This week’s Alumni Profile features, Dr. Norio Ohmagari, MSc, PhD, who graduated from the School in 2013 with a MSc in Infectious Diseases. Norio now works as the Director of Disease Control and Prevention at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine Hospital in Japan.
Why did you choose to study at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine?
I had served as Head of the Infectious Diseases Clinical Department and Hospital Infection Control Department in my previous workplace. Through that experience, I realized that I needed to learn about infectious diseases on a global scale and the also realized the importance of public health. Additionally, I chose to study at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine because I was unable to physically attend class and the School provides the opportunity to study via Distance Learning.
What challenges did you face while studying at the School and how did you overcome them?
The most difficult part of my study was squeezing the time in for studying. As a result, I would spend at least one hour early in the morning to learn the material of the course every day.
How has your degree from the School helped you in your career?
Currently, I have the opportunity to be involved as a Clinical Specialist in the national policy making process of infectious diseases. The experience of learning at LSHTM surely enriched my understanding of infectious disease from the public health side and has helped my decision making.
Were the relationships formed during your time at the School useful?
Of course the relationships I formed during my time were and are useful! There are many graduates of LSHTM in Japan and the network of these graduates is precious to my work. Also in my area of expertise, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and AMR measures regularly interact with many international experts. Among these experts, I have seen many graduates of LSHTM. The relationship as an alumnus of the same school truly has impacted my project.
I have been involved as an expert in clinical infections measures in Japan in the current workplace. The clinical experts of infectious diseases had not been heavily involved in this kind of political debate in Japan prior. However, since the global outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, us clinicians are now able to participate after a number of global issues in the field of infectious diseases allowed for us to be involved in the process of policy making. I feel this is a very valuable and useful experience that has improved the preparedness against infectious diseases in this country.
What would you like to go on to achieve?
I would like to strengthen the preparedness and responsiveness against infectious disease in Japan by minimizing the threat of infectious diseases and securing the society.
Any advice for current students?
To continue to contribute as a professional, we need to have a good grasp on the body of knowledge of our area of expertise as a major premise. Of course, acquisition of knowledge is important, but I believe it is necessary to firmly grasp the overall picture one’s specialty to understand it clearly. Having a fine understanding of the area of specialty allows for sound decision making in our field of expertise.
Photo credit: Dr. Norio Ohmagari, MSc, PhD