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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 99 | December 28 2008|


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An Afternoon of Celebration for JPGSPH

Star Campus Desk

THE air in the Sasakawa auditorium was heavy with many emotions anxiety, excitement, gratitude, relief, nostalgia and many more. The MPH 4th batch students of the James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, have completed their yearlong course and are beaming in excitement and respite for having finished an intense year of hard work. On this winter afternoon, they are looking back at their days of transformation with fondness.

This is an attempt at depicting the emotional landscape of the ICDDR,B Sasakawa auditorium on the wintry afternoon of 22nd December. With the graduation of the fourth batch, the School is contributing a total of 106 bright public health professionals to the world. The families, friends, faculty and well-wishers of the 29 students of the graduating batch gathered to share their blessings with the students at the Graduates' Forum. The forum is organized every year as a way to showcase the students' dissertation and also to present provisional certificates and special awards from the School prior to the actual graduation ceremony of the University. This day is particularly significant for the students, since this is their final day of uniting as a batch before the international students depart to go back to serve their respective countries with the knowledge they gained from this programme. International students of this batch came from Afghanistan, Uganda, United States, Tanzania, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Ethiopia and the Netherlands.

The Forum was chaired by Dr. Salehuddin Ahmed, Pro-vice Chancellor, BRAC University. Dr. Mushtaque Chowdhury, Dean of James P Grant School of Public Health, delivered the welcome address, while Dr. Stephen P Luby, Head of the Programme on Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Sciences at ICDDR,B, who is also a faculty of the School, made the keynote address. Dr. Luby highlighted the relevance of the MPH programme in respect to the current health and environmental condition of the world. He emphasized that the significance of the programme lied in offering an “integrative degree that is not locked into one disciplinary perspective” which enables the students to address an issue from multiple dimensions.

Dr. Chowdhury in his address gave an overview of the School's activities and the achievements of the students and faculty over the past four years. Dr. Chowdhury talked about the MPH alumni, the short courses and trainings that the School is offering, the research projects, the centres (Centre for Health System Studies, Centre for Gender, Sexuality, and HIV/AIDS the UNAIDS Collaboration Centre, and Centre for Qualitative Inquiry), publications of the School, its coverage in the media and also about other initiatives such as the Bangladesh Health Watch.

Representatives from the international and national students also shared their feelings and experiences at the forum. Dr. Shah Muhammad from Pakistan represented the international students. In his heartening speech, he said that the students gained knowledge of not just Public Health, but also of life. “We came as strangers, became friends, and now departing as family”, said Shah. Mashida Rashid represented the national students at the forum and she enumerated the pleasant and painful experiences throughout the year through her witty remarks.

Certificates were awarded to all students of the batch. Four special awards were given to the students who demonstrated extraordinary overall performance, best dissertation and best posters.

The FH Abed Award for the best performing international student went to Dr. Takele Teshi Chala of Ethiopia; the Allan Rosenfield Award for the best performing national students went to Dr. Md Taufiqul Islam Joarder, Dr. Hnin Su Su Khin received the WB Greenough III Award for best dissertation, and Sabrina Sharmin and Sujeeta Bajracharya (Shakya) jointly received the Richard Cash Award for Best Poster.

Four students presented their dissertation work at the forum. Dr. Sabina Faiz Rashid, Associate Professor of the School, coordinated the presentation session by students. Achan Everlyne from Uganda presented her work on “Disabled children in Dhaka: Access to Formal Health Care, Socio-cultural and Economic Perspectives”; Alicia Cooper from the US presented her paper on “Arsenic Mitigation through Community Mobilization: An evaluation of a safe water program in rural Bangladesh”; Sachin Juneja presented his work on “Migrant Women and Use of Maternal Health Services: A study at Urban slums in Jaipur, India”; and Md. Taufiqul Islam Joarder presented on “Socio-cultural Dynamics in an Upazilla Health Complex”.

The Forum ended with a sense of fulfillment and nostalgia, and pledges to move ahead with integrity and responsibility towards the global humanity. The vision of the School “A world where everyone enjoys the maximum potential of health” was reflecting in the eyes of each one of the graduates. All the best wishes to them in their journey forward!

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