The Wits School of Public Health celebrated a bumper crop of graduates this year, with eight PhD students receiving their degree certificates this year.
The joyous occasion was celebrated during a symposium prior to the Faculty of Health Sciences graduation, which took place on 5 July 2012.
During the afternoon symposium seven of the PhD students had the opportunity to present a bird’s eye view of his or her PhD research, before an audience consisting of Faculty members, Wits people, family and friends.
“It is not every time that we have eight PhD’s in the School of Public Health graduating. The other significant achievement is that since December 2011 there were ten PhD’s graduating this year. Out of the 114 Master degrees awarded tonight, 26 are from the School of Public Health. We have ample reason to celebrate,” said Prof. Laetitia Rispel, Head of the School of Public Health.
The graduation presentations included research condensed into 15-minute presentations on a variety of topics pertaining to public health.
Dr Andrew Swanepoel spoke about is research on Harvesting and Dust: Silica and Farming; Dr Gill Nelson delivered and interesting overview of Living in the shadow of a dust cloud: occupational respiratory diseases in the South African Mining industry, 1975 to 2009; while Dr Babatyi Malope-Kgokong spoke about her research on Is Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpes Virus a sexually transmitted infection?
Further presentations included Roles norms and incentives influencing the performance of clinical officers in Kenyan rural hospitals by Dr Patrick Mbindyo; Understanding patterns of health system utilization among people living with HIV/AIDS attending rural HIV services by Dr Mosa Moshabela, Understanding the BED Capture Enzyme Immunoassay: Measuring HIV-1 incidence in cross-sectional studies by Dr Edmore Marinda; and Dr Benn Sartorius speaking about Who dies where, when and why? Modelling space-time risk and determinants of infant, child and adult mortality in rural South Africa, 1992-2008.
“This year is a huge year for the School – not only is a new building in construction, but the school has grown in the sense that the postgraduate programmes have had great success and enrolment numbers are surging. That means that the School is growing year by year,” said Prof. Ahmed Wadee, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Prof. Kathleen Kahn, PhD supervisor and mentor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, said via video message from Ghana: “I want to congratulate all of you doctorate graduates on reaching this milestone. Many of you represent the first cohort of a structured PhD programme which the School introduced just over three years ago. You embraced our new approach and walked a new path with me and provided feedback that has helped guide programme development and benefits current and future cohorts of students.”
The eight Public Health PhD students were part of a 17-strong group of PhD’s graduating in the Faculty of Health.