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Public Health in Disasters alumna Amrita finds her calling in public health research and consulting

Amrita Namasivayam

Amrita Namasivayam, an alumna of the Master's in Global Health (2011) and Public Health in Disasters (2016) programs, has found her passion in public health research and consulting. With over 10 years of experience in academia, civil service, and the health sector, Amrita has made significant contributions to various areas of public health.

During her Master's degrees, Amrita focused her research on women's health, exploring gender inequities in Namibia, Kenya, Nepal, and India, as well as maternal healthcare access during periods of conflict in Uganda. Her doctoral research centered on addressing the unmet need for contraception in Uganda, investigating cultural and contextual factors influencing contraceptive use among Ugandan women and men.

Before pursuing her Ph.D., Amrita worked on public health programs and policies related to substance abuse among adults and youth at the Health Promotion Board under Singapore's Ministry of Health. She also gained experience as a medical writer and evaluated health programs, including a maternal health initiative in Uganda and a community-led Maori health project in New Zealand.

Amrita's journey began when she discovered the Master's in Global Health program at Karolinska Institutet (KI) in 2010, attracted by the program's description and her love for Stockholm. After completing her first Master's, she pursued a second joint Master's in Public Health in Disasters, seizing the opportunity to return to KI and spend more time in Stockholm.

During her studies in the Public Health in Disasters program, Amrita interned with the Swedish Organization for Global Health, focusing on maternal health programs in Uganda. This experience played a significant role in shaping her subsequent Ph.D. research, even though she was unaware of it at the time.

Although she couldn't secure funding for a Ph.D. at KI, Amrita was fortunate to receive a doctoral scholarship from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. She conducted her research in collaboration with the same community in Uganda where she had previously interned, addressing the challenges of maternal healthcare and family planning.

After completing her Ph.D., Amrita established her own health research consulting company. As an independent researcher and consultant, she undertakes various public health projects. Her current work includes projects on HIV prevention and education, as well as cervical cancer screening and treatment. She was also awarded a Research Fellowship at Project Drawdown, a global NGO focused on multi-sector climate solutions. Her fellowship involves studying the impact of women's access to health and education on reducing unwanted pregnancies and improving societal well-being.

Amrita's work is diverse and often requires collaborating remotely with individuals across different time zones. She emphasizes the importance of time management and setting boundaries while enjoying the flexibility and variety her projects offer. Amrita acknowledges that her time at KI significantly influenced her problem-solving skills and the importance of the learning process. She cherishes the connections made with classmates from diverse backgrounds and remains inspired by the various career paths they have pursued.

Amrita is a passionate advocate for health equity, particularly in the areas of women's empowerment and access to affordable, quality healthcare. She views this as a personal mission that will continue throughout her career and lifetime. Her advice to students is to embrace opportunities that may deviate from their original plans, as these experiences can lead to new perspectives, networks, and possibilities. She also encourages students to explore new places, cultures, and experiences while having fun along the way.

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