Career advancement & family life: perspectives from a global health research manager, with Lathika Laguwaran

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Show Notes

Family life and career advancement is a topic that deserves more than just one episode so we are committing to bringing you different perspectives on this podcast. We are big believers here at PH SPOT of learning from those who have done something before us, and using their lessons and experiences to craft our own path based on our unique situations. We want to share the stories of public health professionals at various phases of their lives and careers to get a glimpse into their way of life and thinking. With the launch of the Career Advancement and Family Life series, we hope more of you will reach out to share your perspectives with the public health community.

In this week’s episode, Sujani sits down to speak with a good friend of hers, Lathika Laguwaran. Lathika is someone who Sujani has loved learning from since she met her back in 2012. Both Sujani and Lathika completed their Masters together at the University of Saskatchewan. After graduating from her MPH, Lathika took a role up with the Global Strategy Lab, not really thinking about whether she would stay in that role for too long.

Today, she has grown within the Global Strategy Lab and is the research manager, managing the operations of the lab and leading research projects pertaining to health news misinformation and international law. During this 6-7 year journey, Lathika also got married and became a mother; and that’s the journey we talk about in this episode.

You’ll Learn

  • About Lathika’s career progression within the Global Strategy Lab (GSL): from research assistant, to research coordinator, to research manager
  • How it is working on Stephen Hoffman’s team
  • Why Lathika chose to join the GSL despite a very low starting salary
  • How location played a role in her career journey (and how her commute has changed over the years)
  • The importance of building trust and a strong relationship within your organization for family life
  • What a day looks like at the GSL for Lathika
  • Things Lathika had to consider when her baby was born (i.e. childcare, family support)
  • The importance of being happy in your role for family life
  • How to have discussions about your role and change in family life with your manager
  • Transitioning back to work after parental leave: how things changed around her, what she had to change, how communication became a key factor during the transition period
  • How she manages extra curricular activities with family life and a career

Today’s Guest

Lathika Laguwaran

Lathika Laguwaran is a Research Manager at the Global Strategy Lab. She has a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. At GSL, Lathika manages the day to day operations of the lab while taking the lead on research projects pertaining to health news misinformation and international law. Her passion for public health has led her to be actively involved in the Tamil Health Association (a not for profit organization that serves the Tamil community in Toronto) as the Director of Community Health Research and a Board of Director for the Human Rights Internet (a not for profit organization that focuses on human rights information and resources relevant to Canada). Lathika was previously the Assistant Director of the Global Health Law Clinic.


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About the Show

PH SPOTlight: Public health career stories, inspiration, and guidance from current-day public health heroes

On the show, Sujani sits down with public health heroes of our time to share career stories, inspiration, and guidance for building public health careers. From time to time, she also has conversations with friends of public health – individuals who are not public health professionals, but their advice and guidance are equally important.

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