Featured Student

Oleksandr Udovyk

What’s your program and specialty/subject matter of focus?    

My specialty is in Occupational and Environmental Health. This program focuses on workplace hazard assessment and injury prevention, allowing for improved workplace health and productivity.

Why are you studying public health/health policy?

Serious workplace-related injury or occupational disease that requires a prolonged leave of absence from work is absolutely devastating for the worker and their loved ones. It also places a large toll on both the local healthcare providers and the employers accommodating injured employees. By addressing and reducing the factors contributing to occupational injuries and diseases, it is possible to prevent a number of very serious problems before they start. By studying Occupational and Environmental Health, I believe that I can do my part to improve workers’ quality of life.

Why did you choose to study at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto?

I have a history of occupational injury in my family, which made me wonder if these things could be prevented before they happen. When I found out about MPH in Occupational and Environmental Health, I decided that it would be a great cause to pursue, given my past experiences.

What are some current projects or research that you’re involved in?

My summer placement was at the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) where I worked on a number of projects, including: sampling for airborne contaminants (mould, asbestos, isocyanates, metal dust etc.), assessment of noise and heat stress exposure, and office ergonomics assessments. I also trained TTC workers in proper respiratory protection use.

What would you say to a prospective student who is considering the School?

Do not be intimidated by the horror stories about how selective and difficult the admissions process is and try your best. When I was applying, I heard a number of people saying how it was extremely difficult to get into the MPH program at Dalla Lana School of Public Health. I did not feel discouraged, and did my best during the admissions process, and was successful.

What’s the one thing people can do to improve public health or health care locally and/or globally?

From the perspective of workplace health, it has to be knowledge of an individual’s rights as a worker. They are: right to know about the nature of the assigned work, right to participate in the workplace decisions and right to refuse unsafe work. It is a small change that everyone can do at their workplace, which can have a large impact on both the individual’s and population’s health many years later.