Saira GhafurSaira Ghafur 

What did you most enjoy about your course?Having the opportunity to study with people from other national bodies such as NHS England, DH< number 10 and international students who had policy roles in their countries. As a clinician, we don’t often get to meet these people, so it definitely added to the learning and being able to have very fruitful discussions.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?
The faculty and college have an excellent reputation. The wealth of experience of lecturers was great with access to some very impressive speakers over the course of the masters. The faculty were very supportive and considerate of being able to balance a part time masters with a full time job.

What did you do after the course and how did it contribute to your success?
I was able to successfully apply for a national medical directors clinical fellow post at NHS England and subsequently was selected as a Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy for a year in the US.

What are you doing now?
I am currently working as Director of the Sowerby Forum and a Policy Fellow in Digital Health IGHI,  Imperial College and also practice as an honorary consultant in respiratory medicine at St Marys Hospital.

Sam Haskell - Dean's Master's prize winner

Sam HaskellWhat did you most enjoy about your course?
I learned a lot from other colleagues on the MSc. As a group, we were from a range of different backgrounds, both professionally and personally. This led to some interesting debates. In terms of the content, I found the lectures on frugal innovation fascinating. Doing more with less – and for the benefit of the many, not the few – are concepts that I’ve always been interested in. So it was great to hear about the frugal movement, and its focus on high-quality, low-cost solutions.

What did you most appreciate about the Faculty/College?
Being based at St Mary’s meant we were able to shadow staff working in the NHS, and to see some of the services being delivered by a busy acute hospital in real-time. This provided useful context to the policies we were studying, and highlighted the importance of thinking through issues of implementation early-on.

How did it feel to receive the Dean's Prize?
I was the first in my family to get a degree – let alone an MSc – so it was a real honour to receive the Prize. I’ve donated the £200 prize money to the Leeds charity, Zest: Health for Life. They help children eat well and stay active, support adults into decent employment, and help older people stay connected to their communities. Basically, they help put the policies we studied into practice. To find out more, visit:

What are you doing now/What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I’m continuing my work at the Department of Health, where I lead on housing and health policy as part of the Integration, Local Devolution & Policy Improvement Team. I’m also working with my supervisor to try to publish a version of my dissertation. It was focused on pet ownership and health in later life, and generated some interesting findings.