PHDA Testimonial - Samuel Essien, PhD Candidate, School of Population and Public Health, University of Saskatchewan
How did you learn about the program and what motivated you to enroll?
I got to know about the program through my former master’s thesis supervisor. My quest to broaden my knowledge in geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial epidemiology motivated me to enrol in the program.
Tell us about your course experience. What skills did you develop and which courses provided the greatest benefit to you?
I am really satisfied with the course especially the hands-on experience gained while using ArcMap to map diseases and assess spatial dependences. Skills developed include generating choropleth map, joining attribute tables to shapefile and perform geographically weighted regressions. Courses which benefited me the most are PHDA 03-Population Health and Geographic Information System (GIS), PHDA 01-Working with Administration Data and PHDA-04-Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection.
How have you been able to (or how do you plan to) apply your new skills in your work/research?
I have not yet applied the acquired skills to my research, but the skills will be useful for my future research work.
What do you think were the strengths of this program?
The program’s strength emerged from how the courses were offered with typical examples such as offering PHDA 03 before PHDA 04 and also the incorporation of Lab work into the course curriculum which provided the opportunity for more practical knowledge to be gained. Another strength is the friendly learning environment and willingness of the instructors to go an extra mile to assist students to understand concepts and course materials.
Would you recommend this program to others? If so, what recommendations/suggestions would you give those interested in applying to this program?
Yes. I recommend this program to students, especially those with no prior knowledge in spatial epidemiology and GIS and are keen on knowing more about these areas.
Any additional comments you would like to add?
I have not regretted enrolling in this program, and have actually enhanced my skill set.