Student Highlight – In January of 2011, the UNMC College of Public Health signed agreements with the College of Public Health of National Taiwan University (NTU) to promote collaboration in education and academic research. The NTU College of Public Health is a top public health academic institution in Asia. Based on the agreement, the two colleges will exchange up to three graduate or professional students each year. This fall, the first three NTU students (introduced below) are visiting and studying at UNMC. Building on the student exchange program, we hope to further strengthen the faculty collaboration between the two colleges and expand our global health initiatives through NTU’s network in Asia.
Kuan-Han Lin is a second year PhD student in the Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene at National Taiwan University. Her research interests are psychiatric disorders after occupational injury, environmental and occupational epidemiology, and occupational stress. Kuan-Han was inspired to pursue a PhD degree after learning about international perspectives on occupational and environmental health issues in an International Environmental and Occupational Health course she took as a master’s degree student. As a graduate student, she has attended many international conferences to broaden her perspectives on occupational and environmental health. Kuan-Han believes an occupational and environmental health professional should be able to communicate and work effectively with both domestic and international colleagues in occupational and environmental health. Kuan-Han’s future career goals are to obtain a PhD degree and become a researcher in the field of occupational and environmental health.
Through the NTU student exchange program with UNMC, Kuan-Han plans to further explore the occupational and environmental issues she encountered during her graduate years and to enhance her English-language proficiency. Kuan-Han is taking a course, “Special Topics – Occupational Biomechanics,” with Dr. Joseph Siu in the Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health. She is also working on a research project with Dr. Dana Loomis (Department of Epidemiology) and Dr. Risto Rautiainen (Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health) focused on the data analysis of injuries in farming. She believes that a PhD student should have independent and innovative research capabilities and a global perspective on the field of occupational medicine and occupational hygiene and health. She intends to use this opportunity as an exchange student in the COPH at UNMC to achieve this vision.
Tsai-Shu Chu comes from Taipei City, Taiwan. Her undergraduate concentration was in public health. As a sophomore, she became interested in environmental health and after graduation, decided to pursue a master’s degree in environmental health. Tsai-Shu received the Shane S. Que Hee Fellowship in graduate school. Her master’s thesis was on trichlormine exposure at indoor swimming pools. The study was accepted for poster presentation at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Expo in May 2011 and was awarded Best Professional Poster in the sampling and laboratory analysis field.
Tsai-Shu is interested in how the environment affects human health and how humans can live healthier lives through a better environment. When she was doing field sampling in Taipei City, she learned the importance of expressing professional knowledge in lay people’s terms so they understand that environmental health is crucial.
As an exchange student, Tsai-Shu is in the Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health, and her advisor is Dr. Chandran Achutan. During the six-month exchange program, she wants to experience the difference between academic life in the US and Taiwan and to enhance her language skills. While studying at UNMC, she will do research on the potential hazards of exposure to wind turbine noise. Tsai-Chu believes that “no man is an island” and that the worldwide environment is interconnected. “It is important to broaden our perception of the world and how people think.” Helping people achieve a better life through her work as an environmental health professional is Tsai-Shu’s career goal.
Tzu-Hui Wu, also known as “Cynthia,” is from Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She is a master’s degree student majoring in health policy and management at National Taiwan University (NTU). Tzu-Hui wanted to study abroad, and the NTU/UNMC student exchange program was an ideal opportunity. As an undergraduate, she majored in adult and continuing education, pursuing an interest in gerontology education and interaction with elders. After noticing the change in population structure, she decided to undertake further study of the health system and aging issues, and entered the field of public health. Tzu-Hui hopes that one day elders will live in a better world.
During her time at NTU, she took courses such as Principles of Health Care Organization and Management, Health Care System, Geriatrics and Long-Term Care, and Organizational Research Methods and Applications in Health Care. As an exchange student at UNMC, she wanted to expand her knowledge base, so she chose to join a health behavior class. She would like to apply theoretical foundations and theories of health behavior in her career in the future. Dr. Li-Wu Chen (Department of Health Services Research and Administration), Dr. Terry Huang (Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health), and Dr. Jungyoon Kim (Department of Health Services Research and Administration) are her advisors during the exchange period. Dr. Kim is assisting Tzu-Hui with her research regarding how the experience of home health aides in the United States might inform the experience the experience of home health aides in Taiwan.
Though Tzu-Hui is still getting used to learning in a foreign language environment, and is working hard to complete her reading assignments, she is enjoying her study at UNMC and hopes she will succeed in both academia and life!