In this episode, Sujani sits down with Dr. Firdosi Mehta, an adjunct professor at York University. They discuss his previous work at the WHO, the eradication of smallpox and polio, and his current work with mentoring and educating students and young professionals along their public health journeys.
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- What motivated Dr. Mehta to pursue public health after his time in medical school
- Dr. Mehta’s memories of the WHO’s work in eradicating smallpox and his own work towards eradicating polio
- How kindness, compassion, and empathy is at the root of public health
- Networking and reputation building tips for job seeking
- Dr. Mehta’s mentoring experience and advice for students and young professionals
Dr Mehta has over 30 years of Public Health experience, more than half of which were with the WHO. He has worked in several countries and regions of the world. Dr Mehta completed his medical education in India after which he served in the Indian Navy Defense Services. He then served in the Ministry of Health, Sultanate of Oman in various capacities for 10 years, the last being Director of Surveillance and Disease Control. Dr Mehta then joined the World Health Organization and worked in Somalia from 1998 – 2002, where he was responsible for supporting the control of TB and all other communicable diseases in a complex emergency situation. He moved from Somalia to Indonesia in 2002 in the capacity of Country Advisor Tuberculosis Control program (Mega High burden country) for seven years. Dr Mehta subsequently moved to Sri Lanka in 2009 as the WHO country Representative until 2014. His experience in emergency and humanitarian action, communicable disease control, health system issues, mental health and a keen focus on addressing non communicable diseases in Sri Lanka have been well recognized and acknowledged. He is an Adjunct Professor at York University and University of Toronto in Canada, as well as a senior Mentor on several mentoring platforms. In recognition of his contributions to the Global Health Program at York, a Global Health student prize has been named after him in 2022. He is a member on the Governance and Advisory committee on Human Trafficking at the Peel Institute on Violence prevention, Family services Peel Toronto. Also a member on a Lived experience Advisory committee on research at the Centers for Addictions and Mental health (CAMH) Toronto. Member on the Steering Committee on Research for Mental Health Equity in the Asia Pacific – Digital (REMAP-D) based at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Advisor on “The Young Innovation Leaders Fellowship” Nigeria, which is a platform created by Hutzpah Centre for Innovation and Development – a social enterprise aimed at promoting innovation across sectors in Africa