Student, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Erika McMullin

Master of Health Evaluation: Inspiring change for an improved health care system

Erika McMullin realized that she wanted to make a difference in health systems on a larger scale while working as a Recreation Therapist. During the Master of Health Evaluation (MHE) program, she decided to complete her practicum with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Joining the Performance and Accountability Branch in the fall of 2017, Erika uses her research and data analysis skills to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders across this government agency. In the final stages of her practicum, she has had the opportunity to create surveys that contribute to the evaluations of Canadian health research funding programs and support decision-making on how to improve government initiatives. Going from working one-on-one with patients to working with a dedicated team within a Federal Funding agency was a huge career change for Erika. This welcome change continues to develop new perspectives and contexts for Erika's passion to improve healthcare.
 

In her previous role as Recreation Therapist, Erika was able to identify some of the challenges between public healthcare facilities and community health programs and the people they are serving. After discovering the MHE program, she knew that pursuing this degree would help her address intersectoral gaps in the health care system and go beyond direct patient care. Her favourite course in the program; Systems Thinking and Health Program Analysis, a blended course taught by Professor Craig Janes, encouraged her to start thinking about how health systems around the world can inspire new ideas for change closer to home. Erika loved the engaging conversations she had with peers and enjoyed the case studies that applied their learning to the real world.

Blended Courses

The School of Public Health and Heath Systems offers a unique way of learning; the flexibility of online courses are blended with in-class seminars for our professional programs, catering to students who may prefer the personal connections made in on-campus discussions.

 

“It was the best course I’ve ever taken in my entire university education; it has inspired me to consider international career options that I wouldn't have considered before”

Erika McMullin, MHE Student on PHS 654

Although Erika is only at the beginning of her new career path, she is looking forward to a career that can make positive and lasting changes for the Canadian population. Interacting with her professors has sparked a determination to conduct evaluation across sectors in order to truly make a difference in patients’ lives. The MHE program has taught her that combining creative interventions with stakeholder engagement is the perfect recipe for excellent evaluation, and Erika aspires to use her knowledge to build stronger connections between patient needs and health care delivery.

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo