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My Personal Story: 
A Short Sabbatical at Johns Hopkins University
Yahya M. Kishashu, M.Sc.(Erg); PGDip(Occ Hlth); M.P.H.(Ind Hlth)

Yahya KishashuI, Yahya M. Kishashu, an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health and Social Sciences, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, was selected by the Leadership Initiative for Public Health in East Africa (LIPHEA) project to participate in a short sabbatical program at Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, USA from 23rd June – up to 6th August, 2008. While at Johns Hopkins University, I participated in the Summer Graduate Institute of Epidemiology and Biostatistics scheduled to start from 3rd June through 3rd July, 2008 in which I took the following courses: Biostatistics Analysis of Epidemiological Data II; Poisson and Conditional Logistic Regression Analysis; Epidemiologic Methods for Planning and Evaluating Health Services; Epidemiologic Application of Geographic Information System; Global Positioning System and Spatial Data Collection for Epidemiologic Studies.

During this short sabbatical, I also participated in the Health Emergencies in Large Populations (H.E.L.P.) course which took place from 5th up to 25th July, 2008. In the H.E.L.P. course the following subjects were taught by experienced public health specialists: Planning for the humanitarian response Environmental Health in emergencies; Food and nutrition; Epidemiology and surveillance in emergencies; Personal security; Communicable diseases; Reproductive health; Basic principles of human rights; Protecting vulnerable populations; International Humanitarian Law Human rights law; Origins of conflicts; Protection of refugees; Protection of Prisoners of War; Protection of children; The health consequences of land mines; Implementing public health services; and Mental health in displaced populations.

Since I am currently carrying out a Ph.D. dissertation research entitled “The Use of Linked Data in Estimating Severe Traumatic Work-related Injuries in Tanzania” now at final stages of data collection, I made use of the opportunity to be at John Hopkins University to meet some faculty working in my area of research. I was also able to hold a review meeting with one of my dissertation committee members Prof. Gordon Smith, now working at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.

Overall, my experience in this short sabbatical has greatly improved my data analysis skills and introduced me to some geographic information tools now being used for public health research. I hope to sharpen my skills in the new areas of spatial data collection for public health research, so that I can participate in the teaching of these new areas in our institution.

Following the introduction of new programmes such as Masters Programme in Applied Epidemiology, it is my hope that the host department of this new programme will consider incorporating GPS Application in Spatial Data Collection and GIS as new courses.

My sincere acknowledgements should go to the LIPHEA project managers, Prof. Japhet Killewo from Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Prof Gilbert Burnham from Johns Hopkins University for availing this invaluable opportunity to me. I also extend my sincere thanks to Lauren Burns from Johns Hopkins University for her tireless efforts to ensure that my stay in Baltimore was comfortable; I am highly indebted for her help in many aspects during my stay at Johns Hopkins. Last but not least I extend my sincere thanks to LIPHEA country administrator, Ms Elly for providing guidance and administrative support prior to my travel to USA.

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