Q-Step Centre at UCL


Yebeen Ysabelle Boo

"[One highlight of Q-Step] was learning how to conduct a geo-spatial analysis. This has proven to be extremely useful in my work since, as it is a great tool for describing diversity within a region."

Why did you choose the Q-Step programme as part of your degree?

Part of the reason for me choosing my degree is the desire to make a difference in public health. Whilst I learnt a lot on the course, including information and techniques necessary for me to work effectively in the field in future, I recognised the need to be able to convince others of my statements and findings. This is where the quantitative skills that the Q-Step programme promotes come to the fore and give me the ability to back up my ideas with graphics and more easily understood information. Health data research and evidence-based interventions also need these skills, as without the ability to conduct proper, thorough analysis, your findings will be weaker. Finally, I also knew that the quantitative skills would be useful in my future career.

What was the highlight of your programme? What was the biggest challenge? 

There were several highlights from my programme. The first was learning about possible methods for identifying causal relationships in social science and health science using a variety of quantitative analysis. The second was learning how to conduct a geo-spatial analysis. This has proven to be extremely useful in my work since, as it is a great tool for describing diversity within a region, and I have employed it to analyse things like the deprivation score within a particular borough and will also be utilising it in my DPhil. Another highlight was learning how to critically appraise other people’s work and literature with good foundations in research methods. I have found this to be very helpful in my professional work as well, as it helps me in the quality assurance roles I have taken on.

The biggest challenge was probably learning to carry out quantitative analysis using R Studio. This is not easy, but is very rewarding and if you are looking to go into the field of health sciences or social sciences, this experience will be invaluable.

How did your Q-Step experience influence your plans following graduation?

I am currently working in data and research for a public health consultancy, using the knowledge that I gained from Q-Step on a daily basis. I am working with a London Borough to develop an intervention to improve mental health and resilience in young people, which requires heavy data analysis. At the same time, I am completing my master’s at Oxford and have published several academic papers that use quantitative analysis on a variety of topics, including the links between factors involved in heart disease and dementia among older Koreans.

From there I am going on to complete my DPhil, which is going to be a mixed methods study in Assam, India, to develop an evidence-based comprehensive facility-based stillbirth review process. The skills developed during Q-Step will be essential in analysing the available evidence to highlight the areas that need improvement and the key challenges, as well as communicating these in a readily understandable manner.

What's next for you?

Once I have completed my DPhil, I would like to transition to fieldwork for a significant international NGO, such as WHO, and ideally to focus on maternal and child health. I plan to build on the skills and experiences I have gained from my degrees and my time working as senior consultant at Aceso Global Health Consultants to further utilise my quantitative and qualitative research skills and contribute to global health work. I know that it is something that a lot of people say, but I really do want to make a difference in the world with the work that I do, and I think that the Q-Step programme is going to give me a big boost in that regard.

Ysabelle Yebeen Boo