Dr Sharuna Verghis
PhD (Public Health), graduated 2013
1.The Australian Government’s Endeavour Executive Fellowship, 2014.
2.Monash University Higher Degree by Research scholarship for PhD in Public Health, 2008-2011
3.University of Hyderabad’s M.Phil. Fellowship
(One year monetary fellowship for the first three ranking students in the entrance examination to the M.Phil course, 1987)
I enrolled for the PhD (Public Health) program at JCSMHS, Monash University Malaysia, about twenty years after doing my M.Phil. In the interim, I had worked extensively at national and international levels on the issue of migration and health. My two reasons for doing a PhD were to put a theoretical lens on my past work and to hone my research skills so that my grass roots work of developing community based health interventions and advocating on health issues would be more systematic, and theory and research driven.
I intended to use an interdisciplinary approach in my PhD research project. My choice of university aligned with this objective because I anticipated that I would benefit from the global perspectives, resources, and expertise that an international university such as Monash could offer.
The time I spent at Monash was without a doubt extremely fruitful. The access to resources via Monash University’s library is every scholar’s dream. Being located at the Global Public Health (GPH) of JCSMHS allowed me to also tap into additional international expertise and exchanges with scholars from different countries. Monash University itself offers a well-rounded education program, even at the doctoral level, including skills and knowledge building corresponding to the professional needs of doctoral students. The university is dedicated to the needs of its students; this being reflected among others in the prompt and responsive service from staff at the library and the research office of JCSMHS.
My PhD will always be associated with pleasant memories of collegiality among the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates at GPH, and with friends in other faculties. We formed bonds of friendship that grew beyond our time at Monash as we supported each other and learned from each other.
Today, I continue to work on a range of health issues in diverse arenas both locally and internationally. The sharpening of research skills and the leap in knowledge that Monash University facilitated, is reflected in the research I undertake for inter-governmental and international agencies, and in my participation in advisory and working groups, both locally and internationally. The non-profit community based organization I co-founded in Kuala Lumpur working on mental health with refugees and asylum seekers is founded on principles of participation and empowerment of disadvantaged communities, and the democratization of science. Finally, since recently joining the team of educators at JCSMHS, Monash University, Malaysia, I am gratified to participate in the formation of our MBBS students through student-centered approaches which foster and promote critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills, and the formation of the individual.