The focus of Syed's dissertation project was 'Competencies required from public health professionals by health based organisations and the role of academia'. Along with his co-authors, Andrew Lee and Hafsa Mubashir, Syed has recently published his work in the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association.
Citation: Abbas S M, Lee A, Mubashir H (2014) Competencies required from public health professionals by health based organisations and the role of academia. J Pak Med Assoc 64 (1):57-63.
Objective: To examine the complementarity between what is taught in Masters of Public Health courses and real world expectations of practitioner organisations.
Methods: The online survey of academic institutions and health-related organisations from high- and low-/middle-income countries was conducted between May 16 and August 1, 2011. A combination of snowballing and purposive sampling was used to recruit the respondents. The survey questionnaire was devised using a validated competencies framework.
Results: A total of 45 organisations responded to the survey. They were evenly distributed between academic institutions and practitioner organisations, high-income countries and low/middle income ones. There was marked disparity in rating for 14 (22%) of the 63 competencies examined. Practitioner organisations valued practical competencies such as contracting and negotiation skills, whereas academic institutions favoured research-based elements such as critical thinking and data-collection skills. Practitioner organisations also rated less highly course modules such as the dissertation component and research methods.
Conclusions: The lack of congruence between what is taught and what is required could result in public health practitioners being ill-prepared for the demands of the real world. Greater engagement between academic institutions and practitioner organisations is necessary to ensure that Masters of Public Health courses are appropriate and up-to-date.