Career in health and research

DR Kurubaran Ganasegeran hails from Kuala Lumpur. A medical doctor with the Health Ministry since 2014, he is currently a doctor and researcher at the Seberang Jaya Hospital.

Kurubaran took up a part-time postgraduate programme reading MSc in Health Research at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) – Penang Medical College (PMC) in 2015. He completed his final housemanship year at Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang (HTAR), Selangor.

At PMC’s recent conferment ceremony, Kurubaran was awarded the First in Class Prize in the postgraduate programme by the RCSI. He was delighted and grateful to his supervisor, mentor and adviser Datuk Dr Abdul Rashid Khan and thankful that the programme accommodated working healthcare professionals with tight schedules like himself, allowing him to study part-time, attend weekend classes, and complete assignments and dissertations.

“I thank PMC for giving me the opportunity to further my studies and be part of a professional team of experts to impart the necessary knowledge,” said Kurubaran, who is also thankful towards his parents’ support and encouragement, which he described as a motivating factor behind the success he has achieved.


Kurubaran’s passion for research began as a young medical student in Kuala Lumpur. He observed and wondered why: people with good knowledge about a disease have the disease, reasons behind risky health behaviours and attitudes in communities or patients and the influencing factors despite massive awareness campaigns and advice, among other areas. His research concluded that peoples’ sufferings were elevated as social-support collapses, triggering multiple psychological stressors that catalyse poor coping skills, leading to poor health outcomes for survival.

He validated the first non-English Confusion, Hubbub and Order Scale (CHAOS) scale in Malaysia through his dissertation. It will soon be available for Malaysians. This tool focuses on how human health is affected by the fast-paced environment we live in.

His interest in public health covers non-communicable (diabetes, cardiovascular health) and infectious diseases, occupational health (stress, burnout and ergonomic studies), risky health behaviours (addiction and e-cigarette), among other areas. He also conducted a nationwide e-cigarette study using a health informatics concept with his supervisor and faculty lecturer. Kurubaran’s aim was to characterise the views of Malaysian vapers on e-cigarette use, their psycho-behavioral attributes and perspectives on health policy implementations, in line with the Ministry of Health’s efforts to find the best possible solution on its’ regulation to achieve smoke-free nation status.


His efforts together with his professor, Datuk Rashid, highlighted the magnitude of the vape problem and its possible implications was well received at international level. The results were published in “The Lancet Respiratory Medicine” (2016 Journal Citation Reports – Clarivate Analytics, 2017).

Kurubaran has to-date, also published over 30 indexed papers in international journals; BMJ, Plos, Oxford, Elsevier and Hindawi, addressing various public health issues of concerns and patient related outcomes. He hopes the findings will be used to improve Malaysia’s healthcare industry, reduce the burden of diseases caused by risky health behaviours, and as input for health policies towards Malaysia’s aspirations in achieving the best health outcomes as envisioned in the National Transformation Plan 2050 (TN50).


Kurubaran’s graduating batch comprised individuals from various backgrounds including doctors, surgeons, psychiatrists, pharmacists, even a medical insurance agent. He says they made an interesting, unique and supportive group and experienced excellent teamwork. Now that he’s graduated, Kurubaran says that apart from research, he intends to delve into academia and be part of the public health medicine constituent. His next step, “to explore opportunities in PhD programmes subject specialisation, a PhD in Public Health or other similar generic doctorate programmes”.

There are limited seats available for the part-time MSc in Health Research by the RCSI and PMC September 2017 intake. The programme welcomes working professionals from all backgrounds, as well as those thinking of switching careers in health or research.

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