Testimonials

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PHDA full testimonial
How did you learn about the program and what motivated you to enroll?

I learned about the PHDA program through browsing on web and was motivated to get more training in population health data analysis while working full-time.

Tell us about your course experience. What skills did you develop and which courses provided the greatest benefit to you?

Although the course load was a bit heavy at times, I think I’ve learned a lot and developed hands-on experience in analyzing population health data using SAS and ArcGIS.

How have you been able to (or how do you plan to) apply your new skills in your work/research?

I have not yet had a chance to utilize all the knowledge and skills I’ve gained in my current work, but definitely have a better understanding of results that are analyzed using ArcGIS.

What do you think were the strengths of this program? Please provide examples.

The strengths of this program include: good organization of coursework, exposure to variety of relevant topics, hands-on experience using several analytical software, excellent support and feedback by instructors, and a flexible schedule.

Would you recommend this program to others? If so, what recommendations/suggestions would you give those interested in applying to this program?

I would definitely recommend colleagues and others to take this program for further professional development.

Any additional comments you would like to add?

My program experience has been great and thank you for all the support I received from instructors and staff members in the PHDA program.

 

Lily Zhou, Epidemiologist, Health Surveillance

 

PHDA 06 Health Services Program Monitoring and Evaluation
"I enjoyed the PHDA 06 Health Services Program Monitoring and Evaluation course the most. Although I had taken an evaluation course in my Master’s program, I found the PHDA 06 course very good at clarifying information and dividing the evaluation process into very practical/applied steps/stages."

Navdeep Sandhu, Research Assistant, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

 

PHDA full testimonial
How did you learn about the program and what motivated you to enroll?

I learned about the Professional Specialization Certificate in Population Health and Data Analysis (PHDA) program after conducting an internet search to find an online program covering courses that provided hands on experience using GIS and statistical software packages. Initially, I was doubtful that I would find such a program until I found the University of Victoria’s PHDA program. Allowing students to gain hands on experience remotely with software packages such as ArcMap, SAS, and Mplus while having the flexibility to work full time is invaluable. Also having the opportunity to use Population Data BC’s administrative data with these packages offered a type of learning experience that I could not have had anywhere else.

My current job motivated me to enroll in the PHDA program. I currently work for the Maritime SPOR Support Unit (MSSU) and the New Brunswick Institute for Research Data and Training (NB-IRDT), as a Database Analyst. In my position, I analyze New Brunswick’s population health data and federal government datasets.  By improving my data analysis skills through the PHDA program I am now able to apply these skills in my current position.

Tell us about your course experience. What skills did you develop and which courses provided the greatest benefit to you?

I completed all the courses in the PHDA program and enjoyed all of them. I liked the opportunity to interact with my classmates daily and work together to answer questions on course material and statistical analysis. The courses that provided me the greatest benefit were the Population Health and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection and Working with Administrative Data courses. As I was completing the Working with Administrative course, the NB-IRDT was just receiving its first health data sets, so having had the opportunity to use BC’s administrative datasets such as the Discharge Abstract Database (DAD) provided me with a first glance at what our provincial data would look like, and how I could manipulate and analyze them.

How have you been able to (or how do you plan to) apply your new skills in your work/research?

I have been able to apply the skills I have learned from the PHDA program to my work/research. Using the GIS and SAS skills that I learned from the PHDA program I was able to create a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) layer using GIS software, that showed peak greenness for the entire country over a ten-year period. Using this data and other administrative databases a team of researchers led by Dr. Dan Crouse and myself, conducted a research study that looked at how living by residential greenspace can impact longevity.  Just recently this article was accepted and published in The Lancet Planetary Health (October,2017). In my current position, I have also been able to use the SAS skills that I learned from the PHDA program to create and present an Introductory SAS course to government, students and faculty.

What do you think were the strengths of this program? Please provide examples.

The strengths of the PHDA program were the hands-on learning provided through the use of software that is difficult to access, such as SAS, ArcMap, and Mplus. Another strength of the program was the ability to interact and learn from classmates through the course site and the remote desktop. Also, all the instructors came from diverse backgrounds and were knowledgeable, easy to interact with and offered a wide range of skills and experience, which they were able to share with the class.

Would you recommend this program to others? If so, what recommendations/suggestions would you give those interested in applying to this program?

I would recommend this program to others especially individuals working in academia, government organizations and to Masters and Ph.D. students. I would suggest that students have a basic understanding of statistical methods, and possibly some experience with statistical software packages. I would also inform someone who is interested in the program that taking the program advanced my knowledge of GIS and SAS, and allowed me to improve the skills needed for my current position. I would also mention to anyone interested in the program that they should ensure that they have dedicated time to put into the PHDA courses every week, so they can get the most out of the course experience.

Any additional comments you would like to add?

I really enjoyed this program. It improved my analysis skill for my current job and career. I would recommend this program to anyone who asks about it, and often recommend the PHDA courses to colleagues and other stakeholders that I interact with daily. After informing the organization that I work for about the PHDA courses, we were encouraged to enroll and take the PHDA courses. I am sure that there will be employees at my workplace that will become PHDA students soon.

 

Adele Balram

Adele Balram, Data Analyst, New Brunswick Institute for Research Data and Training

 

PHDA 04 Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection
"Courses which benefited me the most are PHDA 03 Population Health and Geographic Information System (GIS) and PHDA 04 Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection.

I am really satisfied with these courses 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."

Samuel Essien, PhD Candidate, School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan

 

PHDA 04 Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection
"Both the PHDA 03 and PHDA 04 courses have made me confident working in ArcGIS, and applying principles of GIS/mapping to population health data and working on spatial analyses. In particular, what has been most helpful about these courses is applying the background theory to surveillance and research questions and walking through the analysis from start to finish, including interpretation of results."

Samantha Salter, Epidemiologist

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