Yasuko Shimizu at Mediva Inc.
Concentration of Study
Public Health Practice (PHP)
MPH Degree Mode and Graduation Year
1. Describe your practicum.
I had my practicum at Mediva Inc, a medical consulting company in Tokyo, Japan. One of their business is to support medical services and facilities in overseas, mainly in developing countries. When I started my practicum, they were working on to establish health check-up service in Hanoi, Vietnam with cooperation of the largest teaching hospital, Bac Mai Hospital and the Vietnam government. The project had three phases, (1) to install a health check-up service within Bach Mai Hospital, (2) to build a health check-up facility in Bac Mai second hospital which is now under construction, (3) to install health check-up systems to cover whole northern Vietnam. I was responsible for planning a strategy for the third phase, which Mediva could commence in the future.
2. Why did you choose your practicum organization/ practicum project?
Before I started the MPH course, I was working in the business management department of a medical equipment company. As I learnt through the MPH course that social wellness contributes largely to individual health, it became my challenge how I could integrate such broad perspectives of public health into for-profit business which I would go back after the study. Therefore, I was keen to find the practicum site to best tackle my challenge.
I started searching for the practicum site after semester 1 of my first year. I found Mediva through internet and started contacting in following May. I completed my practicum during the winter holiday after the first semester of my second year.
3. What was the most rewarding part of your practicum?
In the third phase of the health check up promotion plan I worked on, I emphasized the benefit and the meaning of health check up service brought to the ethnic minority and poor people who were still a major focus in Vietnam. This is because the MPH course taught me to always look at the underprivileged people and without helping those people, the social wellness cannot be achieved., I believed the health check-up program Mediva was trying to establish would be truly meaningful if those people receive the benefit.
It was not easy to make the plan possibly acceptable and worthwhile to the disadvantaged population yet feasible to Mediva’s business.
However, I feel I achieved it and by achieving this, I feel I acquired a hint to my challenge of bridging public health and business. Also the perspective I suggested to Mediva was unique as it involved much of public health essences which business professionals do not necessarily have. It was rewarding that Mediva members appreciated my viewpoint.
4. What skills did you gain as a result of your practicum?
The practicum offered a great opportunity to utilize and integrate the skills and knowledge I acquired through the course. As Mediva is a consulting firm, I had a chance to practice and learn how to professionally present my work. In other words, I acquired a skill to convey messages in the manner so that people without public health background understand and follow what is presented. This is actually an essential public health skill necessary in communication.
5. How can you see your practicum helping with your future career in public health?
As mentioned before the experience gave me a clue to bridge between business and what I learnt in public health. Ultimate goal for public health and business (it may be a very long term goal for business) should be the same, to contribute better life for people. I feel confident that I could integrate my public health knowledge and aspects in any situations in business.
6. Do you have any advice for future practicum students?
We all should have a reason to start MPH study, and we all have either vague or solid plan for what we want to do after the course (it would be great if it expands as you study). The practicum offers a great opportunity to step towards the future career. Teachers were very supportive to my self initiated practicum. It would be a great advantage to elaborate on what you want to do in the future and start preparing for the practicum at early stage of the course.