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Proochista Ariana was nominated by her colleagues for the Major Educator Award in light of her outstanding contribution to the development of education at both divisional and University level.

Leading “a programme which will change the landscape of Global Health in low and middle income countries in years to come” (an IHTM graduate)

As Director of the Masters in International Health and Tropical Medicine (IHTM) since its inception in 2015, Proochista has been integral in leading the development of a course that has built a strong reputation across the University and become internationally recognised as one of the best in the world. The course aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of major health problems and their potential solutions, and it stands out for deliberately targeting student from countries where resources are limited.

Speaking just before Christmas, Proochista mentions that the usual vacation celebration where she invites her students round for an ‘Oxford family’ dinner might have to involve virtual crackers. Much of the IHTM is group based, as co-learning and communication are vital skills to enable students to lead their peers in their future careers, and this means that the cohort becomes very tight knit.

What has changed for you since winning your Teaching Excellence Award ( TEA)?

Proochista is modest about her many teaching awards, prior to the TEA in 2019, she’s received numerous teaching awards including OUSU Special Recognition Award, Outstanding Supervisor Award and Most Acclaimed Lecturer Award three times. She does say that the award has helped in approaching funding bodies: around 80% of the diverse IHTM intake is supported by scholarships, and Proochista seeks out opportunities which will enhance the reach of the already incomparably multinational cohort. Alongside her teaching and her own research, she has secured more than £800,000 in scholarship funds.

Once an IHTM student, always an IHTM student

Since the inception of the course six years ago, Proochista has nurtured a strong alumni community and IHTM now boasts a network of 127 former students across 51 countries, with alumni having gone on to assume leadership roles in global health across the world in governments, non-governmental organisations and academic institutions.

Proochista also continues to collaborate with her students after they’ve left Oxford. Further to scholarship funding, she has secured more than £100,000 to support initiatives started by course alumni. One such initiative, the ‘People Oriented Development’ group, has seen IHTM graduates gathering in Ghana to develop and deliver a research skills training programme to paediatric trainees.

Don’t just take my word for it…

Student feedback is a critical part of the TEA and a key part of the evidence which is looked at. As you might expect, student views from the course were extremely glowing when Proochista was nominated:

“She has truly shown how much she cares about us as individuals and about the great futures she inspired us to seek. It's because of leaders like her that this course is truly unique.”

“She has been exceptionally motivating her students to pursue their dreams and always appreciate any efforts and achievements gained by her students.”

“I am at a loss for words to describe the level of genuine interest, dedication, and love that Proochista commits to our training, development and in ensuring that we graduate with the required skills to be global health leaders.”