Dr. Shafqat Mamun is an alum of the Master of Health Administration program at JSGS. (Photo: Submitted)
Dr. Shafqat Mamun is an alum of the Master of Health Administration program at JSGS. (Photo: Submitted)

First JSGS MHA-HIIM graduate celebrates lifelong learning

Dr. Shafqat Mamun’s quest for learning is never ending.

By Scott Larson for JSGS

Mamun has always been a person who has to dig deep into every subject he tackles.

“I always think what’s next? And what’s next?” laughs Mamun. “That makes me learn from this digging habit.”

That quest for knowledge has served Mamun well, who is the first graduate from the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy’s (JSGS) Master of Health Administration – Major in Health Informatics and Information Management (MHA-HIIM) program. 

“I loved the diversity of the program and the diversity of the resources and people _ lecturers and speakers sharing their experiences,” says Mamun, who is an internationally qualified clinician in the field of dental surgery and specialized in oral and maxillofacial surgery with a Master of Surgery. “It was not just bookish, but it was more practical.”

Dr. Mamun was born and grew up in Bangladesh where he practiced dental surgery, and oral and maxillofacial surgery for many years. 

“We did diverse works, management of facial trauma and fractures, lip and palate surgery, surgery for malignancies, and many others,” Mamun says, who is not doing clinical work in Canada. “And I miss that.” 

But he also has a keen interest in technology and information as it relates to health care.

He realized the need for people who specialize in health informatics and information management.

Mamun did a masters in health information science at Western University and found that the program was not an accredited one for writing the national health information management certification exam.  

Fortunately, JSGS was just about to offer its accredited MHA-HIIM program.

“I loved the program,” says Mamun, who did the online program at the peak of the pandemic.

Mamun says the MHA-HIIM program was unique because while many university classes and programs had to transition to being online because of COVID-19, it was specifically designed to be done online.

“Even the (two) residencies were online because of the pandemic, but they weren’t less than being in person,” he says. “The topic of my first residency was leadership in health informatics and information management, and it was excellent.”

Being the first batch of students to take the program, they also were able to have input in designing the course for students coming after them.

“Being the first you have to take on a little more, but it was well worth it,” he says. 

Mamun, who currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, is preparing for his national certification exam which he intends to take in the recent future while also looking to land a job that won’t hamper his studies. He may end up working in a hospital or other settings such as an organization that does analytics of health data.

“There are lots of areas to work in health informatics and information management,” he said. 

And while he is not going to perform surgeries in Canada, Mamun will be able to use his vast clinical experience and knowledge to augment his new skill set.

“I have years of training and clinical experience. Now I have the knowledge about health informatics and information management,” he said. “I will try to do something where I can utilise my diversification as well as my clinical training and experience.”

He said JSGS’s MHA-HIIM program has given him, and his fellow students as well, a solid foundation to embark on his new career.

“It’s given us what we should know about health informatics and information management if you want to work in this field. But just academic knowledge doesn’t make you successful in that profession, like in any other professions – rather you need some experience as well. So, I have to work in this field.” 

When asked to write something in his University of Regina Class of 2022 virtual yearbook about a favourite memory he’d like to remember 25 years from now, Mamun thought of and wrote about the two residencies he took part in, even though they were also done online because of the pandemic.

“Those were so resourceful,” he says. “They were so fruitful for us. But later I remembered maybe my best memory should be that I’m the first graduate from the MHA-HIIM program.”