Interview with QMU graduate, Sinead Cook, MSc Sexual and Reproductive Health (distinction)

By Press Office

Sinead Cook, 30, from Cardiff in Wales, is a MSc Sexual and Reproductive Health graduate from the Institute for Global Health & Development at QMU.

Sinead initially attended medical school at Edinburgh University and graduated in 2010. She also took a year out of medical school between 2006 and 2007 to undertake an intercalated BSc in International Health at Leeds University as she had always been interested in international health.

After graduating, Sinead worked as a junior doctor in Glasgow and then started a six year specialty training in Community Sexual and Reproductive Health in Cardiff.

Sinead chose to study global Sexual and Reproductive Health at QMU in 2015. She was keen to explore this area of research beyond the UK and help steer her career in the direction of international work in the future.

Sinead chose to study in Edinburgh because she liked the look of the course offered by the Institute for Global Health & Development at QMU. Her parents also live in Edinburgh, so this made accommodation and financial planning much easier.

Studying Global Health & Development at QMU

“I’d taken a year out of my work and training as a sabbatical to do the MSc and self-funded it through personal savings. I also worked part time as a locum doctor in Sexual and Reproductive Health in Edinburgh whilst studying at QMU.

“Although the academic workload was fairly demanding, it was possible to work a few shifts, particularly in the evenings.

“The main difficulties I faced with the course were around organising my research project. In particular, gaining local ethical approval was a difficult and lengthy process. My top tip for people undertaking this MSc would be to start thinking about and planning your dissertation research very early on, especially if you want to undertake primary research.

“Happily, the hard work into my research project paid off, and not only did I gain a distinction for my MSc, my research into post-abortion care has now been accepted for publication in the Journal of Health Policy and Planning. [Click link at the end of the interview to read Sinead’s research into post-abortion care in the Journal of Health Policy and Planning].

“I feel that studying within the Institute for Global Health & Development at QMU has made me a better researcher, particularly in qualitative research. The experience has also given me a better understanding of broader health systems issues, which I feel I have taken forward in my career.”

Life after graduation

“Immediately after completing the MSc at QMU, I went back into my specialty training programme in Cardiff. However, thanks to my MSc, I’ve had many more opportunities to take part in global health projects, teaching and research.

“I’ve lectured on Cardiff University’s Epidemiology BSc Global Health module. I have also been involved in bidding for funding for a research project into local abortion care and a few small research and audit projects.

“Most significantly, due to my MSc and clinical experience, I was invited to be part of a variety of global health projects through the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH).

“Leading Safe Choices is a RCOG global health project that is looking at improving post-partum family planning and abortion and post-abortion care in low and middle-income countries, through comprehensive training programmes. I’ve been involved in piloting the course in London and then teaching on it in Tanzania. I will be going to South Africa to facilitate the course in October 2016. I have also been involved in piloting an Emergency Gynaecology Skills course for low- and middle- income countries, again through the RCOG.

“I’m also a member of the International Affairs Committee of the FSRH and currently involved in designing a global online learning package about contraceptive counselling.”

Notes to Editor

If you're a QMU graduate and have an interesting career story to tell, we're keen to hear from you. Please email

For further media information contact Lynne Russell, Marketing Manager, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E:  T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239 and Jon Perkins, Press and PR Officer, E: T: 0131 474 0000.

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