Through my experience in the field thus far, the problem I have noted is the lack of communication between grass-root realities and the organizations designed to help them. When dealing with diverse communities, it is important to understand the context they are placed in to better help them. I believe I can only achieve this with a public health education over and above a medical degree. To pursue public health medicine in Canada there are two paths one can take. The first is through completing a residency in preventative medicine and public health and the second is completing an MD and then pursuing a Masters of Public Health (MPH) either before or after the medical degree.
Both options have their pros and cons but can lead to similar future careers. From speaking with mentors and schools that offer these programs in Canada and the United States I have come to the conclusion that if one is really keen on pursuing just public health the preventative medicine and public health residency is the best option. This program is 5 years in Canada and offers students with a comprehensive understanding of the health system and the ability to complete an MPH or MSc in public health/community health within the program. For students interested in pursuing public health at some point in the future, pursuing an MPH is beneficial as it is broad enough to provide a holistic view of the field. This enables students to pursue a specialty of their choice and then view it through the lens of public health. This could involve program planning and evaluation, health promotion and advocacy or policy creation and implementation.
My career of choice is that of a Medical Officer of Health (MOH). I have been told that the no one day is the same in this profession. I admire their methodology of considering all the stakeholders involved and then devising a solution. This assures that the community is heavily involved in decisions affecting their health. I have enough knowledge to understand the complexities that accompany this profession but the impact I can have on communities as a whole will drive me to find answers. I have always loved connecting the dots and I believe a profession in public health will enable me to do this every day.