Alum Sujata Saunik, answered questions pertaining to her participation in the course, Strengthening Human Resources for Health. Sujata is an Indian Administrative Service officer, at the rank of Principal Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra. She recently concluded a year of study as a Mittal Institute Research Affiliate at Harvard University’s South Asia Institute. Just prior to this affiliation, Sujata was a 2018 Takemi Fellow in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
I signed up for this course as HR shortages in India are endemic and something I had handled as Public Health Secretary in the state of Maharashtra, India. I found the course content and case studies very useful to retrospectively get insights on what I could have done differently and can do better in the future. The course made me reflective and helped me to understand the various forces at work in HR management. At many levels, it gave me a deeper understanding of the tool I can employ for effectively dealing with the issues at hand. It also clarified many of my doubts and made me more confident of strategies to be employed in future.
What aspect(s) of the course was most applicable to setting your goal and why?
The case studies help to assimilate the course content in relation to specific problems and they help to apply the learning in situations that mimic real life scenarios, hence the the takeaways are huge.
What course lecture / lecturer influenced you the most?
Both Dr Bossert and Prof Diana Bowser helped to provide the overall landscape of the course content and they helped me to understand how to apply the matrix to my work. In addition the various guest speakers helped provide different perspectives and deepen the understanding.
What part of the program did you enjoy the most?
Group interactions because you learn as much from your colleagues and their experiences from the countries they represent as you do from the course content. There is a richness of real life experience in the group and exchanging your past work within the cohort was both informative and useful.
How has the course on Strengthening Human Resources for Health benefited you in your current position/job (please provide examples)?
As I am still working on my research work in the University, my quest for higher learning continues. However I have had a chance to work on case studies and document my previous work within the context of my course content. I have had a chance to examine afresh the veracity of what I learnt and apply to my country context. I feel confident and sure that the different strategies I have been exposed to can help me improve the manner in which I propose policy or deal with the various stakeholders when I return. I shall be happy to update this information with specific examples after I return to active duty.