Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Teams of the Year Award Spotlight: Online Master of Public Health (MPH) Team

4 April 2024

The Online Master of Public Health (MPH) Team share their advice and experience of excellent teamwork.

A team photo, taken in a restaurant.

In 2021 the UCL IEHC Equality Action Group launched the Teams of the Year Awards, a brand new initiative to celebrate productive, rewarding and enjoyable team working. The awards were then rolled out across the UCL Faculty of Population Health Sciences.

Two UCL IEHC teams were among the winners of the 2023 awards, the Healthcare and Organisation Management Group and the Online Master of Public Health (MPH) Team.

Online Master of Public Health (MPH) Team 

Team members: Dewi Nur Aisyah, Julia Bailey, Emma Beard, Jamie Brown, Spiros Denaxas, Dionysios Dimakopoulos, Rebeca Eaton, Ayeshah Emon, Sean Gainford, Fiona Hamilton, Rachael Hunter, Dimitra Kale, Aradhna Kaushal, Rahima Khanum, Serena Luchenski, Masuma Mishu, Matt O’Rourke, David Osrin, Rebecca Payne, Cat Pinho-Gomes, Denes Stefler, Shema Tariq, Eleanor Turner-Moss.

Which of your teams’ achievements are you most proud of?

If I were to pinpoint one achievement that stands out, it would be the innovative integration of real-world experiences and perspectives into the Master of Public Health (MPH) program. By involving individuals with lived experiences, such as those experiencing homelessness, mental health challenges, and infectious diseases, our team has revolutionized the learning experience for MPH students. This ground-breaking approach not only enriches students' understanding of public health issues but also fosters empathy, inclusivity, and practical application of knowledge.

Through incorporating diverse perspectives from external collaborators, including academics, practitioners, NGOs, and patient advocacy groups, our team has created a comprehensive and interdisciplinary learning environment. This not only enhances the quality of education but also prepares students to tackle complex global challenges in public health. I am really proud of the impact that we have on our students. We work together to develop an engaging teaching programme and that there is harmony and continuity across the course. The student feedback we get is excellent and is a clear indicator of the hard work we put in.

How do you work well as a team?

We have regular check-ins, both online and in-person, which provide platforms for sharing progress, challenges, and ideas. Thus, ensuring that everyone is informed and aligned towards common goals. Our team engages in collective decision-making processes, where everyone's input is valued and considered. This fosters a sense of ownership and commitment to the team's objectives. Being open to new ideas, approaches, and changes is essential, especially in dynamic environments like education and public health. Our team demonstrates flexibility in resolving conflicts, addressing challenges, and adapting to evolving circumstances. We value diversity and respect each member's unique perspectives, experiences, and contributions. Creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels heard and valued which enhances teamwork and creativity. Our team actively seeks opportunities for improvement, whether through regular audits, feedback mechanisms, or professional development.

Finally, by recognizing and celebrating achievements, whether big or small (e.g. being recognised for the Provost’s Education Award for Digitally Enriched Learning), we have fostered a positive team culture and morale.

What advice would you give to others looking to improve their teamwork?

The most important thing is to create an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. A key mechanism for achieving this is through fostering trust and respect among team members by valuing their contributions, acknowledging their expertise, and treating everyone with fairness and empathy. More practically, I would say meeting regularly both formally and informally is essential to achieving this inclusive, trusting, and respectful environment. Our team meets weekly online for one hour and monthly face-to-face for two hours followed by an informal ‘bring your own’ lunch. The time spent chatting and sharing food together is as important as the business aspects of the meeting for building a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

Why should staff enter the Teams of the Year Awards?

The process of applying for teams of the year awards provides a great opportunity for reflection and showing appreciation for our colleagues. Taking time to stop and celebrate our achievements is important for team morale and helps to strengthen our ways of working.  It fosters team spirit, collaboration, and a shared commitment to achieving excellence.

Winning or being shortlisted for a Team of the Year Award can increase visibility and promote the team's accomplishments within UCL, attracting attention from potential collaborators. It can also serve as a marketing tool externally to signal excellence for future potential students, collaborators, or job applicants. Having the Team of the Year Award is also useful for appraisals and promotions as a measure of impact on academic culture. There is also the chance to win! Using the prize, we were able to arrange a day out and lunch together to celebrate and strengthen our team even further.