How pursuing a PhD can help you develop both as a person and researcher

Completing his PhD not only helped him develop as a researcher, it helped him grow a lot as a person.

Dr. Shaikh Shahed Hossain started his PhD at KNCV, the Tuberculosis Foundation, in 2008. His area of research was the tuberculosis epidemiology in Bangladesh, and his thesis was titled Tuberculosis burden in Bangladesh: epidemiological estimates and people’s perspectives.

“The PhD gave me confidence, which I very much needed. I also gained the knowledge and skills to do research and it helped me build courage and self-reliance. I now feel that I can pursue new challenges and discover new areas of work.” said Dr. Hossain.

He came to AIGHD as a PhD student of Associate Prof. Frank van Leth. Both had previously worked at KNCV. Associate Prof. van Leth describes why the work on surveilling tuberculosis was so important:

“The World Health Organization needed estimates on tuberculosis rates to determine whether Bangladesh had achieved the UN Development Goals. We finished the survey in 2009, and thereafter we started the analysis,” said Associate Prof. van Leth.

According to Dr. Hossain, he really liked working at AIGHD.

“The work was challenging because we had to complete all the scientific work and publish papers within a certain timeframe. It was a steep learning process but I really enjoyed the interesting work environment and the continuous support and encouragement by my supervisors,” said Dr. Hossain.

During this period, he published over ten papers in peer-reviewed journals and attended several global health conferences where he presented his results. He also attended courses during his PhD such as Missing Data Management and Advanced Statistical Analysis.

After completing his PhD, he took on a role as a researcher scientist at International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, where he engaged in health systems and systems related implementation research focusing to TB and other priority conditions. At the same time, he started teaching at the BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health. He credits his personal and professional development to his supervisors at AIGHD and KNCV.

“All the avenues that opened during my PhD gave me an opportunity to network with public health policymakers, implementing organizations, and patients in many different countries. I continue to publish papers, supervise Master’s students as they complete their thesis and lecture at prestigious universities. Completing this PhD gave me a real sense of accomplishment in life.”