Thursday, December 08, 2005

GPSI program connects classroom theory to real work practice

By Melanie Cain

When Gulam A. Noorani was looking for public health programs in the United States, his interest was piqued by the UIS website, especially the Graduate Public Service Internship section. He requested a brochure and an application to the program and, once the materials arrived and he began looking through them, he soon realized what great opportunities this program could offer.

Gulam was living in India at the time. As a physician who had just graduated with a major in Medicine and Surgery from NTR University of Health Services, he was interested in coming to the U.S. to study public health at a state university. Gulam decided to contact the GPSI office at UIS and follow up more thoroughly with the details of the program.

After looking into the university and the program further, Gulam decided that UIS was indeed the place to continue his studies in the field of public health and he arrived here in time to begin the 2004 fall semester. “Once I came to Springfield, I met the director of the GPSI program (Kim Hayden), and she motivated me and helped me to obtain a few interviews with public health-related agencies,” he explains.

“I opted for a position as an intern analyst at the Illinois Center for Health Statistics with the Illinois Department of Public Health,” says Gulam. “It seemed like it would be a challenging position and was a tremendous opportunity to work independently.” Gulam also began working toward his master’s degree in Public Health.

In his current position, Gulam has a great variety of duties and responsibilities. He performs data tabulations, calculations, and statistical analyses using software such as SPSS and Epi-Info, and assists in refining databases and preparing graphic analysis of research data. Gulam also helps with essential data analyses required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out various studies in the area of maternal and child health care.

During his time at UIS, Gulam has had nothing but positive experiences with his classes, internship, and the GPSI program in general. “I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to learn and explore more about the public health field and statistical methods,” he says. “It’s also been great to apply classroom theory to real work situations and to use daily work experience as a bridge between school and work.”

Although Gulam keeps busy with his internship and schoolwork, he still finds time to enjoy some of his favorite pastimes. He is an active member of the Springfield Cricket Club and has represented the club for the last two seasons in the U.S. Midwest Cricket league. He also enjoys cooking, traveling, exploring new places, and listening to music.

Gulam will be graduating in December 2005 with his master’s degree in Public Health. His future plans include a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in the area of HIV/AIDS.

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