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Esteban Ortiz-Prado

MD, MSc, MPH, 2019

Esteban Ortiz-Prado, University of Southampton alumnus

What made you select the University of Southampton?

I chose the University of Southampton because at one of the UK’s university fairs in my country, Ecuador, I met a doctor from the medical school at Soton, who gave me all the necessary information, gave me the confidence of the educational system offered by the University of Southampton and gave me all the necessary support he and the team needed to fulfill my goal of going to study public health at the university.

Even, having won admissions to other universities in other cities in England, I decided to go to study at Southampton because of the prestigious global health program that has been extremely useful for the management of the pandemic.

What was it like studying here?

Studying at the University of Southampton for me was a life changing experience.

First of all living in one of the sunniest cities in the UK is definitely nice, being a tropical climate I was a bit afraid of the cold, the rain and the strong storm, however when I arrived in Southampton I realized that the weather was very good, the university campus, the benefits, the administrative support, the support I received in relation to my medical services and even the support I received for my children's day care was fundamental.

In relation to the course, I was very fortunate to have received global health classes from world-renowned professors that today in the context of the pandemic has made a difference.

We had some absolutely fascinating and useful classes such as biostatistics, health economics and we were fortunate to visit a series of lectures that were very useful for my training.

Finally, the student atmosphere, the university fairs outside the campus, the restaurant and the multiple places to eat inside the university made our stay extremely pleasant, very beautiful landscapes, nature everywhere, birds of little animals all over the campus make the atmosphere splendid to be able to study properly.

What were your Southampton ‘highlights’?

Things you may like to consider in your answer: sports, student societies, course fieldtrips, placements, inspiring projects, awards, etc. Definitely the best thing about the city for me is the safety of walking everywhere without having to worry about crime or any kind of problem.

The ocean view in almost all the city makes the experience very pleasant as well as a great variety of multicultural restaurants and a vibrant community full of joy with outdoor activities so our stay in the city is extremely positive.

On the other hand, we have had the opportunity to acquire international resources funded by the UK and bring them back to my home country, i.e. there is a network of research, academic and financial support that allows us students who have to return to our home countries to return not only with these university degrees but also with a number of projects in mind including the possibility of acquiring funding.

What did you enjoy most about your course?

The courses were fabulous, the if the voice of the career is spectacular has all the global vision with an emphasis on the applicability of everything known.

All of us who graduated from that program learned first hand how to perform epidemiological analysis, critical reading of literature, data analysis, use of statistics and above all we learned first hand the development of programs focused on changing the health of our populations, definitely a course worth taking, all our professors are spectacular with a lot of knowledge and very dedicated to their students, I miss those days in the classroom very much.

Did any exposure to employer opportunities (such as work experience, company presentations, career mentoring) or research led learning during your course help you achieve your ambition? If so, how?

Definitely being a student at the University of Southampton opened many doors for me in my home country. We have also had the ability to apply everything we have learned in two research projects that have already been materialized with international funds acquired by our allies in England and at the university, two professors from different areas have opened the doors for us to bring economic resources from Ecuador and implement research on topics that previously we could not have done without the support of the United Kingdom.

How has your degree helped develop your career?

Totally, after having returned to my country of origin once I finished my studies in Southampton, I have managed to boost my career to levels never thought possible.

Today, in Ecuador I am one of the most recognized doctors in terms of pandemic management, and I have been an advisor to the government on health issues, I currently have two science outreach programs on national television and radio, we have developed more than 50 scientific papers with my research group at the University and we have become opinion leaders on issues of COVID-19 and public health, all thanks to what I learned at the University of Southampton, definitely studying there boosted my career exponentially.

What interesting projects have you been involved in that you would like to tell us about since graduating?

In relation to projects we have done a lot since our return to Ecuador.

We have had international funds financed by the University of Southampton and the NIHR of England for the management of traffic accidents in developing countries.

We have worked with the criminalistics department of the University of Southampton in the study of the causes related to homicides and femicides of women, we have worked directly with indigenous communities in Ecuador and the Amazon to understand and study the impacts of COVID-19 in their territories, at the same time we have planned to develop different methods to establish solutions to access to drinking water in geographically remote vulnerable groups and finally, we have worked on analyzing the impacts of public health and acute exposure to high altitudes as evidenced in Ecuador.

What have been the highlights of your career to date?

I have had many highlights of my career, however the most important is to have achieved the distinction of being the most recognized scientific divulgator of Ecuador, to be the second most published researcher of my university in the career of medicine, to have obtained recognition by the national authorities as scientific advisor and medical advisor for the pandemic of COVID-19 in Ecuador, and currently will be a sort of celebrity in terms of scientific dissemination, all thanks to my studies at the University of Southampton.

What tips would you give to current students looking to start a career in your sector? What could they be doing now to make themselves more employable when they graduate?

I think there is no specific advice I can give you, except to focus on what you want to achieve, set clear goals and measurable objectives and put all your trust in a university like the University of Southampton that will allow you to develop your experiences, skills and virtues so that all your objectives are fulfilled.

Do you have any future ambitions?

Definitely yes, I want to be Minister of Health in Ecuador to be able to promote a good public policy focused on improving the quality of life of people living in my country, reduce the causes of preventable death and improve the status of life as well as the quality of life of all people through the design of plans, programs and public health projects in conjunction with strategic partners such as the University of Southampton and all its members who are always open to support us.


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