center for global health and development has close ties with numerous professional and academic organisations in India, other parts of Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. The breadth of experience will appeal to students who are interested in expanding their global perspective and applying their knowledge to a wide variety of cultural contexts,” says Jennifer Beard, assistant professor at the school.
Interestingly, BUSPH’s Center for Global Health and Development has a field office in New Delhi and a faculty member based there working on the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Maternal and Child Health Sustainable Technical Assistance and Research project (MCH STAR). The project, run in partnership with several organisations and state governments, is concerned with improving maternal and child health in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Students can also do a specia- lised training at the centre.
Hetal Shah, a student at BUSPH, says, “The public health department faculty members have vast international experience and are very approachable. The small size of the classes allow for interesting interactive sessions. The faculty members encourage students to express their views in class, unlike in India.”
Spandana Arvapalli, an alumnus from Chennai who completed her masters in international health in 2008, says, “The School of Public Health, located on Boston University’s Medical Campus, gave us the opportunity to work closely with other healthcare providers. Also, the university has partnerships with various world organisations, including Public Health Foundation of India, which has started sponsoring masters in public health students at Boston University.”
Arvapalli says students from India do not have a problem adjusting to the environment as “the professors are aware of the Indian culture”.
Pratibha Shah, a student, agrees. “The presence of several Indians, Indian grocery stores, restaurants and movies in the theatres, definitely help. There are also Indian student groups that get together to celebrate festivals.”
Post BUSPH, students take numerous professional paths. There are some Indian alumni who have returned to their home country and joined government agencies. Others have remained in the US to acquire further training or work with various health organisations.
Sudha Ramani, another student, says, “The only drawback is high fees and limited scholarships.”
International students can apply for scholarships and fellowships and supplement these with loans. Full-time students need to shell out about $40,000 each year just for tuition fees.