Alumni Profile: Vincenzo Cologna

Vincenzo Cologna completed the Diploma in Tropical Nursing at LSHTM in 2019 and is now studying the MSc in Public Health for Development. Here, he discusses some great moments at LSHTM, his work as a nurse during COVID-19 and his words of support for his fellow students whilst studying during a global pandemic.
Vincenzo Cologna outside of LSHTM Keppel Street

“I enrolled in the Tropical Nursing course, as I always had a strong interest in infectious disease management in LMICs. I was working as an infectious disease nurse whilst studying for the DTN. The knowledge I gained helped me to have a better understanding of public health challenges affecting the globe and expand my view on a global scale and be better equipped with skills needed to work in the humanitarian sector. Whilst studying at LSHTM, I met many academics and global health leaders who inspired me in my future career. I am still in touch with some of them, and it’s great!

“One of my stand out memories of LSHTM was the moment I met Dame Claire Bertschinger for the first time. It was so special as I could feel the great energy she transmitted to me when talking about global health. I knew she was going to have a positive, big impact on my future career. Also, Wednesday afternoon sessions in the laboratory learning about parasitology were the best and lots of fun! As well, having lunch with fellow students in the refectory and sharing ideas whilst listening to piano music being played by other students or staff is one of the best memories I have at LSHTM.

“I moved to London after I graduated in Nursing at the University of Bologna, Italy. Once in the UK, I worked as an infectious disease nurse. I was redeployed to a COVID-19 intensive care unit for a few days, followed by redeployment to a chemotherapy day unit where I was in charge of screening for COVID-19 patients attending the service. I have worked on health promotion projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, working with a number of NGOs. Following my Diploma in Tropical Nursing, I was due to fly to South Sudan for an internship in Project Management which did not eventually go ahead due to a COVID-19 high-security alert.

“I also dedicate time on activism for equal rights for race, gender, and sexual orientation. I recently gained a course certificate in Project Management from the Open University-UK. I feel there is still so much I have to learn, especially with the Master’s programme I am currently enrolled on. I feel this is only the beginning of my new career in global health.

“After the MSc in Public Health for Development at LSHTM, I am aiming at project management positions at an international level, focusing my work on health inequalities affecting vulnerable populations. Due to nurses’ low participation in leadership roles in the health policymaking process aimed at health systems strengthening, I would love to contribute to give a voice to the nursing profession in this area.

“Since I am also currently studying: the biggest advice I would give to my fellow students is that despite the difficult times brought in by the pandemic, please take some time to look after your mental health wellbeing. Make sure you network with your fellow students to get to know each other and share experiences. Keep your standards high and try to maintain a good spirit. Let’s support one another and grow together during this important chapter of our lives. We need this now more than ever.

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