Name: Albert Francis Domingo
Degree: MSc Health Systems and Public Policy
Doing now: Consultant at the NCD unit of the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WHO/WPRO)
What were you doing before you applied to the MSc?
Before applying for an MSc programme at Edinburgh, I was a Team Manager at USAID Philippines’ Health Policy Development Program (HPDP). My work there involved processing policy studies and operations data to provide real-time and actionable information to top management of the Philippines’ Department of Health. Along with a team of analysts, I provided technical assistance to the Secretary of Health with respect to the implementation of the Philippines’ Universal Health Care programme. I helped ensure that the contents of the Secretary’s presentations and other communication materials were strategic and accurate.
Why did you apply to the programme?
My medical background was an advantage for my career in health policy, and my supervisors in HPDP were very accomplished and thorough as mentors. Still, I had some questions here and there that needed in-depth answers. As a young physician with sufficient exposure and experience in my country’s health sector reform, I wanted to be abreast with the latest international trends in health policy development. A quick look at materials about the Health Systems and Public Policy programme, the work that the lecturers at the Global Public Health Unit have published, and the strong reputation of its alumni all convinced me to go ahead and apply. I was also fortunate to have been granted a Chevening Scholarship, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations.
What are your best memories from your time studying here?
My best memories from studying in Edinburgh would be the term-time seminars. It was at those weekly seminars that I got a chance to interact with some of the best minds in the field – the lecturers and my fellow students. The wealth of theoretical knowledge and experience everyone brought into the classrooms on a regular basis meant lively discussion and debate would almost always take place.
What's it like being a student in Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is truly student friendly. The city is so well designed that every single day presents itself as an opportunity to create a wonderful experience. Everything is so fascinating, accessible, and convenient! I could easily switch modes from being a serious postgraduate student to curious tourist or avid literature/art/outdoors lover – and much more! It also helped that everyone was very friendly and accommodating. In the rare instances that I got bored of the city, I easily whisked myself away on a day trip or two to the spectacular Scottish highlands.
What learning opportunities did you find the most helpful?
When the School of Social and Political Science (SSPS) first discussed the possibility of a work-based placement (WBP) as a master’s dissertation, I saw it as an opportunity to apply what I have learned at Edinburgh in the real world context of a global health agency. With the support of my Programme Director and the SSPS Practice Programme, I was able to secure an Internship at the Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) unit of the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WHO/WPRO) as my WBP. My WHO Internship was a fitting complement to my programme of studies.
What are you doing at present?
Right after returning to the Philippines, I joined WHO/WPRO as a consultant at the NCD unit. I have been engaged to work on tasks concerning health system responses to the NCD epidemic. In addition to my WHO consultancy, I also maintain ties with local universities to deliver lectures and talks on health systems and health policy.