Alumni Profile: Laura Haskins

Laura Haskins in front of several national flags

Current job title and organisation

Project Officer in the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy at the International Atomic Energy Agency

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

The UN has several Agencies which support the mandate for global cancer control, and the IAEA is one of those with a particular focus on radiation medicine and cancer control planning. I support Ministries of Health in low- and middle-income countries to evaluate their capacity for cancer control, make recommendations on how to strengthen that capacity, and create policies to advance those activities.

What course and year did you study at LSHTM?

Professional Diploma of Tropical Nursing (PDTN), 2021

Why did you choose to study with LSHTM?

The PDTN at LSHTM is very highly-regarded in the field for nurses doing global health work. I also desired to connect to the strong network of the school, particularly the other students, who bring a diverse set of experiences from which I wanted to learn.

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

This was the first PDTN that was done fully online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, I was also a full-time graduate student in the US. Juggling these different responsibilities plus the time zone difference was difficult, but the lectures were so tailored to my passions in nursing and global health that it never felt like a burden and I always looked forward to each class.

What were your favourite memories from your studies with us?

Anything involving the incredible Claire Rogers, our professor for the microscopy lab. Despite having to teach this very practical skill online, I have no doubts on our preparation because of her skillful teaching. I am in awe of her depth of knowledge, her enthusiasm for the subjects she taught, and her clear enjoyment of interacting with students.

How has your LSHTM degree helped you in your career?

The diploma gave me a strong foundation in so many different aspects of global health through a nursing lens. It reinforced for me that nursing is really key in all of these activities, and I now have the base of expertise from which to advocate for this in everything I do.

What would you like to achieve in future?

I would like to contribute to improving cancer care across the globe, with a particular emphasis on elevating the nursing voice and strengthening health systems.

Do you have any advice for students/recent graduates?

If you are considering a career in global health, be creative and open to the unknown - the path is often not straightforward. I was a clinical oncology nurse first, but expanded my skills through teaching and working with immigrant populations, reached out to people who I thought were doing interesting things, and was willing to take unexpected opportunities when they came along. I had never planned to end up at the UN, but this openness ultimately led me here.

We are first and foremost guests in other people's lives when we do global health work. Your local colleagues are experts in their context, so come with humility and learn from them, and learn the local language.

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

LinkedIn: Laura Haskins