MSc Demography & Health
Richard studied the MSc Demography & Health at the School and is now Reader in Infectious Disease Modelling.
A career is public health is a well-kept secret. You won’t hear about it at school. No-one at a career’s fair will suggest it to you. One day you’ll just stumble upon it, and wonder why it took you so long.
The obvious choices for a garish-jumper-wearing Physics graduate had left me rather uninspired. Then one sunny day in 1996, I wandered past the doors of the oddly named London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I was intrigued by the gold mosquitoes hovering above the entrance and went in. A lecture was in full swing, so I sat down at the back (in those days there was no security). A wild-haired academic was enthralling a hundred or so students with tales from the field… tales of the vital importance… tales of pipes-to-move-poo.
I was hooked instantly. Build pipes-to-move-poo, reduce bugs, and save lives. What could be more obvious? Simple, effective, public health.
On the way out I grabbed a copy of the School’s prospectus and signed up to the first course that would have me. Medical Demography (now Demography and Health) turned out to be an excellent course to start to convert a narrow ‘hard’ scientist into a public heath researcher. It is a truly multidisciplinary subject, spanning from anthropology to mathematical modelling.
Apart from a brief foray into financial modelling in the City of London, I’ve been at LSHTM ever since. The first buzz I felt in that lecture theatre still lives with me today.
A career in academia is undeniable hard work, but it’s also great fun and hugely rewarding. Over the years at LSHTM I’ve visited dozens of countries and worked on fascinating research projects. My research has primarily been on the mathematical and statistical modelling of the transmission and control of infectious diseases. With colleagues we have launched the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases, the TB Modelling Group, and the TB Modelling and Analysis Consortium.
The School is a great place to work. It balances academic excellence and getting that research into policy and practice. I highly recommend LSHTM as somewhere to work or study.
But wherever you find it, I hope your ‘pipes-to-move-poo’ moment hits you soon.