Sondus Hassounah (MPH 2012) returned to Imperial to work as a World Health Organisation researcher in the (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training at the School of Public Health. Her research focuses on, assessing and building health leadership capacity, looking in particular at low-middle income countries, health systems in transition and post conflict countries.
Can you tell us about your studies at Imperial?
"My studies were thought provoking, challenging and incredibly interesting. I grew on personal and professional fronts and I learned to continuously search for, and achieve, excellence as a life mantra."
Tell us a bit about about the work that you are doing now...
"I work as researcher in the WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training, which is part of the Department of Primary Care & Public Health, at the School of Public Health here Imperial College London. I’m actively involved in health system strengthening research, assessing and building health leadership capacity with particular focus on low-middle income countries, health systems in transition and post conflict countries. I also lead on building local health-workforce capacity through training and education."
How has what you learnt at Imperial helped you in your career so far?
"Throughout my course I learned equally from the faculty staff as I have from my fellow students. The momentous global health experience of the teaching staff significantly impacted my learning process and added greatly to my skill set. This was compounded by the truly global student body which helped us learn, through cross pollination and being exposed directly and indirectly to each other’s health systems dynamics."
What have been your career highlights and lowlights?
"My career highlight has been working with WHO country offices (Libya, Iraq, and Sudan) and Governments to provide technical assistance to assess and reform their Health Systems and my career lowlight is not being able to progress to a more senior role in a timely fashion."
What are your plans for the future?
"I would like to embark on a PhD and possibly enrol in the Public Health Training Program."
What’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
"Switching from clinical medicine to public health research."
What are you most proud of in your life?
"Giving myself a fighting chance."
Do you have a favourite quote or saying?
'I have a few: “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” Albert Einstein (Physicist and Nobel Prize laureate 1921)
“You can tell whether a person is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a person is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz (Egyptian novelist and screenplay writer and Nobel Prize laureate 1911)
“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change ” Heraclitus (Greek Philosopher 535-475BC)
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” Eleanor Roosevelt (American Politician, activist and longest running first lady of the United States)