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Rukun Khalaf

PhD student

Healthy Places, Healthy Planet, Health Inequalities

LiLaC, University of Liverpool

Measuring the effects of Green and Blue Spaces (GBS) on maternal and infant health.

Research Interests

Maternal health, health inequalities.

Rukun's Q&A

  • What has been your career journey so far?

    My career in public health began with an eye-opening internship with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). That internship heavily influenced my decision to pursue a career in public health that centers around helping the most vulnerable. Following that, I undertook an MSc in the Control of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I functioned as a consultant data manager and subsequently as an epidemiologist with the World Health Organization (WHO).

  • Why did you choose to do a PhD in public health research?

    The value of high quality and meaningful public health research was never more apparent to me than during the COVID-19 pandemic. While working to translate scientific research into policy recommendations, I realised I wanted to be on both sides of that equation. Producing research and ensuring it results in real-world impacts. What’s more, I strongly believe in the value of this project for the betterment of many. Therefore, undertaking a PhD in public health was the perfect choice for me.

  • What is your research focused on?

    My research focuses on understanding how the environment can impact maternal and neonatal health outcomes. Moreover, the research will look at how socio-economic factors may influence this relationship.

  • Why is it important?

    This work aims to add to the body of literature on the topic. Furthermore, past research has indicated that those who may benefit the most from GBS exposure are among the most vulnerable. Therefore, this research will be used as evidence to reduce inequalities in health.

  • What do you like about being a part of the NIHR School for Public Health Research?

    The School has been essential in facilitating networking opportunities. Moreover, through the School, many doctoral training opportunities have been made available to me

  • What skills have you learnt and/or are hoping to learn as part of your PhD?

    I have developed many skills related to preparing to undertake scientific research, such as research proposal writing. I hope to gain more technical as well as soft skills in future.

  • What do you hope to do after completing your PhD?

    Following the completion of my PhD, I aim to continue serving in the public health sphere.

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