Kyoto University School of Public Health

Voices of the 2013 class alumni

■Professional Degree Program

My second home

Sakol Sopitarchasak
Department of Global Health and Socio-epidemiology
Currently Academic Officer, Thai Health Promotion Foundation, Thailand

I enrolled on the MPH course in the Department of Global Health and Socio-epidemiology during 2012 to 2014. What impressed me at first was how nice everyone was. All the teachers were really helpful, especially Kihara Masahiro sensei and Masako sensei, who always give critical advices, but at the same time also leave some room for their students to think and craft their own researches. For me, that was a perfect combination.
My background before coming to SPH was biology. So, I was pretty much clueless when I first started studying here. SPH taught me that public health is not only about health services, but rather encompasses the social determinants of health: environment, education, economics, laws, culture, and so on. Such holistic perspective for health helped prepare me for the job at Thai Health Promotion Foundation, which took the concept of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion to its core.
I also very much enjoyed the international community at SPH. I became friends with people from all over the globe, from China to Taiwan, Peru, Yemen, Swaziland, Congo, etc. The variety of people from different backgrounds brought about many interesting topics and ideas. I still remember the thrill when my friend first told me a story where she risked her life in her own country for her research. As scary as it sounded, the story also inspired me to dedicate myself more for the better of other people.
Last but not least, I love Kyoto. The city is not as busy or crazily developed as Tokyo. If you’re the person who loves attending world-class parties every weekend, then Kyoto is not for you. On the other hand, Kyoto is a city full of culture and peace. And as the city is very compact, you can actually take some time to explore the city by bicycle, going to all the famous tourist spots while exploring cute little cafes here and there along the way. Also, the beauty of the four seasons in Kyoto is one of a kind. And actually the sakura (cherry blossom) tree next to Shirankaikan building in the SPH campus is one of my favorite sakura spots. Picnicking there under the sakura tree with your new friends and teachers at Kyoto SPH, chatting and having a good time, would be a perfect way to start your new journey as a student here.

A life-time experience

Zuhal Sulaiman Haares
Department of Global Health and Socio-epidemiology

I feel honored to be one of the graduates of Kyoto University School of Public Health. Kyoto University provided me with opportunities of learning all kinds of new things, meeting multinational friends and studying in a peaceful academic environment. The subjects I took during my master course added more wide coverage of knowledge in the field of public health. Coming back from Japan and having my master’s degree from one of the prestigious universities in Asia developed my career path and enabled me to get employment in managerial position in international organizations and not only that it helped me to successfully pass the cadre examination as a lecturer in Kabul Medial University where I was graduated as a medical doctor. There are so many impressive things about Kyoto University particularly my department (Socio-epidemiology and Global Health). I accomplished one year master course and conducted my research the same year, obviously this was not possible without kind support of my professors Kihara Sensie and Masako sensie and the generous support of my lab colleagues. The weekly seminars in each lab were another advantage to share knowledge and learn more from others. One year studying in Japan in Kyoto University was a precious experience for me and will always remain a good memory whole my life. Despite having so many good things about SPH, I have one suggestion to adopt English curriculum in SPH since there are so many international students studying in Kyoto university School of Public Health.

A great environment to experience various point of views and learn from them

Department of Pharmacoepidemiology

My first experience of science and treatment based on the QOL and cost-effectiveness took place during my studies in Canada. What I learned abroad raised my interest in the Japanese medical treatment system and its current state. Although my major was Economics – and not medicine – I decided to enter the SPH as it came to my attention that it gathered students from a broad range of disciplines, thus allowing me to benefit from economical and medical point of views in my research. Because I already had a strong interest in pharmacoeconomics and cost-efficiency of drugs, I was logically aiming to enter the only Japanese pharmacoepidemiology research laboratory in Kyoto University and finally had the great honor of being part of it. Except my research about drugs cost-efficiency, I took part in hybrid peptide fundamental research and pharmacoepidemiology using real world data. With on one hand the classes and on the other my research, I spent 2 hectic years as part of the SPH. Nevertheless, the knowledge that I acquired from different specialties is priceless. Moreover, the professors’ dedicated guidance and their precious advices allowed me to greatly improve and complete my research.
Finally, as previously said, Kyoto University’s SPH isn’t only composed of medical professionals, but of a lot of students with different majors such as epidemiology, biostatistics, clinical research, to name just a few, creating an auspicious environment, rich in teachings due to its diversity of point of views. I hope that in the future countless talented researchers will knock on the doors of the SPH.

Studying provided me with opportunities of learning all kinds of new things

Chen Pei Yao
Health Promotion & Human Behavior

As a student without a medical background, studying at Kyoto University School of Public Health provided me with opportunities of learning all kinds of new things. The courses I took during the first year make wide coverage of knowledge in each field in public health, and the courses of basic medicine that offered especially for non-medical students are also quite helpful. Working on my research topic during the second year enabled me to deepen my understanding in knowledge that were already obtained, as well as to keep on learning new things. Weekly seminars held in the lab also greatly encourage learning and practicing, and the communications and activities carried out with lab members have made the study life here more colorful and fun. These two years studying here was a precious experience for me.

■Doctoral Course

There is no higher happiness than to be able to follow the quest dictated by our own interrogations

Department of Healthcare Epidemiology

After 11 years of clinical experience, I entered the SPH. When I was a medicine student, my dream always was to become a general practitioner to provide the best treatments to people living in remote areas. However, after I began as a practitioner, a lot of doubts and interrogations began to emerge. Some of them couldn’t be answered with textbooks or existing studies. It was at that moment that I heard about the clinical epidemiology research method and the best place to learn it was Kyoto University’s SPH. There, I spent 1 year making a research design, 1 year gathering the necessary information and 1 year arranging the results and analyzing them. I am currently in the middle of writing the summary paper. Research requires a tremendous amount of time and efforts. However, thanks to the guidance of first-class professors and the kind support of my fellows, I have the strong feeling that I can successfully carry it out. More than anything, there is no higher happiness than to be able to follow the quest dictated by our own interrogations, and this is the driving force in research. Finally, I highly recommend Kyoto University SPH to anyone – Medical Doctor or not – who has on the job doubts or interrogations that they wish to solve.