Testimonials

If you would like to specify which course(s) you would like to see testimonials for, you may do so by selecting the course(s) from the list below and hitting the APPLY filter button. You may select more than one course. Otherwise, the testimonials are listed below, in random order.
PHDA full testimonial
How did you learn about the program and what motivated you to enroll?

My postdoctoral supervisor suggested it to me – my PhD work was qualitative, and I’m interested in doing more mixed-methods and quantitative research using administrative data so it seemed like a good fit. The fact that it was online and I could take the courses at my own pace was an additional motivator.

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

I developed a number of skills, most importantly in working with administrative data and statistical analysis. The evaluation course was probably the most useful as it is something I’d like to incorporate into my future research much more.

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

I am currently planning an evaluation of a health program that will include using administrative data, so hopefully it will give me plenty of opportunity to use the skills I’ve developed.

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

The flexibility of timing due to the entirely online nature of the program stood out to me. I could work on things when I had the time, which I think is a great feature for people who are generally working full time. I also liked the mix of discussion and individual assignments in the courses; getting to hear others’ opinions and experiences was very useful.

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

Yes, I would recommend this program to others, although I would definitely suggest only taking one course at a time. Even working only part time, taking two courses at once was a bit much.

 

Karyn Fulcher

Karyn Fulcher, Postdoctoral Fellow

 

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

I was looking at programs that were more data-oriented because my data skills were not quite high enough to get a good data-centric job. So, while I was finishing my MA, I figure PHDA would serve me well. Plus, the tuition was much lower because I was a student!

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

I found the Working with Administrative Data (PHDA 01) was a good course. It was less intensive and slower paced than the other PHDA courses. I took this course last because of my time frame for completing four courses. It would probably have been better to take this course earlier on.  The Population Health and GIS (PHDA 03) course was the most interesting course I took. The labs were easy to follow and I enjoyed the final project.  When I first enrolled in the program, I thought that PHDA 01 and PHDA 03 would be the most valuable courses for my skill development but in the end it was the Health Evaluation and Program Monitoring (PHDA 06) course that really helped me land a job after graduation. PHDA 06 was different from the other PHDA courses. It felt a bit like a satellite course in the program as it included a health evaluation project rather than data analysis lab work. I learned a lot from the peer review process we used.

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

I just started working after graduation, but so far, I have applied evaluation skills that I learned from the Health Evaluation and Program Monitoring (PHDA 06), including logic models, evaluation methodology, gantt charts and interview guides. My current role, as an Evaluation Lead, will also include some data analysis, so the Working with Administrative Data (PHDA 01) and Epidemiological Statistics (PHDA 02) courses will be helpful for that too.

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

I think the BC-specific focus is the main strength. I came out understanding more about the data available to help with BC-specific health policy. Perhaps, this doesn’t help attracting students outside of BC, but is great for our province’s capacity for good health decision making.

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

I have recommended this program to others. However, I also warned them that it was a lot of work – especially Epidemiological Statistics (PHDA 02). I think my estimated hours per week for this course were at least 15.  I also found the group work in PHDA 02 more time consuming than the other PHDA courses.  The work in the Secure Research Training Lab (SRTL) can also increase the amount of time you need to spend on the courses depending on group work or your knowledge of the subject matter.

 

Jackson Flagg, Evaluation Lead

 

PHDA full testimonial
How did you learn about the program and what motivated you to enroll in the PHDA course(s) you chose?

My MSc supervisor recommended them based on the learning goals I had for my Master’s degree. UBC doesn’t offer anything like it, so we needed to look for partner institutions.

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

I completed the PHDA 03 Population Health and GIS and PHDA 04 Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection courses. By taking these courses, I developed an understanding of how to overlay multiple sources of data onto a geographic region (from city, to country, to continent). I developed an understanding of questions to consider in how I represent this information to the audience, so that bias in how it is represented is minimized. I developed an understanding of not only how descriptive statistics can be geographically interpreted, but also how inferential statistics can be geographically interpreted. It taught me how to begin thinking spatially in-terms of patterns of health outcomes – neighbourhood make up, neighbourhood location, infrastructure, environmental concerns, etc.

How do you plan to apply your new skills in your work/research?

As part of my thesis.

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

The labs and the access to the SRTL were the biggest strengths of these courses. The SRTL had all the software, and all the data, and was really easy to access, and was well maintained and organized. The SRTL and labs made the hands-on learning REALLY effective and stress free. The labs were applied, and had very tangible learning outcomes associated with them. They were practical in purpose, and effective in implementation via the SRTL. The labs were very smooth and impactful.

Would you recommend PHDA courses to others? If so, what recommendations/suggestions would you give those interested in completing these courses?

Yes. I would say that future students should explore the labs as much as possible. To really forefront the learning that you get out of that. The lecture material and prep material is abstract, but if you can focus most of your time on the labs, you can experiment and learn a lot.

 

Allyson Rayner, Curriculum Consultant

 

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

I learned about the PHDA program from the Director of the Social Dimensions of Health while I was taking the program at UVic. I was interested in the PHDA courses as a way to expand my skill set, enhance my knowledge of statistical software programs and gain practical skills to assist me with my PhD dissertation.

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

I enjoyed all the courses and the practical skills they provided especially with statistical software such as SAS, Mplus, and ArcGIS. I think I gained the most benefit from the PHDA 05 course and the PHDA 03 course. The PHDA 05 in Longitudinal Analysis and Multilevel modeling helped me gain skills in Mplus software and get an introduction to modeling. This work was very helpful in preparing me for a more advanced longitudinal modeling credit course I took at UVic last year. The PHDA 03 course in Population Health and GIS introduced me to a brand new subject area as well as practical skills in the use of ArcGIS.

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 use the applied skills I learned in my role as a research assistant to help with grant applications. I will also be able to use these skills in the development of my dissertation. I plan to document the statistical software and analytic skills I have learned in all the PHDA courses on my CV. I know these skills will make me more marketable for future job opportunities.

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

The program has given me valuable skills and practice in a variety of statistical software. The PHDA program team including professors, IT and admin staff were all very helpful and a very supportive part of my program experience. I also enjoyed studying with fellow colleagues who had a broad range of work and research skills. The calibre of student in all my PHDA courses was very impressive and many were very willing to share their knowledge and analytic expertise. For this reason I really benefited from the partner and group work in many of the courses. Although the online format of the courses came with some weakness (as you don’t get to connect with people in person), I really appreciated how the asynchronous delivery provided flexibility to work and take courses at the same time. I also appreciated having transcripts of all the course video presentations for easy reference.

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

I have and do recommend this program to others. Some of my colleagues, whose work focuses more on qualitative rather than quantitative data, are a bit intimidated to consider the PHDA courses. For others who feel the same way I would certainly recommend Working with Administrative Data (PHDA 01) as a course that any research student would benefit from. I would also suggest that program applicants try to take PHDA 01 and PHDA 02 prior to PHDA 05. Although you can take courses in any order, I found the PHDA 05 course in Longitudinal Analysis and Multi-level modeling to be the most advanced level PHDA course I took.

 

Jennifer McConnell

Jennifer McConnell, MHHS, Doctoral Candidate, Social Dimensions of Health, University of Victoria

 

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

My thesis supervisor told me about the program. My thesis project involved the analysis of Alberta Health’s administrative data on influenza vaccination and I needed to have a working knowledge of the tools of administrative data.

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

The courses were quite intensive but they provide the analytic tools that were complementary to the course experience I gained in my graduate program. I gained evaluation, spatial analytic and advanced analytical skills for modelling health outcomes data. Health Services Program Monitoring and Evaluation, Longitudinal Analysis and Multi-Level Modeling of Population Health Data, and GIS and Population Health were the courses that provided the greatest benefits to me. 

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

I have actually used the skills I gained in the administrative data course to analyze my thesis data.  I am currently  working on a research project in which I am trying to incorporate the advanced analytical skills I gained in the ‘ Longitudinal Analysis and Multi-Level Modeling of Population Health Data’ course to specify my models. In the near future, I plan to incorporate some elements of spatial analysis into my research work.

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

The strengths of this program include:

Excellent, experienced instructors for each of the courses. Use of fellow students as peers to give feedback on assignments was a particular strength of the PHDA06 course in Health Evaluation and Program Monitoring. Also, discussion forums that promoted exchange of information amongst students using real life examples.

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 the program to working professionals, researchers, and graduate students.

My suggestions for individuals entering the PHDA program would be to prepare for a very intensive program and to avail yourself of  the full range of excellent resources that are available for the program, including the reading materials, the discussion forum, the instructors, the program coordinators, the program lead and the IT online help desk. I found all of them essential to achieving a successful outcome.

 

Johnathan Lambo, Public Health Physician and Medical Epidemiologist