Please allow me to paraphrase a statement I read years ago: some places give you a career, but Oxford gives you a life. Even though “life changing experience” is such an overused cliché, I can still firmly assert that Oxford has changed my life.
Oxford had already changed my life once when I did my sociology degree. The second coming to Oxford for the M.Sc. in EBHC changed my life again. As someone with no experience at all in healthcare, I am always indebted to the bold tutors who granted me a chance and took the risk to accept me. This was the starting point of my two-year journey.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the uniqueness of the Oxonian way had not been diminished by the part-time nature of this degree: we were encouraged to experiment and to challenge the subject areas rather than simply absorbing information. All weekly assignments were not marked and thus they would not affect the final grade. This unusual method allowed us to try different “risky” approaches. We collaborated and discussed across countries and time zones. Since I came from a different background, my arguments were sometime considered as “unconventional”. Nevertheless, I benefited a lot from the discussions with my supportive classmates and tutors. The classmates were wonderful yet it could be quite intimidating — one time in a class of twelve people, we had eight doctors, six health specialists, four Ph.D., and two with more than one Ph.D. This diverse mix of people enriched our in-class discussions and this also enabled us to pick up great friendships with people from other areas and even countries.
Mathematically speaking, anything jumps from zero is an infinite growth. My growing knowledge in evidence-based healthcare brought along the following fruits.
- Completed three research projects with one funded by the Hong Kong government on genetic discrimination. One research was published in the Bioethics.
- Won the first prize of a prescribing strategy competition hosted by Innocentive.
- Invited by the Direct Marketing Association to be a guest blogger to discuss health analytics.
- Published in the Journal of Clinical Trials on early stoppage of clinical trials.
- Published in the Parson Journal of Information Mapping on health data visualization.
- Published a reply in BMJ.
- Published an article on London cholera and epidemiology theory in the Significance, the official joint magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association.
- Presented in the Preventing Overdiagnosis Conference on mammography screening.
- Served as a reviewer for the American Journal of Managed Care and the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
It is simply impossible for me to accomplish those without the wonderful education here. I now have a much deeper understanding on the importance of evidence as well as how to evaluate the research of others. As the world is moving toward an evidence-based healthcare system, especially after the Obamacare in the US, I am incredibly fortunate to learn from the pioneers in the place that started the whole field.
Aaron Lai, MSc in EBHC Student
Find out more about the MSc in EBHC.