Dr Tashi Dendup
PowerLab PhD candidate 2017 - 2020
What research did you do while you were in PowerLab?
My PhD was on understanding how the residential built environment influences the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by analyzing a large Australian dataset. It not only focused on examining the association between the different features of the residential built environment and diabetes but also explored the mechanisms or the pathways via which the residential environment is linked with diabetes. The title of my thesis was “The influence of the residential built environment on type 2 diabetes mellitus risk and prevention”.
What was your involvement with PowerLab?
I was recruited as a PhD candidate in the PowerLab. I studied at the PowerLab from February 2017 until August 2020, and I graduated in December 2020. As a doctoral student, I was conducting high-quality research under the direct guidance of my supervisors, who are highly learned and internationally recognized in the field of environmental data science and epidemiology.
What were your experiences like while you were in PowerLab?
My PhD has been one of the most rewarding, uplifting, and developmental experiences of my life. Managing my PhD project helped further improve my planning, time management and goal-setting skills. Besides, the opportunity to participate in conferences, monthly journal clubs, seminars, and training not only enhanced my knowledge and research skills but also boosted my management and communication skills, which in turn helped me grow professionally. I took part in the 3 Minute Thesis competition that required me to summarize and communicate my research to a general audience without any background in my research area in three minutes. I also participated in and won the Global Challenges Travel Scholarship for which I had to develop a short video demonstrating the importance of and how my research is linked with the challenge theme.
What have you been doing since leaving PowerLab?
Since I left PowerLab, I have been working as an independent public health consultant in Bhutan. As a consultant, I got the opportunity to re-engage and work with the Ministry of Health of Bhutan, the World Health Organization Bhutan Country Office, the Family Health International 360, and the Save the Children Bhutan Country Office. Some of the assignments that I undertook included, reviewing health information systems for some national health programs, assessing the delivery of essential health services during COVID-19 in Bhutan, and leading the implementation of a project on critical care and ventilator use. I also helped identify the needs and priorities of key populations during the COVID 19, and assisted in the preparation of the Ministry of Health’s proposal for the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism funding. I recently got a job offer as a Senior Health Program Manager from Save the Children Bhutan Office.
How did your experience at PowerLab help prepare for the next steps in your career?
The experiences and skills gained through managing my research project during my PhD tenure at the PoweLab have been very instrumental in shaping me to be a technically competent and confident person. The transferable skills acquired over my PhD program such as communication including public speaking, time management, critical thinking and analysis, and problem-solving abilities are not only essential in the research domain but also equally crucial in everyday life and across all professions. Similarly, the writing and data analysis skills that I was able to strengthen over the course of my PhD also helped me better prepare as a public health professional.
Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers?
I am really glad to have been associated with PowerLab, which was founded by my supervisors. I would like to thank my supervisors for their generous and wonderful guidance and I feel privileged for getting to be trained by them. I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Thomas and Associate Professor Xiaoqi for giving me the opportunity to study for a PhD at the University of Wollongong in the first place.