Alumni Profile: Waleed Backler

Waleed Backler

Current job title and organisation

I am a statistician in the UK Civil Service, currently working as a Data Specialist at the Attorney General’s Office.

What course and year did you study at LSHTM?

MSc Medical Statistics, I graduated in 2016.

Why did you decide to study at LSHTM?

Originally from a country lacking high-quality and accessible healthcare, it was a privilege to be part of the LSHTM vision.

Having completed a one-year undergraduate sandwich placement at the Department of Health, I was inspired to undertake a Medical Statistics MSc. With LSHTM being one of a select few institutions delivering this course, supplemented by their world-class curriculum and faculty, alongside offering me the National Institute for Health Research Award, it was an easy decision.

How has your degree at LSHTM complemented your career?

Data and evidence are a highly complex and essential field, as shown by the COVID pandemic. My training at LSHTM helped me understand various dimensions of statistics, supporting evidence-based policymaking, including balancing trade-offs between analytical rigour and timely analysis.

My master’s degree, delivered flexibly, has allowed me to apply my statistical skills across various fields, working in five different government departments and tackling a range of diverse issues for the UK.

How has COVID-19 affected your work?

The pandemic increased demand for further granularity of data and faster speed of information provision across government. There was a greater focus on statisticians like myself to provide more timely and in-depth analysis to implement new evidence-based policies, helping mitigate the effects of COVID on public services, from healthcare and the environment to transport and education.

Do you have any standout memories from LSHTM?

My most standout memory is looking up at my family during my graduation ceremony; it was a moment to cherish given how far I had come since arriving in the UK, via Holland, from my native country as a refugee.

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

I aim to become a senior civil servant, working closely with government ministers to shape and implement policies to deliver excellent public service across the UK while leading and managing diverse and inclusive teams.

What advice do you have for current students?

LSHTM will most definitely set you up for a successful career if you focus on your studies, manage your time effectively, and make the most of the knowledge your lecturers possess.