Eva Habib

Eva Habib
Eva describes starting her career during a pandemic as swimming in the deep end.

Starting a career in public health during a pandemic

Three years ago Eva Habib was grappling over possible career directions when she discovered UVic’s Master of Public Health (MPH) program. Fast-forward to April 2020. At the end of her practicum placement with Fraser Health Authority, Eva was promptly hired as a Project Coordinator for COVID-19 related projects. 

“The opportunity to work for a health authority during a pandemic is a crystal-clear sign that I made the right career choice,” says Eva.

Validating hard work and perseverance

When she started the MPH, the flexibility of online delivery was a major draw for Eva, who was working in research at BC Children’s Hospital. By the end of orientation Eva had plenty of other reasons to be excited about the program.

“After hearing about the school’s values, the program streams and the incredible professors, I remember distinctly feeling this was the path I was meant to be on,” says Eva.

During the last week of fall semester in 2019, Eva was awarded the James and Philippa Kerr Scholarship in Public Health for her strong grades. The financial support was a huge relief as she began a 12-week unpaid practicum placement. More than that, it was validation of all the hard work she’s put in.

It takes a lot of will power and perseverance to push through a semester while working full-time. When I found out about the scholarship I was feeling emotionally and physically drained. Getting recognition from my institution at that time meant a lot to me.” - Eva Habib

Positive take-aways from the program 

“There’s been so many positive take-aways from this program. Receiving this scholarship is one of many things I’m grateful for,” says Eva.

Before studying public health, Eva tended to think in a very black and white manner. “This program taught me life is much more grey,” she says. “I understand how social and economic factors influence people's health and the complexities of health policy.” She also learned a foundational value of public health is empowering people to improve their health and well-being. “That solidified my belief that focusing on prevention and promoting good physical and mental health is more important than medicine,” she says.

Swimming in the deep end

With one course remaining, Eva’s public health career started sooner than she expected. “It was like being thrown in at the deep end,” she says. “Luckily, I’m still swimming!”

Beyond the theoretical and practical course content, the MPH program helps students develop skills in effective communication and collaboration across teams. But nothing could have fully prepared Eva for the volume and urgency of the work she’s doing now, coordinating projects for the health authority’s Emergency Operations Center and Infection Prevention and Control related to COVID-19.

“In a typical day I’m updating and posting to the web new procedures on, for example, the use of personal protective equipment, or entering and exiting a health facility, while for the other team, I’m coordinating logistics for virtual town halls,” she says.

This wasn’t how I expected my final semester to turn out, but it’s hugely expanded my learning and I’m so grateful to be working here. I feel exhausted and invigorated at the same time.”
Read the story behind James and Philippa Kerr’s gift to support UVic students.