My course has fundamentally changed my view and informs my practice

Student spotlight | James Baker, MSc Public Health - Health Promotion


James Baker and a small child outside a house

I am 37, married with two young children, leaving in Eastbourne in the south-east. I have worked within the health and social care sector for around 10 years and have had various and often challenging roles in both mental and physical health. I really do enjoy studying and feel that in this ever-changing environment we all now live and work, keeping my knowledge and skills up to date is so important. Prior to lockdown and the pandemic I enjoyed eating out, visiting local cultural events and venues, and practising Brazilian ju-jitsu (a cross between judo and wrestling) and fingers crossed all these activities will now re-start!

Tell us a bit about yourself and what drew you to Public Health

I have always had a keen interest in all areas of health. Having originally worked within physical health I transitioned into the mental health sector where I have worked in both management and assessment and planning. My current role is as a senior project team lead with a medium-sized charity supporting carers in East Sussex, specifically developing a new programme to support carers of people suffering with mental health issues. The modules completed so far, including people, power and communities, health communication and policy, have had a significant effect on my practice and my application of theory, and have significantly altered for the better my way of viewing health and wellbeing.

The course has fundamentally changed my view and has introduced me to some key concepts that are informing my practice, such as that of true empowerment, social determinants of health, the importance of lay perspectives, asset-based community development and has challenged my ideas around concepts of social capital and poverty inequalities.

Why did you choose Leeds Beckett?

I was attracted to Leeds Beckett for a number of key reasons. I had been accepted on to other public health courses with both Hertfordshire and Derby universities, though it is the focus on health promotion that really attracts me, and having researched further I found that this course seemed far more interesting.

The online system as well has been rated very highly for Leeds Beckett and I feel if you are going to complete distance learning this system is vital. Fortunately, I have found the system seamless, and it has worked really well for me which has made studying a simpler and more effective process.

What has been your favourite thing about your time studying at Leeds Beckett?

Learning new, interesting and challenging ideas and concepts; meeting a highly diverse and knowledgeable peer group and learning from some wonderful and inspiring academics.

What advice would you give someone thinking about studying this course?

Don’t hesitate. If you are wanting to be challenged and possibly re-orientate your view from more traditional models of health, then I would highly recommend Leeds Beckett and the MSc in Public Health – Health Promotion. It has been a real challenge as, since starting the course, I have had a second child, started two new jobs and now am moving home! But the lecturers are all great and will help you every step and the course is so interesting and really is worth every penny. 

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