SPH training leads Biostatistics graduate to Harvard

By Sally CrockerKshitiz Rakesh

When Kshitiz Rakesh (MPH ’15 Biostatistics) transferred to the UNTHSC School of Public Health (SPH), he was seeking a program that would challenge him beyond the coursework, involve him in real-world health problems and solutions, and push him to advanced levels of statistical programming and data analysis.

What he found was a place that gave him the experience and credentials to land a job at Boston Children’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital.

Rakesh, who has recently begun a new position as statistical programmer in the hospital’s Division of Neurology and Epilepsy, credits the UNTHSC research projects he worked on, as well as the guidance of SPH faculty, in helping him reach this point in his career.

“The SPH does a phenomenal job to ensure students are proficient and ready for the roles they will take on in their careers,” he said. “I worked with different researchers on projects related to pharmacology, community health, preconception peer education and disability in Hispanic elderly populations during my degree program. That gave me the equivalent of two to three years of practical experience I could list on my resume as a fresh, new graduate. That really helped make the difference for me.

“The experiences encouraged me to take the initiative and push myself beyond, to look at public health issues in different ways. I grew so much in terms of my knowledge, proficiencies and critical thinking.”

While at UNTHSC, Rakesh also pursued Advanced Certification in his field, encouraged by his professors to take that extra step.

“The SPH really moves you in a direction where you are prepared and ‘good to go’ when applying for jobs. There was such a varied mix of faculty and students from different professional and social/cultural backgrounds that it helped me think beyond my own world as I completed my degree,” he said.

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