Meet the 2022/23 GHECO Student Liaison Officers

At the start of the academic year, we appointed three MSc Student Liaison Officers (SLOs) to represent the Global Health Economics Centre (GHECO).

Our SLOs act as the voice of the student body and play an important role organising events and activities to inspire the next generation of health leaders.

We spoke to the SLOs about their plans for their summer projects, advice for prospective students and hopes for the future.
GHECO SLOs: (left to right) Leonard, Nimali and Marika

What drew you to studying at LSHTM?

Marika French (MF), MSc Public Health – Health Economics stream (distance learning): I knew I wanted to study public health and my interest in health economics was cemented by an industrial placement at the medical technology company, Perspectum Ltd. I knew that I would be better suited to distance learning (DL) so that I could work at the same time and LSHTM offered both DL courses and a specific health economics stream within their MSc Public Health which suited me well.

Nimali Widanapathirana (NW), MSc Health Policy, Planning and Financing: I was attracted to LSHTM by its exemplary track record in education and research and wanted to gain skills in health economics.

Leonard Thomas Lim (LTL), MSc Demography & Health: I am a medical student from the Philippines who decided to take a year off to intercalate at LSHTM. I chose to study at LSHTM because I have witnessed first-hand the competence of its graduates through previous research and networking opportunities.

What do you hope to research through your summer project?

MF: For my summer project, I hope to incorporate some of the work that do I my job at Perspectum. I would like to create a cost-effectiveness model for introducing new diagnostic tests and monitoring tools into clinical pathways for people with rare diseases such as Auto-Immune Hepatitis or Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis.

NW: I am undecided but am interested in furthering my knowledge and skills in economic evaluations of healthcare interventions.

LTL: As a demography student passionate about Southeast Asia, I plan to conduct a policy analysis of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Mutual Recognition Arrangement for Nurses—investigating migration in the region from both health systems and economic lenses.

Where do you see your work going in the future?

MF: I hope to continue my work with Perspectum and become more involved in the Health Technology Assessment requirements necessary both in the UK and outside. I also hope to research the impact that real world evidence can have on these programmes and how artificial intelligence (AI) enabled technologies can be implemented into healthcare settings in a more streamlined manner.

NW: I would like to continue to a PhD. My long-term goal is to advocate and support the inclusion of health economic analyses in decision-making in low- and middle-income settings.

LTL: After intercalating at LSHTM, I plan to finish medical school and then to work as a public health researcher and consultant within Southeast Asia.

What were three words sum up your time at LSHTM so far?

MF: Inspiring, engaging, rewarding.

NW: Seek, collaborate, enjoy.

LTL: Refreshing, meaningful, lifechanging.

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

MF: Get involved, regardless of whether you are doing an intensive or DL course. There are so many different ways that you can immerse yourself in LSHTM such as becoming a SLO or a course representative and it is a great way to meet like-minded people. If you are interested in a distance learning course, it is a great way to meet your peers and contribute to LSHTM from afar.

NW: Engaging with colleagues from different professions is tremendously important for career advancement and for making impactful change. LSHTM provides fertile ground for this given its diverse academia and the student population so don’t hesitate to reach out to people.

LTL: Even if the programme of your choice does not offer much economic content, take it upon yourself to supplement your compulsory modules with opportunities to learn health economics. Having this perspective will help you become a more powerful advocate of your cause.


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