Alumni Profile: Isabela Troya

Isabela Troya

Current job title and organisation

Government of Ireland Fellow, School of Public Health, University College Cork and National Suicide Research Foundation

Can you please tell us a bit about your current work/research?

I am an applied health scientist, with the overarching aim of developing research to inform clinical practice, policy, and patient services through evidence-based data. Using national databases (e.g. The National Self-Harm Registry Ireland & The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing) and primary research (e.g. interviewing patients and clinicians), my research has contributed to a comprehensive understanding of suicidal behaviour in older adults and other at risk populations. As a result of my research, I have developed alongside colleagues a unique, evidence-based simulation training programme for mental health professionals aimed at reducing hospital-presenting self-harm in Ireland, which has received additional government funding to extend its delivery to other health sectors. Find out more about the study protocol

As of  2022, I am a Government of Ireland Fellow where I am examining the individual and social factors which are associated with suicidal behaviour amongst older adults living in Ireland, to improve risk assessment and management of this under-researched and at-risk group. Find out more about SHOAR: Improving care pathways and understanding of self-harm in older adults.

Since 2019, I have been affiliated with UCC and the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF). The NSRF is a World Health Organisation collaborating Centre for Surveillance and Research in Suicide Prevention. I have contributed to the coordination, development, and implementation of research surveillance of the first multi-centre surveillance system for self-harm and suicide prevention in 2 countries with different cultural contexts: Russia and Ecuador (as of December 2021 all work with Russia has ended) as well as constructing national suicide prevention plans in Guyana and Ecuador.

What course and year did you study at LSHTM?

I completed my MSc in Global Mental Health in 2015/2016. This was a joint MSc with Kings College London.

Why did you choose to study with LSHTM?

The MSc in Global Mental Health was unique, covering important but varying fields such as Mental Health, Global Health and Public Health. 

Did you have to overcome any challenges to study with us?

The transition from undergraduate to postgraduate education was tough as well as coming from a different country (and continent). I had to quickly learn and adapt to the way of learning in postgraduate education. For example learning to innovate, be creative,  think outside the box, not only repeat/memorise results, etc. It was hard, but very well worth it.

What were your favourite memories from your studies with us?

Being situated with two of the biggest academic institutions worldwide. So many conferences and events to attend to which really continued to provide inspiration for my career. 

How has your LSHTM degree helped you in your career?

It gave me solid foundation on public health, global health and mental health. I still touch on many of the modules/concepts learned during my MSc at LSTHM. For example, the health systems module gave me a wide understanding on how varying global health systems can work in different countries/settings. This has helped with work I conduct as consultant/advisor for the WHO in supporting the construction of national suicide prevention plans across different countries (Guyana, Ecuador, amongst other).

What would you like to achieve in future?

Make meaningful contributions to populations mental health via evidence based research.

Do you have any advice for students/recent graduates? Take advantage of all the unlimited resources you have while being a student at LSHTM. Conferences, events, networking, etc. It really does go very fast so do try the make the most of your time as a student.

Do you have any social handles (Twitter/Facebook Usernames) you would like us to use?

Twitter: @IsabelaTroyaPhD