Shumirai Mushangwe

PowerLab PhD Candidate

Shumi reflects on presenting at PowerFul Ideas Symposium 2019

What research have you been doing since joining PowerLab?

I have been researching the relationships between ethnic differences in greenspace exposure and ethnic differences in mental health.

What was it like presenting at POWERFULIdeas Symposium?

Having an opportunity to present my research to high profile guests such as Prof Richard Fuller, Glen Maberly, Professor Leonard Arnolda, my supervisors, and supervisors of my PowerLab colleagues was an honor. It was accompanied with mixed feelings; am I good enough to speak to such an audience or will I do it right, is my presentation of their quality? It was an exciting opportunity to discuss the preliminary findings of my research and it went very well. After the presentations, I had an opportunity to get to know the professors over lunch by the ocean.

What benefits and experience did you gain from that day’s presentation?

It was an opportunity to receive highly constructive reviews about my research.

What was your presentation about?

My research involves green space and mental health of ethnic groups. So to begin the project, we investigate the extent of green space availability to ethnic groups. My presentation at the POWERFULIdeas Symposium was about my investigation on the relationship between ethnicity and green space availability. Some ethnic groups have lower green spaces than others.

What motivated you to get involved with researching the relationships between ethnic differences in greenspace exposure and ethnic differences in mental health?

As a person who has lived away from my home country for quite a while, I have been faced with loneliness, separation from family and friends, struggling to make new friends, and sometimes people just stare at you for no reason. Sometimes its challenging to adjust to new cultures and new environments. So this affected my mental health at one point which then inspired me to want to investigate the mental health of ethnic minorities as compared to the ethnic majority and their environment. There is widespread evidence that spending time in green space has a positive effect on people's mental and physical health. I decided to apply my knowledge in biostatistics and epidemiology into green space and mental health.

Would you have any tips for other students interested in Public Health?

Public health is wide and can be approached by use of qualitative and quantitative methods so go for it, all skills are useful in public health.