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Kethural Manokaran

Kethural Manokaran MPH/MPA '23

Kethural Manokaran MPH/MPA '23 shares her experience at Watson and what she envisions for her future.

Name: Kethural Manokaran MPH/MPA’23

Undergraduate studies: Wellesley College

Concentration: Neuroscience and South Asia Studies

How did your work with CHRHS influence your professional goals? 

My work with CHRHS has affirmed my desire to pursue policy-oriented global health work. CHRHS aims to pursue research with practical implications for the field; similarly, I hope to be part of projects that are interdisciplinary, engage multiple stakeholders, and offer implications and useful takeaways for practitioners. CHRHS’s Pandemic Response research program introduced me to qualitative research, and I hope to pursue mixed methods research that combines both quantitative and qualitative methods to answer questions about health and human rights. 

Why did you want to pursue an MPA/MPH? 

I pursued the dual degree because I wanted to study health policy and have a strong academic foundation in public health, as well as in policy analysis and economics. The MPH/MPA program has allowed me to complete coursework in these disciplines and to pursue elective coursework and internships/practical experiences in my field of interest: health systems strengthening in South Asia. 

The opportunity to take courses at and connect with faculty and researchers at Watson, the School of Public Health, and across the University also drew me to the program. I studied neuroscience in college and was excited to learn from and work with my colleagues in both public affairs and public health. Now that I am in my second year, I am grateful for opportunities to pursue health systems and health policy-oriented research at CHRHS, and to take courses in mixed methods research and global health systems through the Interdisciplinary concentration within the MPH.

What do you plan to do after you complete the program?

I would like to be part of academic-NGO partnerships that involve the development, implementation, and evaluation of health systems strengthening interventions. I also hope to work in the public sector and apply both my research and policy analysis skills to global health initiatives. 

My research at CHRHS and my MPH thesis have reaffirmed my excitement for mixed methods health systems research, and I hope to pursue further research training in global health systems strengthening. 

What is the subject of your MPH thesis?

My MPH thesis is a mixed method study of CHRHS’s virtual COVID-19 Vaccine Training of Trainers (TOT) that was developed in partnership with Project HOPE, an international global health and humanitarian NGO. The virtual COVID-19 Vaccine TOT aimed to educate clinicians and public health and policy leaders on the various COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccine access and the logistics of vaccine delivery; it also addressed vaccine hesitancy and public communication about vaccines. 

My thesis aims to determine whether there was a knowledge gain upon participants’ completion of this COVID-19 Vaccine TOT course, and to assess whether the COVID-19 Vaccine TOT may be a model for medical education and training in emergency and resource-limited settings. 

Healthcare worker training and healthcare workforce development are two of my interests within global health systems, and I am excited to study and learn more about the TOT model through my thesis.