Sharing the value of an MS degree in Bangladesh

By Courtney Lombardo

Pushpita Samina, MS’15, is the clinical services lead (Foreign Service National) in the Office of Health, Population, Nutrition and Education for USAID Bangladesh, where she is responsible for providing technical support on improving the quality of health care services in Bangladesh. She represents USAID Bangladesh in the government technical forum of quality improvement of health services and monitors the implementation of quality related activities of USAID funded projects. In her current role, her knowledge of health systems strengthening, health economics and financing is critical to providing technical support related to universal healthcare in Bangladesh.

After graduating, Samina was an intern for mHealth at Mercy Corps in Tajikistan, where she designed logical frameworks and strategies. She then became a consultant with Abt Associates in Bangladesh with a focus in health finance governance. Before USAID, and most recently, she received a prestigious fellowship with the World Health Organization (WHO) representing Bangladesh, at which she was trained on monitoring and evaluating the progress of eliminating neglected tropical diseases in the region.

Samina feels that the Heller MS program prepared her well for her current position. “The comprehensive coursework in the MS program introduced me to different aspects of health systems strengthening, from the basics of health economics to global health systems and so on. The course content was so rich that even now I refer back to the reading materials to produce technical documents or to design a project. The career development counselors, professors and alumni helped me to network with professionals and to explore different career opportunities. The international diversity in the classroom also helped me to learn new things from the different parts of world that I apply in my work today. It also prepared me to work in a diverse team environment.”

The brand and quality of a Brandeis University and Heller School for Social Policy and Management education is known worldwide, Samina adds. “When I was hired, my office director made a comment to me that, ‘I know Brandeis folks can do anything and everything so I have confidence in you.’ I think it is true in many ways. My short stay at Brandeis, and especially at Heller, has developed my technical capacity to make a deep dive in any health systems problem and to find a solution for it.”

She fondly remembers her BOLLI family and receiving support from the Heller School and the Heller Annual Fund to purchase books and to attend a conference. Her Heller education was the impetus for propelling her career forward and helping her “grow, explore and be confident” in the world.