Children, young people & families programme, Changing behaviour at population level programme, Health inequalities theme
Imperial College London
What has been your career journey so far?
I have an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry where I was first interested in the biological processes of disease dynamics. That interest evolved over the course of my BSc and I studied for a Master of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, with a focus on epidemiology and statistical methods. In Edinburgh, I worked on breast cancer survival in patients with multimorbidies under Professor Sarah Wild. In 2018, I was awarded the National Institute of Health Research, School for Public Health Research (NIHR SPHR) Studentship where I work to improve the health and wellbeing of children.
Why did you choose to do a PhD in public health research?
My experience growing up in India very early propelled me to think about the nature of disease and revealed to me that biomedical technologies and healthcare facilities needed to combat diseases are not equally distributed. It was only later that I began to connect these incidents to the way in which cultural context shapes health and any attempted interventions to improve it. I truly believe that one way of improving population health is improved data quality and access and surveillance, which can considerably reduce the number of people that become patients.
What is your research focused on?
My research is focused on childhood obesity, physical activity in children, evaluations of complex health interventions, health inequalities, and quantitative statistical methods. I work with routinely collected national data to encourage more data driven policy. I have a personal interest in advocating for representation and diversity in academia, and mental health especially among graduate students.
Why is it important?
Only half the children and young people in England meet the recommended levels of physical activity - average of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day across the week. By evaluating The Daily Mile, a potential intervention to increase physical activity in children will allow for eventual appropriate resource allocation, policy changes, and an understanding of how school-based physical activity interventions make an impact on children.
What do you like about being a part of the NIHR School for Public Health Research?
I like being able to network with Early Career Researchers across the School and form connections and bonds that will allow for more collaborative research through my career.
What skills have you learnt and/or are hoping to learn as part of your PhD?
Academically, I have learnt a lot of quantitative statistical skills and being able to think a problem through from start (generating a research question) to finish (publishing the results). More importantly, I have learnt how to manage my time, learn to rely on myself, and the importance of prioritisation. I hope to further develop my quantitative statistical skills through my PhD, but also learn about other qualitative techniques which are essential to the research I do.
What do you hope to do after completing your PhD?
I hope to build a career in research by doing a post-doctoral research project and eventually applying for a fellowship. I am passionate about health equity where every child has the best start to life.