A little over a year ago, before our world was rocked by a global pandemic, I was accepted to study at Imperial College Business School with the aim to obtain my Master’s in International Health Management. To me, this was a dream come true. Being from the United States, I was excited to not only move to London but study something that truly fascinates and excites me as I have always been keen on the idea of working in health administration. Then the pandemic hit.
Like most people, my daily life changed. The so-called ‘lockdown life’ has brought on a wave of unforeseen challenges. However, one major consequence that has affected our society and the world as a whole, has been the change in how we see and understand our health systems and policies.
For years, our health systems have been changing and growing; new policies have gone into place with many of us none-the-wiser. Then, like the flip of a switch, these seemingly minor changes affected all of us at once as we waited to learn more about the disease in its early stages. We waited eagerly for guidance on how to prevent and treat COVID-19, saw the government initiate lockdowns and state of emergency guidelines, and now approve vaccines and determine their rollout.
As we have all experienced our health systems and policies together, as a society our knowledge has also grown.
Pursuing a career in healthcare policy
When I started at Imperial, I thought that I wanted to pursue the healthcare consulting or hospital administrative route. However, as I have experienced and seen how healthcare policy has affected our lives (whether positively or negatively), my interests have shifted. I now hope to pursue a career that has a focus on public policy in healthcare and/or educating the public on healthcare-related topics.
MSc International Health Management has helped me see how this is possible and has helped me start on this journey. I expressed my interests to a faculty member and a professor who has since allowed me to help with their research projects which focuses on healthcare policy. This has further enlightened me to the vital work being done within the UK and globally. I have seen how each of us are responsible for providing a healthier tomorrow.
The future of healthcare
Throughout all of this, the highs and lows of the pandemic, we have all seen how the world has changed. Schools are taught via Zoom, people are working from home, and industries have been moulded; healthcare being an example. This has brought new health innovations and processes forward which will affect the future of healthcare.
For example, telemedicine visits have become the norm; something rarely practised before the pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, interdisciplinary teams and industries have come together to solve major health issues, setting a precedent for the future by increasing the sharing and creation of ideas, technology, and devices. The speed to which healthcare processes, drug development, and approvals have changed may set a precedent for future innovations.
COVID-19 has hurt and affected many people in unspeakable ways. It has changed the world and changed healthcare. During these unprecedented and difficult times, I remain hopeful. Hopeful for the future of healthcare. Hopeful for the future of health policy. And hopeful for the world’s future. The MSc International Health Management programme at Imperial College Business School has helped me retain this positivity. I look forward to seeing how the world will change and grow from the lessons we have learned during this time.