Karen Zamboni

Project: Process analysis of the Safe Care, Saving Lives initiative to improve neonatal health in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, India

What were you doing before you joined the MRC DTP scheme?

I was working as Health Advisor for Irish Aid in Tanzania.

Why did you choose your primary institution (LSHTM or SGUL)?

I chose LSHTM for its excellent reputation and the opportunity to be part of a globally influential research community.

What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with?

I mostly enjoy the opportunity to learn from others and the flexibility and warmth of people I work with.

What do you value most about the MRC DTP studentship?

The fact that it allows me to pursue my PhD aspirations and receive the best available training, and enabled me to afford childcare costs while doing so. I also highly valued the placement opportunity – it opened the door to future collaborations which I hope to pursue through my post-doc.

What additional training have you attended with MRC DTP money?

Training in Statistical methods, evaluation of complex health systems and design of cluster randomised controlled trials. I also attended and presented at several national and international conferences.

Where did you go on your placement? What did you do?

I worked at WHO in Geneva in the Department for Reproductive Health Research on the development of a study for the evaluation of the effectiveness and scalability of multi-country and multi-component intervention for the reduction of unnecessary c-section rates in four low and middle-income countries. The team involved WHO and the University of Paris, whom I liaised with remotely. I led the development of a theory of change for the intervention, using available quantitative and qualitative evidence, and develop a framework and methodology to assess the scalability of the intervention. This led to a joint publication in Health Policy and Planning.

Do you have any tips for future MRC DTP scholarship applicants?

Make the most of it by being clear about how this studentship opportunity fits into your future career plans.

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