Alumni Profile: Jeffrey Matthews12 November 2021 London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine https://lshtm.ac.uk/themes/custom/lshtm/images/lshtm-logo-black.png
Why did you decide to study at LSHTM?
I was drawn to LSHTM for many reasons: its strong global reputation in public health, location in the heart of London, richly diverse student population, focused yearlong curriculum, broad alumni network and affordability relative to similarly prestigious postgraduate programmes in the US. On a personal note, my wife and her grandfather are both LSHTM graduates as well.
How has your degree at LSHTM complemented your career?
My degree from LSHTM has complemented my career by providing me with a strong foundation in public health research, policy and practice. My qualification and the School’s reputation have literally opened doors to highly competitive global career opportunities that might not have been open otherwise. The benefits of the degree have also extended well beyond my career – from a personal perspective, my training helped me orientate myself throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Were the relationships you formed at LSHTM useful – in what way?
Absolutely. My peers from LSHTM have been a constant source of inspiration, from the time we studied together to now. These relationships have both helped educate me and broaden my worldview. Seeing LSHTM graduates out in the world gives you an incredible sense of how many ways we as public health trained professionals can have a positive impact. I hope to deepen these relationships in the years to come.
I used to be a student ambassador for LSHTM and featured in a video about my degree programme seven years ago. I am a proud LSHTM graduate and plan to be an ‘ambassador’ for the School and its mission for the rest of my life.
Please summarise your achievements over the years and how you feel about them?
I am proud to have been a contributor to a range of initiatives focused on the advancement of health and the human condition, whether through scientific discovery, clinical services or advocacy and communications. This includes global clinical trials and public health interventions in infectious and non-communicable diseases, advocacy for maternal health and expanded vaccine access and support to a group of researchers aiming to combat antimicrobial resistance with the development of novel antibiotics.
What do you hope to further achieve in your field in the future?
Looking through the lens of my current role, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the value and importance of diagnostics to public health, pandemic preparedness and health systems at large. I would like to continue to advance the public’s understanding of the value of diagnostics and the need to invest in diagnostics as core pillars of public health and contribute to efforts that expand access to diagnostics globally.
Have you connected with alumni since leaving LSHTM? And if so, how did you get involved?
I have connected with LSHTM alums in every place that I have lived and worked since my postgraduate year: Singapore, Washington DC and Basel. Serendipitously, I have run into former classmates in places as varied as the streets of Phnom Penh, in-flight to Abuja and at the UN General Assembly in New York. We are truly everywhere!
What advice do you have for current students?
Studying at LSHTM is as much about the people as it is about the coursework. There is so much to learn from your classmates. Take the time to get to know them and approach interactions with an open-mindedness to learn and evolve your worldview. Attend as many lectures and events as you can possibly fit into your busy schedule. Soak up every moment; many people, myself included, consider their year at LSHTM to be one of their best ever.
Do you have any standout memories from LSHTM?
So many memories stand out: relaxing in one of the many beautiful city parks nearby in between classes on sunny days, heading over to the British Museum for a little dose of history before diving into my studies, long blocks of quiet study in the beautiful main reading room at Keppel Street and having a pint and a great conversation with classmates at the pub.
How has COVID-19 affected your work?
I am grateful and consider myself incredibly lucky to have a career that experienced minimal disruption due to COVID-19 (in the grand scheme of things). Like many others, the pandemic forced me to work from home for the first time in my career, which was certainly an adjustment…
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