By Kingdom Mufhandu, a student of MPH in Global Health Leadership & Administration, 2016-2017 Cohort.
Place of Birth: Alexandra township, Johannesburg, South Africa
Country of Residence before arriving to Haifa: South Africa
Age: 39 years old
Any previous degrees you’ve held and where you studied:
• National Diploma in Biomedical Technology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
• Brand Communications at Vega Brand Communications School in Johannesburg, South Africa.
• Master of Public Health (MPH) – incomplete – at the University of Rochester, NY, USA.
How did you find the program at the University of Haifa?
I searched online for an MPH program that: a) focused on Global Health or Maternal and Child Health, b) I could afford, and c) I could complete in one year as I had already spent time at the University of Rochester’s MPH program.
Why did you decide to come to Haifa?
After the sudden passing of my father while I was studying and working at the University of Rochester, I returned to South Africa and a few years later, I decided to reignite my goal of studying my MPH abroad. I chose to study in Haifa in part, because of what I read about the city as having diverse cultures, also I believed that by living and studying in Israel, I will gain a new understanding of different cultures, religions and values – religion being a dominant feature in Israel. Similarly, I chose Haifa because I wanted to fully immerse myself in Israel life while I learn Hebrew at social, academic, and professional levels.
In addition, I wanted to interact with the Israeli population and fellow international students to gain greater respect for other cultures. In my class, there are students from the United States, Canada, Israel, Palestine, Colombia, Cameroon, Switzerland, Turkey, and France. Overall, I believe I will stand out from other South African graduates with the same degree because I will possess skills that can only be gained through international experience, such as strong cross-cultural communications and familiarity with international public health standards, laws, and regulations.
Where were you working/studying before you arrived?
Earlier in my medical research career, I worked at the HIV Vaccine Trial Network’s (HVTN) Immunology Laboratory in South Africa, I then worked at the South African National Department of Health in the Health Promotion Directorate. I later worked at the HVTN Clinical Research Site at the University of Rochester, NY, USA.
In Communications, I co-hosted a radio show on social determinants of health in Rochester. In South Africa, I developed and implemented brand communications strategies for The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, and the Gauteng Provincial Government.
Before arriving in Haifa, I started working on a mobile application – Mpilo Radio – that aims to prevent mother and child deaths in developing countries through health promotion and edutainment. In 2016, Mpilo Radio was a runner up in the LaunchPad Start-up Competition at the 26th Annual Art & Science of Health Promotion Conference in Orlando, Florida, USA.
What do you study here and what do you plan on doing with the degree afterwards?
I am a student in the MPH Global Health Leadership and Administration program at the International School. Being a Social Entrepreneur, upon graduation, I plan to combine skills and knowledge that I have gained from the International MPH and from studying Communications, with the aim to launch a health communications organization that will focus on social marketing, health promotion intervention design (mobile apps and face-to-face), and policy research and analysis.