Intro: Dr Sten H. Vermund, Dean, Yale School of Public Health shares his perspectives on possible health risks in Indian Youth.
Dr Sten H. Vermund is a paediatrician and infectious disease epidemiologist focused on diseases of low and middle-income countries. His work on HIV-HPV interactions motivated a change in the 1993 CDC AIDS case surveillance definition and inspired cervical cancer screening programs launched within HIV/AIDS programs around the world. The thrust of his research is focused on health care access, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, and prevention of HIV transmission among general and key populations, including mother-to-child. He completed his Bachelors from Stanford University post which he went on to London for his MSc. He further went on to complete his MPhil and PhD from Columbia University before getting an honorary Master of Arts Degree from Yale University in 2018.
- What are the possible health risks for Indian youth? How can one consciously mitigate them?
- Among the greatest threats to the health of youth in India are air pollution and asthma, motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents, and mental health challenges. Much could be done to reduce air pollution in terms of energy and transportation policies. Good mental health is aided by strong family and friendship ties, an active lifestyle, and professional help when needed.
- What kind of relationship do you find between Higher Education and Health? Can higher education create opportunities for better health?
- Strong sports and physical activity programs, music and art, and extracurricular clubs that keep youth active and happy can be enormously beneficial.
- Youth and teachers alike can benefit from sensitivity training to accept and support persons with disabilities, of different castes and backgrounds, LGBTQ youth, and others.
- What do you feel about Medical Education in India?
- I am not an expert in Indian medical education, but I believe that there is more variation in educational quality within medical schools in India than there is among schools in North America or Europe.
- Ensuring top-quality education in all medical schools is critical. Innovation would be helpful with better integrated basic and clinical sciences would be desirable.
- What are the few essential qualities needed to succeed in Medical Education?
- Drive and intelligence are helpful, but the most important element is desire. A happy and successful student is the one who passionately wants to be a doctor. If a student would rather be in a different profession but was moved to go to medical school by outside pressures, then motivation may be lacking.
- What is your message for youth?
- Talk with your parents or other trusted family members or friends if you are in need. Do not isolate yourself in the world of electronics and social media. Engage others!
- What are some of the best approaches to teaching-and-learning in a medical classroom?
- New learning tools have emerged online and in simulation laboratories that make it much easier to grasp concepts and practice on dummies before a real patient encounter.
- How can a medical school implement a Flipped Classroom Model?
- Modern students are far more comfortable with online learning. Many lectures can be placed online and students can access them when they like. Then vital class time can be used for discussion, clinical labs, and simulation labs.
Other Interesting questions
1 Were you a good student at school?
- What were your best/worst subjects in school? I was pretty even across the board. My favourite subject was Biology.
- 3. How did you discover your passion for Medicine? It seemed to be a profession that would be good for an extroverted personality that got pleasure from helping people.
- What do you like doing in your spare time? I love to get exercise by running, hiking, and sports. It is also a pleasure to take advantage of the arts: drama, art museums, and music events.
- What’s the most interesting book you’ve read this year? From Day to Day: One Man’s Diary of Survival in Nazi Concentration Camps by Odd Nansen, edited by Timothy Boyce. My own grandfather was interred in the same concentration camp that Odd Nansen was imprisoned.
6. Is there anything else you wish to share about? The key in one’s professional life is to match your passions and interests with a professional that will be gratifying. We spend too much time working not to enjoy it!
Dr Sten H.