MSc in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine, Dublin City University
Emmanuel Sandy hails from Sierra Leone and was a medical doctor in his home country. He has come to Ireland to study the MSc in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine in Dublin City University to improve his knowledge in diagnostics.
My name is Emmanuel Sandy, a recipient of the Ireland-Africa Fellowship Programme, enrolled in the MSc. in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine, at Dublin City University, Ireland. I hail from Sierra Leone, a beautiful country in West Africa, with resilient, welcoming, and tolerant citizens. I am a first filial generation college graduate and medical doctor in my family. I graduated from medical school in 2018 and went on to become a clinical registrar in the department of Laboratory Medicine/Pathology and the Directorate of Laboratory, Diagnostics, Blood, and Biobanking Services, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone. I have been a Demonstrator and Research Teaching Assistant in the department of Laboratory Medicine, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone.
Upon graduation from medical school, I spent one year rotating in the various major specialties- Internal Medicine, Surgery, Paediatrics, and Obs & Gyne, as a House officer. And during such time, I worked under the guidance and supervision of various consultants and was tasked with the responsibilities of clerking patients at A&E, outpatient departments, and within the wards and presenting my findings to my consultants or immediate seniors.
As a clinical registrar in the department of Laboratory Medicine, Connaught Hospital, we render various diagnostics services to the populace which include but are not limited to the following: various biochemical tests, tissue collection and processing, fine needle aspiration cytology- for diagnosis and confirmation of cancerous diseases, autopsy services- for determination of the cause(s) of death and proof-read and red-flag all results from the laboratory. I also supervise all government-sponsored clinical laboratories in the Western Area of Freetown. As a Research Teaching Assistant, I teach medical, pharmacy, and other related allied health workers in the medical school and organize laboratory sessions, conduct continuous medical education for colleagues in the department, mark exam scripts, and engage in the department’s research projects.
My interest in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine was born out of a shared passion for pathology in medical school and most importantly, while many advanced countries practice medicine using high throughput diagnostics modalities, most of our clinical practice significantly relies on signs, symptoms, and clinical evaluation of our patients. This, in many ways, has had and continues to impact negatively on the outcomes of their ailments. Many patients have been diagnosed with advanced or end-stage medical conditions that would have been prevented with early diagnosis. Most of the diagnoses are made overseas with advanced and modern medical services. This has a substantial financial burden on those citizens who can afford such services and many compatriots who cannot afford these services have experienced untimely death.
This fellowship for me is described as a one-in-million opportunity that has impacted immensely my career development with so much information I needed for the next step along my journey to excellence. Aside from all the knowledge I have gained in my course-specific area, it has exposed me to valuable ICT skills that are much-needed and relevant to my academic and personal growth. The fellowship has also accorded me the opportunity to brush up on my public speaking, social interaction, and networking skills. There is an avenue to get a grasp of different cultures, races, and nationalities from all over the world, and has changed the way I used to think and perceive certain issues around the world.
With the various academic and scientific symposia organized by my department and the university, I have been able to build on my networking skills and have interacted with renowned and ground-breaking scientists in the field of medicine, research, and pharmaceutical industries.
Ireland is a beautiful and peaceful country with its greenery scene and helpful citizens. However, it took me some time to get an understanding of the fast-paced speaking nature of the Irish people. Funnily, I use to ask people to repeat themselves or speak slowly to be able to decern what they are saying.
Without any doubt, the Irish weather is the biggest difference between my country and Ireland. The weather is so unpredictable that a particular day can present rain, the sunshine, wind, and low temperature. I have still not been able to acclimatize and even gets worse in the winter season.
At the end of my Fellowship, I expect to be able to assess major determinants of existing and emerging populations and diseases, demonstrate a theoretical and practical understanding of diagnostics in clinical and public health interventions, critically evaluate and communicate research evidence about health system uses, address crucial unknowns regarding clinical severity, the extent of disease transmission and infection, and many more. Upon completion, my short-term plan is to return home and re-join the health workforce to implement all the acquired knowledge and skills to better the lives of my people. I will also continue my service as a lecturer in the medical school which I hold so dearly to my heart. In the long term, I aspire to become one of the foremost Physician-Scientist in my country.
The Fellowship Program is a life and career-changing opportunity in which you get to learn a different aspect of life and I would strongly recommend the fellowship program to other colleagues. This program will avail them of a perfect mix between networking and fun along with hard work and innovation.
My advice to candidates who wish to apply for the fellowship is to, first of all, know what they want from the program and then align their focus in that direction. Secondly, to improve their writing and speaking skills as these are essentials to a successful application process.