Alumni Profile: Jenny Rodger

Jenny Rodger (MSc Environmental Epidemiology & Policy, 2002) works as a Deputy Module Organiser (Public Health – Environment, Health and Sustainable Development) at LSHTM. Here, she discusses her roles since leaving LSHTM, connecting with other alumni and fears about COVID-19.
Jenny Rodger

Why did you decide to study at LSHTM?

By chance, I met a student who was studying at the School. Like myself, this student did not have any medical background (my undergraduate was Geography and Arabic Texts). They were very enthusiastic and spoke so highly about the exemplary teaching of the School, also stating how supportive the learning environment was and the fact that non-medics were welcomed. This initiated me to apply to complete my postgraduate studies at LSHTM.

How has your degree at LSHTM complemented your career?

My degree at LSHTM has most certainly been the path to where I am now. The degree has given me a sound foundation to embark on a career in public health and epidemiology. Even years later, I still refer to my learning materials.

Were the relationships you formed at LSHTM useful – in what way?

The relationships formed on the course with other students has been extremely useful. I was able to join study groups or pair up with individuals to bounce ideas off each other over coursework during my time studying there. Since leaving the School, I have maintained contact with students, one of which very kindly introduced me to the idea of becoming a Distance Learning tutor, which has been a wonderful way of keeping links with the School.

Please summarise your achievements over the years and how you feel about them?

Since leaving the School, I have achieved many years’ experience in communicable disease control, epidemiological research and clinical trial coordination (Australia and international). I find that the more I work on it, the more I realise there is to be done! At the end of the day, I am just contributing in a small way to try and mitigate health inequalities.

What do you hope to further achieve in your field in the future?

Ideally, when the pandemic is under control, I would like to continue working on different assignments in the field, particularly in low-income countries. I would also like to remain committed to Distance Learning tutoring for the School, again, in a small way, helping to provide the skills and knowledge for future health care workers/researchers. 

How has COVID-19 affected your work?

Like everyone else, the pandemic has had a huge impact on my work. I was due to commence a two-year contract in 2020 with the WHO/CDC polio eradication program in Papua New Guinea; sadly, the pandemic has put this on hold. In the meantime, I fear that this pandemic will have a detrimental effect on the prevention and treatment of other communicable and non-communicable diseases. 

Have you connected with alumni since leaving LSHTM? And if so, how did you get involved?

Several staff and students from the School attended the 9th World Congress on Health Economics held in Sydney in July 2013. I was thrilled to read in the Alumni Newsletter that there would be an Alumni get together for ex-students in Sydney during the conference. This was my first opportunity to attend an Alumni event since leaving the School in 2002. I contacted the Alumni office, and a Chapter has been set up in Sydney. There are members in Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, Brisbane and Hobart. Hopefully, as the chapter grows and new members join, we will set up individual Chapters in these other cities.

What advice do you have for current students?

Try and connect with other students as much as you can. Developing support networks is so important, especially in recent times when people are more likely to feel isolated.

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