[Absolwenci] Studia pozwoliły mi odkryć jak bardzo lubię pracować w międzynarodowym środowisku. Na ‘Trzy pytania do absolwenta’ odpowiada Tara Tai-Wen Chen (#40)

Tara Chen

Czterdziesty miniwywiad z cyklu „Trzy pytania do absolwenta” – przygotowanego przez Ilonę Nenko – w którym nasi absolwenci opowiadają o życiu zawodowym po studiach w Instytucie Zdrowia Publicznego. Celem cyklu jest prezentacja doświadczeń i perspektyw (w tym cennych porad zawodowych) profesjonalistów zdrowia publicznego zarówno w Polsce, jak i na świecie. Dzisiaj prezentujemy historię Tary Tai-Wen Chen, która ukończyła studia magisterskie EuroPubHealth+ (EPH) w 2019 roku i pracuje jako kierownik projektu na Global Health Literacy Summit 2020.

What does your career path look like?

I became inspired to pursue a career in public health by my mother, who works in the Public Health sector in Canada. As a second-generation Canadian, I felt keen to follow her footsteps in a career that builds and promotes healthy lifestyles. I graduated from Western University (London, Canada) with a Bachelor of Health Sciences. I wanted to learn how other countries tackled health and I jumped at an opportunity to move to Kingston, Jamaica to work in the international development field working on capacity-building for Caribbean populations who are vulnerable to HIV infections. It was an amazing experience for me. My colleagues inspired me to continue pursue further education through the Europubhealth+ (EPH) Dual Masters in Public Health program.

My EPH pathway included the University of Sheffield (England), École des Hautes Études en Santé Publique (France), and Jagiellonian University (Poland). I graduated with a specialization in Health Governance and Health Economics. During the program, I reflected about my priorities with my career and my personal life. As a Canadian-born Taiwanese, I often struggle with my identity- always receiving the question “Where are you from?”. My classmates and I started to embrace the identity of a „Global Citizen” – a term used for individuals who have lived in different places and who does not identify with either home or host country, perfect for my career goals to work in the international health field!

I am currently located in Taiwan, as the Project Manager for the first Global Health Literacy Summit 2020 which will be co-hosted by the International Health Literacy Association and the E-DA Healthcare Group | I-Shou University. My role is constantly changing; providing assistance and advocacy to the health literacy platform in many forms. It is very exciting to be part of the health literacy movement, working with government actors on national and global platforms that all emphasized the importance of health literacy in improving population health, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recently, I was accepted as a Local Pathways Fellow, an initiative by SDSN Youth, focusing on SDG 11. In my spare time, I hope to continue to champion and create local pathways for sustainable development.

What experience, gained while studying at Institute of Public Health, helped you get a job?

My experience at Jagiellonian University was the highlight of my EPH journey. We were a small and unique group of students (8 from EPH, 3 from Germany, & 3 local Polish students). Our professors embraced our group’s personality and allowed us to have engaging, fruitful discussions in lectures. We were eager to learn and share about our experiences. From the get-go, the Institute was welcoming to our ideas. We attended the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies Network Meeting, participated in the 2018 Global Climate and Health Summit in Katowice (side event by COP24) and other various academic events. I also had the opportunity to move to Stockholm, Sweden for my practical placement with Global Water Partnerships. My practical placement was related to the SDGs, specifically SDG 6 (Water). I was focused onp strategic action plans in an organization; which was concurrently related to my masters’ thesis with Professor Mariusz Duplaga on health literacy. My thesis was focus on strategies and policies in health literacy in a variety of countries; linking ideas on strengthening health systems and improving population health.

The most important skill I learned in Poland was how to live in a country where you do not speak the language. Cultural barriers are a huge challenge in the international field. Poland was the first country that I moved to where basic polish was very needed in everyday life. I am proud to say I have A1 level Polish! Poland really enhanced my cultural experience and the welcoming of the faculty made me realize how much I love working in the international field.

What skills, acquired during studies, do you use in your professional work?

Project management incorporates many aspects about public health and requires one to hold many hats. The theoretical and practical experiences about partnership and mobilizing action have been useful in my everyday tasks. I have to develop marketing activities for patients and health professionals, thinking about cultural competencies in a new country. I have also been asked to be a guest lecturer for public health courses, and I feel confident to share what I’ve learned from my studies. I gained confidence from my EPH journey to become a young professional public health advocate and I share it in my everyday work environment. I enjoy challenging traditional-medical approaches and encourage individuals around me to see public health through the health in all policies approach. I am excited to continue my work in the international health sphere.

Blog Zdrowia Publicznego, red. M. Furman, M. Zabdyr-Jamróz, Instytut Zdrowia Publicznego UJ CM, Kraków: 27  lutego 2020